The temps are beginning to drop in the evenings here in Southwest Colorado, and we all know what that means! Camo will soon be a standard color on the street, the leaves will start to change, and snow will fly before we know it.
Snowfall for us means skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing through the mountains, and enjoying time with friends and family throughout the holiday season. On the other hand, the downside of snowfall in the southwest is the impact on new construction.
Therefore, timing your new construction project right is a must in order to avoid some of the pitfalls of trying to build a custom home throughout the winter season!
In this article, we’ll go over when the best time to start designing your custom home is to ensure that you’re project will be dried in (sealed with house wrap and doors) prior to snowfall in your local area.
Of course, harsh winter weather doesn’t impact all of us, but considering 70% of the US receives at least some snow annually, it is good to be aware of what you’re getting in to.
Getting Familiar with The Design Timeline
Understanding the design timeline and what it takes to transform a rough idea into a set of structurally engineered and permitted plans is crucial to everyone’s success.
Conceptual and Schematic Design – Average 4 to 6 Weeks
Throughout the conceptual phase of design, you will be introduced to your designer, where together, you will share photos, videos, and design inspirations that form the basis of your project.
We will start with the basics, such as how your building will lay on the site and how you plan to use the structure. Once we have an idea of your vision, we can start to play with the size, shape, and overall layout.
During schematic design, your designer will work meticulously to create the initial plans and elevations within a 3D model, tailoring it to your specifics. Remember, the design is very loose at this point, giving us room to make adjustments.
This process also involves one on one review meetings with your designer. This is where you will review the plans together to ensure accuracy and make a note of any desired changes along the way. We will also start dialing in custom options and selecting specific material choices like roofing, siding, and other exterior accessories.
Based on the information covered in the review meetings, your designer will implement any changes to the plans. Once the revisions have been completed and you are satisfied with the design, you will sign off, confirming that the design is final.
Any changes made to the design after the schematics have been signed off on will increase the cost of design. At this point, the plans have entered construction detailing, where they are marked up will all relevant measurements and dimensions. Making changes will require your designer to scrap the construction detailing, and begin the process from scratch.
Construction Detailing and Engineering – Average 6 to 8 Weeks
With the elevations and the floor plans of your structure finalized, our designers will begin virtually constructing your structure using computer-aided drafting (CAD) software. They will detail the post and beam core, build all the structural walls and rafters, and begin adding construction details to the plan set.
Once the construction detailing of the plans is nearing completion, we will begin collaborating with our structural engineer to create the framing and foundation details and calculate the load requirements for the structure.
Our structural engineer ensures the design details are specific to your locale to ensure they comply with your zoning and climate conditions. Adjustments to the location of your project on the site may be necessary for structural and engineering purposes, which will be approved by you. Depending on jurisdiction and project use, your architectural plans will be stamped and ready for construction.
Permitting Approval – Location Dependent 2 Weeks to 6 Months
Permitting is a peculiar aspect of the overall design process. Depending on where you are in the country, the local requirements, and the demand for new construction, the permitting price will vary drastically!
We recommend that prior to getting started on a new construction project, you should call your local, county, or city planning department and get a rough estimate on how long permitting typically takes. That way, you can plan your design and the remainder of the project timeline with a bit more accuracy.
The Benefits of Starting Early on Custom Home Design
Now that we’ve broken down an average custom home design timeline, it should be clear to see how time extensive this process can be. Getting started on your designs in the fall to prepare for new construction in the spring is one way to avoid rushing, and ensure satisfaction in the finished product.
Streamline the Entire Project!
One of the most significant benefits of starting your design in the fall with anticipation of building in the spring is the streamlined assembly of the structure! The sooner we get started on your plans, the sooner we can get them in the door for permitting and approval by your local jurisdiction.
Once we have approval, we can get started on the prefabrication of the entire material package. The timbers will be cut, and hand-finished per plans. Meanwhile, the SIPs are being fabricated with window and door openings, accounted for!
Approval also means that you can get started on clearing the land, and installing the foundation of your choice with a local general contractor of your choice, or one that we have recommended.
That way, when spring rolls around, and it’s time to break ground, all parties will be prepared for a streamlined assembly.
Designing a custom home can be a stressful task when the process is rushed rather than deliberate.
There is no reason to rush through the design phase of your project. It’s the foundation of what could be your forever home, a home to pass on to the family, or a home you intend to resell in the future.
Consult everyone who is involved in the project and source their views, visions, and opinions. Whether that be your family or a local selling agent, depending on the scope of your project, it is crucial to make sure everyone is involved.
Conflicting views, visions, and opinions may very well come up throughout the process, but it is better to have them addressed during design rather than after the fact. Your designer will be able to make recommendations to help accommodate everyone’s goals within the structure and work around some potential conflicts. Addressing these issues after the structure has been assembled, will result in much larger conflicts and a substantial increase in cost.
Potential Cost Savings!
Getting an early start on your custom home designs won’t necessarily help save money on the project itself, but it can help decrease your chances of change orders and callbacks in the future.
Change orders are changes made to the designs of the structure during assembly. Depending on the scope of what needs to be changed, they can have a significant impact on project timelines and also cost thousands of dollars.
Callbacks refer to any time you need work done on the structure once construction has been completed. Most callbacks due to negligence or mistakes by the building crew are covered in the initial contract, but any changes or additions you intend to make do not apply.
Spending some extra time in design to think through every aspect of the home will often times eliminate the need for any change orders and callbacks because the project is done the right way the first time through.
Let's Get Started on Your Design Today
Are you planning on building a custom home in 2021?
Get in touch with a Trinity Building Systems project manager today and see if our custom Timber Frame and Log Home solution is right for your project.
We appreciate you taking the time to read through our article and are happy to help answer any questions you may have regarding our building system, solution, and processes.
Our designers look forward to working with you!