Most likely, if this is the first vacant lot you’ve purchased, this is the first house you will build. While this can be both an exciting and promising experience, it can also get quite confusing and overwhelming quickly without a proper plan. So, here are just a few of the first steps you’ll take after the purchase of a new lot of land:
Using wooden stakes, surveyors stake the corners and the lot lines of the lot and your desired position of the home on the building site. This process is referred to as “staking the lot." Surveying and staking are important functions, as homes have been found in violation of certain regulations or restrictions, and if a surveyor improperly surveys your land, they are responsible for the expenses associated with correcting the mistakes.
If there are existing stakes marking the corners and property lines of a building site, it is recommended that the lot be re-staked anyway as the stakes for the lot could have been moved or torn down before or since you purchased it. A surveyor will know how to locate and correct this issue and prevent what could turn into an extremely costly error.
Clearing and Excavation
Clearing a building site includes clearing trees, brush, rocks, and roots from where the home will sit, and usually an additional 10 feet or more around where the foundation will be - allowing space for heavy equipment needed at the building site.
Your realtor or purchasing agent should have given you the information regarding cost and availability of utilities at the time your lot was purchased. You’ll need to make plans for each utility (phone, cable, water, electricity) to be paid for and installed before building, so that subcontractors can use at least the water and electricity for the building.
Footings are the base of a structure. They are made up of a mass of concrete that supports the foundation of the house and can be poured into trenches or wooden forms. Footings are probably the most important part of a new home building process. If footings move or settle, so will your home. If they are done improperly and not according to the dimensions of your building plans, the plans will need to be changed to accommodate the footings or be done over.
The locations of footings are checked by building inspectors before being poured to be sure they are deep enough and that they rest on undisturbed earth. This inspection is highly necessary and will help you avoid spending thousands of extra dollars in the future if there is a problem.
Foundation material can be concrete block, brick or poured concrete. Stone foundations are no longer used because they aren’t as strong as concrete or brick. Stone is better used for aesthetic purposes - as a veneer like brick.
After the foundation is in and before the concrete is poured, it is wise to have your soil treated for pests or insects - termites in particular.
If your house is being built on a concrete slab (instead of wooden floor joists), once your foundation is in, backfilled, tamped (packed down), and your soil treated, your plumber will install your sewer lines and water pipes that will stay under the concrete. Also, any electrical wiring that goes under the concrete is placed in a conduit and roughed-in.
…..these are the first six basic steps that go into the building of every home. Stay tuned for the next blog which will cover the next steps that go into building your home from day one.