This is something my owner asks me every time we go out to do, well you know. It’s also the question I have when we get in the car. But today we’re talking about how long it takes to build a house or complete a remodel.
Other than “How much will it cost” the biggest question people ask is “How long will it take. Whether it’s a new house or a remodel, people always want to know “when will things be done so we can move in”. The answer is somewhat of a moving target. With the labor pool shrinking, material shortages due to hurricanes and / or any number of other uncontrollable factors, it’s getting harder than ever to predict an exact date. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead.
In order to plan ahead you need to know a few things about your project.
- How long it takes to get material? Lumber, windows, doors and fixtures all have a lead time (the time it takes after the order is placed). In order to keep the schedule moving, all of these items need to be ordered ahead of time.
- How long it will take to complete each task? Each task in the timeline relies on the subcontractor before them to be completely done prior to their start date. Planning ahead means having a schedule and understanding the relationship between each of the trades, what goes first and who’s next. We all know that the concrete foundation needs to be completed before you can start framing but what goes first with the rough mechanicals .
- Will the project require inspections from a governing agency? Where it’s important to have inspections from a 3rd party, this adds time to the schedule waiting for inspections, making corrections and then re-inspecting.
Another area that many don’t consider when taking on a project, is having enough material on site for each trade to complete their task. It’s always harder to get a sub back to the project once they’ve started something else. This again results in added days to the schedule.
Managing the process is also a key to having a good schedule. If the framer builds a window opening too small, the cornice crew can’t install the window. If the window doesn’t get installed, the stucco crew can’t complete the lathe install, if the lathe isn’t installed you can’t dry in the house, so on and so forth. It’s important to make sure each subcontractor knows what they need to do and then being actively present to make sure they do it correctly.
Another area that we think of but don’t really understand how it affects a schedule is the weather. Yes, it’s hard for the framer to work while it’s raining but the mud around the house, that is there for days after it stops raining, makes it difficult for them to get around. This could add a couple of days as they struggle to get material and equipment around the project. This could also delay deliveries of material needed to move the project forward.
Taking all of the information listed above, it should take about 7 months, give or take a week or two either way, to complete a 2,500 sq ft house from the time the concrete is poured. This time can be shortened if everything goes well.
So that’s how long it takes. A lot longer than it takes me to do my business. So remember, find yourself a contractor that understands the importance of a schedule.