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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada's national housing agency. CMHC is Canada's premier provider of mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research
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The objective for most people who build a new home is to get a valuable return on the investment and a home that fits their lifestyle needs. Value is created when your finished home is worth more to you than the cost of construction.
Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts to achieving a successful result when building your home. It takes expertise, good planning and proper management to build your home right.
Preparing a proper budget before you start your construction project is important. Costs can increase significantly if changes to the design and material specifications are made once the project has been started. Changes can also cause time delays, which can be a problem if they impact on the building season.
Construction resources need to be scheduled on a sequential and timely basis. Proper planning is essential and can only be carried out when you have a clear understanding of what involved in your project. Making changes once work has started can be costly. Structural changes will require outside experts who are harder to find for more complex buildings. Good planning helps you save money and stay in control of your project.
Cochrane Home Builders has timely access to experts and can advise you on the key variables involved in the building process. We help you plan your project and make good decisions before you start construction.
Cost certainty in a construction project is a major concern for homeowners, builders and financial institutions alike. Cochrane Home Builders has access to the proprietary Custom Builder XPM ™ construction estimation software developed specifically for the custom home industry. It produces realistic budget estimates that take into consideration all the details of the project in a short period of time.
The ability to generate a realistic budget in order to get the required level of cost certainty is not only important for the homeowner. It also helps financial institutions validate homeowners and builders for construction loans. You want to make all the necessary changes to your design so you can finalize your blueprints before asking for price quotes. Making changes during construction will alter the scope of work and subsequently affect the budget.
Getting a fixed price on the entire project is generally not feasible due to the complexity of building a custom home. A combination of fixed prices and realistic allowances is the most accurate budgeting method. Simplistic finished price per square foot quotes for the whole project are not realistic in custom home building.
Cochrane Home Builders can obtain fixed pricing for the design and materials to get to the lock-up stage. This usually represents about one-third of the construction budget. Also the cost of framing the home can usually be fixed. Allowances for the remainder of the project can be determined once the homeowner has made a final decision on finishing materials and other items.
To determine the realistic time required to complete your project and occupy your home, you need to understand what is involved in the construction process. It usually takes about six months to build a relatively uncomplicated home from concept to completion. It can often take a year or more to build a custom home. The time taken will depend on:
|Activity||From (wks)||Up to (wks)|
|Concept Design, Blueprints and Material Purchasing||8||12|
|Permitting / Approvals||2||20|
|Construction / Inspections||15||38|
|Projected time to occupancy||25||70|
Weather conditions also affect the building window. The Cochrane region has a relatively high snowfall, which leaves a limited time period for building a custom home. Foundations cannot be poured until the frost has left the ground.
This means that is best to make sure that permits are in place as early as possible to allow foundations to be poured between April and October. Once foundations are in place, actual construction can happen anytime.
You also need to make sure you choose a design that is appropriate for the area and considers structural issues. For example, roof support structures will have to be engineered to meet requirements for snow loading. Meeting local energy efficiency requirements will also be a key consideration for design and material selection.
Cochrane Home Builders can help you deal with weather related issues so that you can begin your project at the optimal time.
Cochrane Home Builders primarily works within a one hour drive from Cochrane. We also serve the surrounding area and have familiarity with the challenges of the more isolated locations in the area.
The area around Cochrane consists of a number of small population centers that are largely rural in nature. The nearest large town is Cochrane but even there it is hard to source many of the high quality products needed to build an exceptional custom home.
For this reason Cochrane Home Builders has established a preferred relationship with a national supplier to make sure that the right building materials are available on a timely basis. The organization has the ability to economically supply a wide range of high quality materials that cannot be sourced on a local basis. We also have good relationships with local suppliers to give you the best possible pricing on building products.
Building a custom home successfully requires attention-to-detail and a working knowledge of the construction process. There are many tasks to be performed and this requires a combination of good management and skilled people.
Homes have become more complex over the years and building code requirements more stringent. As a result, more construction expertise is required. This is why most homeowners agree that it is safer to hire building professionals to complete their projects. In some cases, banks will require a proven general contractor.
Any construction project is a major undertaking in terms of both time and money. The objective is to get a valuable return on your investment and a home that fits your lifestyle needs. Value is created when your finished home is worth more to you than the cost of building it. This is best achieved by good up-front planning and then making the right purchasing and hiring decisions.
Getting ready to build
The building process starts with selecting the right design and combination of materials. Once these key decisions are made, you can start to plan your project in detail. It takes time to get ready for actual construction, as a number of issues need to be addressed before work can start.
There are many design possibilities and thousands of building components with different performance characteristics to choose from. To get the best result, it is important to choose someone early on in the process who is a design and building material specialist. This enables you to develop a site specific design that can actually be built on your property.
Hiring the Right People
Someone needs to act as the general contractor and be in charge of the entire building process. Some homeowners act as their own general contractor and hire builders and trades directly. Others hire a general contractor to look after the project.
You should select a builder who is qualified for your type of project and is available to meet your time frame. Getting someone who can find, manage and schedule the right people is also important. You can only prepare an accurate budget by obtaining construction quotes that are based on rates that apply at the time of construction. Evaluation should also be based on the expertise offered and the ability to finish the project. Selecting a builder based only on the lowest hourly rate is never the best choice.
Contractors who are not properly insured automatically transfer the risk of injury and damage-related lawsuits to the homeowner. A contractor's business liability insurance can protect you if your home is damaged by the contractor or his employees, or if he causes damage or injury to third parties.
Having a meaningful written contract with your builder is essential. The key elements are scope of work, procedures for changes, payment terms and provisions for sign-off at the time of completion. The construction contract should also address responsibility for work-related injuries, damages to third parties and property damage (builder's risk insurance).
Getting building permits
Home building is a highly regulated process. Building permits are required before construction can begin. The time it takes to get permits is dependent on:
Apply for permits as soon as you have your construction blueprints because you can only start foundation work when building permission has been received. You can always delay construction, but you can't move forward without permits.
Preparing the building site
Once the land is cleared, the actual construction of your home can commence. This starts with excavating so that foundations can be formed and concrete poured when the weather conditions are right. It is important to get the foundations in place as soon as blueprints are available and permits have been obtained. Cement cannot be poured below freezing temperatures or other adverse weather conditions without special procedures.
Construction to Lock-up
When the building is at the lock-up stage it means that the home is now weatherproof and secure. The roof is complete with windows and doors installed. An inspection will take place at lock-up. This key milestone inspection will determine the structural soundness of the home and its compliance with building codes.
Finishing to Occupancy
When all of the exterior and interior finishing work is complete you can apply for a final inspection. Any deficiencies identified need to be remedied by you or your general contractor prior to granting an occupancy permit. You may be able to move in prior to receiving an occupancy certificate but you will need one prior to obtaining a mortgage, home warranty protection or selling your house.