Archive for Custom Home Building

Custom Home Construction (Plan Review)

Plans reviewThe next phase of custom home construction is called Plan Review.  Plan Review will get the permits needed for your builder to break ground on your new home.

One of the most important parts of this process is talking to adjacent neighbors.  You’re probably wondering why.  Property owners surrounding your property can tell you about “little known” underground utilities.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Pennsylvania 811, or PA One Call.  Before any excavation can begin on your land, the builder or excavator must call PA One Call.  Once the PA One Call system receives the information about your job, its members go to the job site and mark the location of underground lines.  This ensures the safety of you and your builder’s staff, or anyone in the vicinity of the job site.

So, why is it necessary to talk to the neighbors if PA One Call is marking the underground utilities?  Well, Wilkins Contracting discovered an unanticipated gas line by talking with one of the property owners that share a property line with their client.  Gas wells are labeled as to who owns and operates that line.  By contacting the adjacent land owner, they showed us where it was located.

Another part of plan review involves presenting a site map to the local code enforcement officials that will show the position of the proposed house.  The site map needs to show setbacks, or how far you’re building from adjacent property lines.  Stakes and markers are also placed on the property showing where the house is to be built.

Construction projects must meet the requirements of Pennsylvania building codes.  Different phases of all building projects need to be inspected by a code inspector in the municipality of the building project.  We will discuss inspections in a future post.

Stay tuned for our next post.  Excavation begins soon!

Custom Home Construction (Part 1)

Over the next several months, we will be writing posts about the process of building a new home.  We’re excited to be starting construction on a custom home and will be sharing the process and details with you as we build from start to finish.

Holtz GroundThe most important part of starting your building project would be finding the location.  Where are you building your home?  What style of home fits at this location?  What about utilities?  Are there any easements needed?  A lot of questions need answered and your builder can help you through all of them.

You also will work with your lender so you know your budget.  The bank will let you know how much you can spend on a home so that you can begin the process of creating plans and working with your builder.

The beginning of the process will keep everyone very busy.  You start with numerous meetings with the builder in conjunction with the architect who will be drawing up the plans for your new home.  In the process of all of these meetings, the architect will prepare a “concept drawing,” which is a technical drawing of your building project.  These drawings made according to a set of conventions, including the floor plan, units of measurement and scales and are used by the architects, builders and others for a number of purposes like:

  • developing a design idea into a proposal
  • communicating ideas and concepts
  • enabling the builder to construct your home

holtz planOnce the drawings are done, the fun begins.  You work with the builder on specific details of the home (i.e., room sizes and amenities).  Decisions are made on the type of heat you want in your new home; conventional, hot water, or cutting edge geo thermal.  You decide on other items as well like, windows, bathroom fixtures, flooring, etc.

Comprehensive plans will then be created by the architect and provided to the builder and the financial institution that will be financing the new home.  Your financing is then all set up including a payment schedule to the builder.  Your closing will be scheduled so that all the appropriate paperwork can be signed.

Once a letter of commitment is sent to the builder by the financial institution, the building process begins with permits and plan reviews.  This process varies by city/township but is handled by the builder.

Stay tuned for the next post which will begin with breaking ground!