So, you’ve finally purchased a new home. Saved your pennies until they were dollars. Did the appropriate research  to find an ideal neighbourhood with the right amenities. Worked through dozens of floorplans with a litany of builders. Negotiated the best deal possible. Borrowed enough money to get a queasy feeling in your stomach. Went back to the sales centre and signed the purchase agreement which is now approved and then – nothing. First nothing for days, then weeks and maybe a month or two.
After all that hard work by the buyer, there is kind of a natural expectation your builder will put every one of his  staff and resources into building your home. After all, it’s a big deal – right! Well, most builders follow very formalized  building processes and as hard as it may be to believe, they generally are working on more than one or two homes at a time. Check with your builder to determine what their specific building process is, but generally they follow similar  steps. Those days and weeks when apparently nothing is going on with your house are indeed a busy time, in which  the lot is being secured from the developer and registered if in fact the builder did not own the lot. I break the process  down as follows and it might help in understanding why building a home can seem so slow, when in fact it’s probably not.
Stage 1 – The Paperwork 
The first part of building a home is preparation to build. This includes finalizing details of the home structurally and  aesthetically. The home plan needs to be plotted onto the lot, a permit needs to be obtained from the city and all the  trades need to be scheduled in advance to make sure they are available in an organized and cohesive manner. One major issue that happens here is obtaining the city permit. This is generated by a fairly small department that only has  so many staff and during very busy periods (like spring or when the economy is booming) it can take extra weeks to get this vital piece of paper before any field work can begin.

Stage 2 – The Structure 
Your first big day will be when they dig the hole to pour the foundation, generally a month or two after the sale is finalized. This is your first tangible sign that one day you will actually have a home and if it happens to be pouring rain (remember last summer) then this step may be delayed for a week or two. Eventually they will pour footings and foundation walls and then – you guessed it – you wait for the concrete to set. This could be two weeks or more. The next sign of life is a framing crew creating floors, walls, stairs, ceilings and roof etc. This is an especially fun  experience as your home rises from the ground (phoenix like) and becomes real. It is a time of tremendous pride for the owners. At this time you want to visit the site every day to watch the progress, but don’t. Framers will be moving  around doing work on a few homes at a time so there will be some waiting periods for sure. Next are the windows and doors and then a period of waiting as the “specialists” arrive. These include electricians, plumbers, furnace installers, insulators and drywallers. You may have to wait a bit on each of them as they’re in high demand and depending on the timing and scheduling proficiency of previous steps they may be double booked by this point in construction.

Stage 3 – The Finish
Following structural work, comes the interior and exterior finishing. Again, handled by specialists. Painters, flooring  installers, carpet installers, tile setters, cabinet and countertop people, and finishing carpenters. Each follow the  other in a timeline often impacted by some inconveniences that may add a day or even week to the finishing of your home.

The point of this article is to allay fears that “no activity” on your home for a few days or even weeks, is not something to stress about. It’s almost predictable. Don’t call and harass the builder. Often, whatever is occurring is beyond their control and it is in their best interest to finish your home as fast as possible – because that’s when they get paid. Building a home is a complex transaction and some patience and a clear understanding of your builder’s process is a really good way to mitigate stress during those endless waiting periods.

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