Homeowner’s Checklist for Building a New Home
Looking for a home construction checklist with everything you need to keep track of during your new home build? Knowing what input your builder needs from you and when will make your project run smoother and avoid delays. To simplify the need for decisions at each step of the way, lets compare it to making a lasagne. Trust me on this…
First, one needs to decide on what meat to add to the bottom layer, what vegetables and pasta. Each layer is built in a particular order so that the final product looks and tastes like a lasagne. If you skip adding vegetables to the first layer or pasta at the next, your dish is not going to be quite right. And you cannot easily go back and slip in missing parts once baked. Building a house is much the same. Each step requires specific input and decisions to ensure the house is functioning and complete at handover. Keeping in mind that most of the ingredients that go into finishing a house takes time to order and manufacture. So, staying ahead of the decisions and orders is important.
Here is our advice for homeowners during the construction phase of a new home.
1. Before casting your ground floor slab:
You will need to finalise the layouts of plug positions, tv and telephone points throughout the house. Your builder and architect can assist with this. The same applies to plumbing. You will need to ensure you are happy with the plumbing points on the ground floor. This includes areas like the kitchen sink, appliances etc. You will also need to decide on your home automation requirements if there are any.
Why: Many pipes and conduiting is placed into the surface bed of the house. Changing the placement of electrics and plumbing when you are ready to install fittings is quite difficult and will incur extra costs.
2. Between ground floor and first floor slab:
You should confirm your preferred ceiling height and the lighting layout for the ground floor. This will allow your builder to build the ground floor walls to the right height, accommodating the ceiling height which is placed below the concrete slab. Taking things like fireplaces, aircons and plumbing into account at this point also allow the builder to cater for ducting holes, light placement, and chimney design before casting the first-floor slab. Plumbing also needs to be confirmed for the first floor here, as the plumbing pipes are laid in the concrete slab as well.
3. During first floor brickwork:
While the builder is busy laying the first-floor walls, you will again need to finalise the lighting layout and ceiling height/design for the builder to finish the roof slab. Your kitchen, built-in cupboards and vanity designs will need to be chosen so that the plumbing and services are placed correctly. You will need to choose your windows, doors and sanitaryware (basins, baths, toilets, taps etc) as first fix items associated with these need to be installed before plastering can start. Before the roof can be ordered and installed, you need to confirm what kind of geyser you want. Your roof colour and design choice will also influence the ordering of the roof which usually needs a 4-week lead time.
Once the roof is on you will have completed the shell of your house. All details for internal layouts and conduiting have been catered for and plasterers can start. Before getting to the roof stage, it is important to also remember things like specialised carpentry, underfloor heating, balustrades, alarms, and sound systems etc. as these may also need to be incorporated into the shell structure along the way.
4. The final push:
The final push in the home construction process involves plastering and adding the final fittings and fixtures to the house. During the plastering of the internal and external walls you will need to make a range of decisions. Such as:
- Wall finishes – this determines the preparation each wall needs based on the selected finish.
- Paint colours – painting is applied after the plaster has dried. First an undercoat and then final coat is applied once all final fixtures are in place to avoid damage to walls.
- Floor choice (wooden floors, tiles, carpeting) – this determines the height the floor is screeded to.
- Internal fittings – items like ironmongery, balustrade, lighting, cornices, skirting will influence the painting and tiling process.
- Pool and Boundary Wall Design – the builder can start these areas now. Remember to mention any levels you want in your landscape design, fountains, etc.
- External paving, garage doors etc
This part of the process is the busiest with many suppliers and labours on the property daily. Your involvement at this point will be to ensure the finishes and fittings are being installed as per your expectations.