by Ken Pieper


This article is in response to a question I received today from a future customer. He has selected one of our house plans, talked about his desire to make several alterations and already owns his property. So he’s ready, he thinks to put a shovel in the ground, now…
His question was how soon should they start making the changes and talking to the builders that he and his wife are wanting to interview. They won’t be ready to start building for several months and they are trying to understand how long and when and the process of working toward their goal of living in this new home. My answer is really full of more questions than answers as each project and the individual client circumstances can differ greatly.

Listed are a few items to address and the estimated time for each to consider prior to and in addition to the construction timeline.

I. After selection of your stock house plan or design team to design your new home.

    A. Time will depend on the amount of alterations to the standard house plan you’ve selected or the amount of time you will require for designing the home from concept to complete construction documents.

II. Selection of a builder will again depend on how much effort you have allocated to the interview process prior to the construction documents being completed.

   A. This time will again depend on your efforts and the available builder to examine your ideas and the house plans. I would allow a minimum of three weeks.

III. The bidding process will normally take about six weeks for all of the required. A reminder here, your builder can’t give you an actual and accurate price until you have the completed construction documents for the subcontractors and material suppliers to throughly go through and identify the items required.

    A. Time allocated, three weeks.

IV. Surveying and soils testing for any septic and the structural engineering.

    A. Time allocated, three to four weeks.

V. Structural Engineering for the house plans should be started upon the receipt of your soils report from your property so the Engineer can base their calculations on the conditions presented in the official report.

   A. Time allocated, three weeks.

VI. Building permits in different locations and municipalities can vary greatly in the amount of time for approval.

    A. My advice is to talk to your governing body for the building permit for the timing and cost for your permit. I would think a minimum of one week and can be up to three months.

VII. Review with the chosen builder any questions, the time line established for the actual construction of your home and any adjustment you feel necessary.

     A. One week maximum.

“My answer is really full of more questions than answers as each project and the individual client circumstances can differ greatly. “

As you can see, there is a large amount of time and effort that is required for the homeowner prior to the actual start of the construction process. I hope this article will allow you to project the amount of time needed and actions required so there are minimum surprises in this new adventure. Should you have any additional questions or comments please contact me as I really enjoy talking to my clients.


Until next time enjoy the journey!

Ken Pieper

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