We know buyers want their new homes delivered on time. It is important to point out;
builders want to deliver their new homes on time. Delays cost everyone money. No one
understands that better than the builder who is paying interest to the bank every
month. Unfortunately, the builder is at the mercy of Mother Nature, the subcontractors
who work for them and local inspectors. Delays can also happen as a result of
unforeseeable circumstances such labor or materials shortages and because the
buyer's selections haven't been completed on time.
The following scenario may be typical of construction of a new homes during the rainy
season in Hampton Roads.
Before construction begins, plans for the home have to be approved by the locality.
Once plans are approved, the builder applies for the permit.
The builder will get the home on the schedule of various subs he contracts with to
complete the phases of construction.
The lot will be staked out and the land will be prepared for the foundation. Block will be
delivered to the lot. For the sake of simplicity, this will be a slab foundation. Site tests
are conducted on the soil to determine how far to dig. If the foundation crew start
digging and finds unusual conditions, then they will make adjustments, possibly bring in
some gravel, which may delay the process.
Next, the footings are dug. WAIT: if rain is in the forecast today, they won't dig. Rain
water would fill the excavated area which may have to be pumped out and you may wait
longer for the area to dry. Oh no, we cant get back on the contractors schedule for a
couple days, possibly another delay. Once the footings are dug, concrete is poured into
the footings. WAIT, if its going to rain today they won't pour the cement. WAIT, the
locality needs to inspect the footings. An engineer installs block points. Block is laid.
Rough-ins for plumbing and electrical are installed. The footings are in. WAIT, the
locality needs to inspect the footings and rough ins. Some localities can take up to 3
working days to get there. Uh oh, maybe one small item isn't to their exact
specifications, FAIL. The item is corrected. WAIT, up to 3 more days for an inspector.
Oh no, the framing will need to be rescheduled, another delay. Wood for framing and
trusses are delivered to the lot. The slab is poured. WAIT, another inspection.
The home is framed; sub-floor, joists, walls, trusses, sheathing, usually within a couple
days. WAIT, another inspection...3 days... you get the idea. The roof is covered in tar
paper and shingles are delivered for the roof. The roof is on in a few days. Again, if it's
raining, snowing or incredibly windy, work will be delayed. Windows and doors are
installed. The home is wrapped in a synthetic material to repel water (ie, Tyvek ®). The
home is now "dried-in". The goals is to protect the home from the elements as soon as
possible. Electrical, plumbing and HVAC rough-ins should be complete. WAIT, another
For the next several weeks, a large number of subs may be working in the home at the
same time. If any of these contractors has to wait on back-ordered materials; he may
cause delays for the others.
The exterior walls and the roof are insulated. WAIT, its inspection time. Drywall is
installed. Heating and cooling systems are installed. Inspect, inspect......
Walls and ceilings are painted, cabinets are installed (maybe the cabinets come in with
flaws-delay), hard flooring is installed. The plumbing and electrical fixtures are next,
trim is completed and interior doors are hung.
While crews are working inside; the siding, stone or brick is applied to the outside. If the
weather has cooperated and the ground isn't saturated or frozen; the driveway and
walkways will be dug and framed up. The next dry day, the driveway and walkways will
be poured. The final grade is completed and landscaping is installed. The carpet and
final cleaning finish the process.
I've probably missed a few inspections. The locality will inspect stairs, handrails, garage
doors. They will complete final inspections of the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, gas, and
grade before a Certificate of Occupancy is issued.
If a buyer understands why their new home may be delayed, the process will be
smoother for everyone involved. As agents, we can help our customers and clients
realize there's more involved than meets the eye. Let's set expectations up front so
everyone's still smiling when that gorgeous new home is delivered.
Thanks to Sherry Maser
of William E. Wood and Associates Realtors® New Homes Division. This article was originally published in October's Realtor® Magazine
Click here to visit HRRA's website!