When you begin the custom home building process, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to be aware of, and avoid if at all possible. Over the past 30 years, from small to large projects, we have seen clients succumb to these common pitfalls. By educating yourself ahead of time, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and potential heartache later. Here are the 8 common mistakes to avoid when building a custom home.
1. Select a Great Builder
We just can’t reiterate enough how important the builder is to the overall construction experience. You don’t choose a surgeon based on their price – so make sure you take the same careful consideration when selecting your builder. If you’ve done a thorough job of selecting a great builder that will quarterback your construction project through common challenges, they will also have the knowledge, experience, and resources, to make appropriate adjustments as needed. We obviously hope you choose to build with Mueller Homes, but regardless, if you choose to work with a great builder that you trust and respect, you will have a much better client experience.
2. Avoid Second Guessing Your Builder
When it comes to the products, materials, sub-contractors, vendors or resources your builder uses, you’ve got to be able to trust and leave them alone to do their work! Your builder is responsible for the construction process. The builder has established business relationships that can be relied upon to deliver on-time and warranty their products. Don’t try to micro-manage the project and second guess every resource. You will end up costing yourself and your builder time and money.
3. Make Decisions & Selections In A Timely Manner
During construction, there will be a number of decisions and selections you’ll need to make. Make these decisions by the agreed-upon deadlines. If you’re planning a vacation, get it done before you leave. Many homeowners struggle with selections, so as mentioned earlier, we highly recommend enlisting the services of an interior designer to assist you. But, whatever you do, don’t delay or postpone these decisions as the construction schedule will be negatively impacted.
4. Communicate with Your Builder
Communication is a key part of the building process. If you have a question or concern, don’t let it fester. Discuss it with your builder and/or project manager right away. However, it’s important to give your builder or project manager the autonomy to carry out their work without constant interruption.
5. Avoid Providing Direction to Sub-Contractors
You will likely be provided a primary point of contact for the duration of your construction, either the builder or an on-site superintendent. This person will have detailed knowledge of every aspect of your project. Avoid giving orders or providing direction to sub-contractors – they are simply doing what they have been instructed to do, and have no frame of reference for the overall project. Your direction could delay the job, cause confusion, and sometimes even cost you more money!
6. Customer’s Own Vendors or Materials
Most builders do not allow for substitution of customer’s own vendor materials, because ultimately the builder is responsible for keeping the project on-time and on-budget. When a customer tries to supply their own materials or sub-contractors, there are inherent problems, not the least of which, is the fact that the builder cannot warranty these products and services. If you are expecting a high quality, well-constructed home, let your builder provide you the products, services, and tradesmen they rely upon time after time.
7. Change Order Process
During construction, if you request changes from the original design and scope of the project, a change order will be required to enact those changes. Understand your builder’s change order process, and the impact your change order may have on the overall production schedule. We discuss change orders, in more detail, in this article.
8. Hours of the Workers
Don’t expect workers to be on-site every day from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. Again, the construction schedule is a fluid element and some trades rely on other trades before they can complete their work. A delay in one area of construction may impact or delay other areas. If inspections are occurring or the weather has impacted the schedule, workers may have to push or rearrange their schedules accordingly. It is the goal of your builder to move the project along as quickly and effectively as possible. The responsibility of your Superintendent is to manage the day to day activities of the site. Consult your builder with questions, but avoid trying to micro-manage the construction schedule.
By being aware of these common pitfalls, you can have a pleasurable experience while avoiding some of the most common mistakes. We believe that education and communication are the foundations of a great relationship, and ultimately experience.