Over the years we have learned that the lifespan of a project is a black box to most people.  While they may have a basic understanding of what it takes to build a house, they are unaware of all the steps and details required for turning their list of desires into a finished set of permitted construction drawings.  Furthermore, the time it actually takes to get through each step is generally a mystery.  In light of that, we thought we would try to bring some clarity to the subject.  We’ve broken the process down into two basic project types.  The first is a “small project” which includes anything from a small addition to a whole-house renovation.  The second is a “large project” which includes substantial additions or a completely new house.

Before we dive into this, please understand that every project is unique and varies in the actual time it takes.  With that said, we have learned that there are some minimum timeframes that each step requires.  In the end, the actual specifics of your project, the permitting jurisdiction where your project resides, as well as your own personal availability and decision making process will determine the ultimate time your project will take to finish.

Pre-Contract

It all begins when you decide to move forward on turning your dream into a reality.  Now you need to clearly outline your desires, research financing options, and interview potential project team members (i.e. the architect and builder).

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 3-4 Weeks
Large Project: 4-6 Weeks

Start Up

Great, you’ve selected your team and are ready to start.  Of course, yours isn’t the only project they are working on so it will take a little time for them to work you into their schedule.

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 2-6 Weeks
Large Project: 2-6 Weeks

Pre-Design

Time to survey the existing property and structures.  Base drawings are created of the existing conditions and research into local codes and zoning is performed.

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 2-6 Weeks
Large Project: 2-6 Weeks

Design

Now the fun begins!  This is when the house evolves from a loose collections of needs and desires to a cohesive, buildable end-product.  This is also the most nebulous part of the process, time-wise.  There are several meetings that can get pushed out due to scheduling availability and we’ve found that creativity is a task that can’t be forced.

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 4-12 Weeks
Large Project: 8-16 Weeks

Bidding

Utilizing the project team approach the detailed contractor bidding is performed after the design drawings are complete.  This is in contrast with the design/bid/build process where bids are not received until after the documentation phase.

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 2-4 Weeks
Large Project: 3-5 Weeks

Documentation

Time to bring the engineers on board and delve into the details.  This is also when we start developing the interior and landscape design.

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 4-12 Weeks
Large Project: 8-16 Weeks

Permitting

This is when the drawings are submitted to the local permitting jurisdiction for their review and approval.  Depending on where you live, it can vary wildly from the minimums listed below.

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 3-6 Weeks
Large Project: 8-12 Weeks

Construction

Hammer time!

Estimated Minimum Time:
Small Project: 16-26 Weeks
Large Project: 26-52 Weeks

Value

As you can see, a well-designed project takes time; however, we’ve learned that time spent is value gained.  While there may be those who promise a faster delivery time, keep in mind that your home is probably your largest asset and personal investment.  Projects generally run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more), so taking the time to insure you are making the right decisions will more than make up for itself in the long run.