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An Overview of the Home Construction Process

The home construction process is an interrelated sequence of events taking raw land and turning it into your beautiful new home. Understanding the phases of home construction helps to coordinate the planning to keep the project on schedule. Some functions can happen at the same time, while others are dependent on previous work being completed first. The six major phases of the building process, along with the general chronology outlining the steps of building a home, have been outlined here.


General Outline of the Home Construction Process


1) Pre-construction

Before moving forward with the home construction process, proper permits need to be in place, financing needs to be secured, and all construction documents should be finalized.


2) Structural

The structural work is the part of the home construction process that feels most exciting and is fastest paced. This is when the home starts to take shape and look like a real home.


  • Plumbing:
    • Sewer tap, water tap
    • Sub-slab plumbing (either for basement or on grade), layout
  • Concrete:
    • Pour slab for basement or garage
  • Rough Carpentry:
    • Framing, roofing, windows, doors


3) Rough-Ins

The rough-ins are installed in a generally sequential order based on bulk and flexibility. HVAC is least flexible and is most bulky, whereas electrical is more flexible and can work around the other installations.

  • HVAC Rough-In:
    • Ductwork, furnaces, cold air returns
  • Plumbing Rough-In:
    • Rough-in layout for sinks, bath & shower, refrigerator, dishwasher, water heater
  • Electrical Rough-In:
    • Set electric boxes (outlets, switches, light fixtures, audio / visual), service panel, meter
  • Service Laterals:
    • Water, sewer, gas, electric


4) Interior & Exterior Enclosures

This is a critical inspection point in the home construction process. Rough-ins are completed and the infrastructure is still visible. Before covering everything up in the enclosures phase, an inspection is required to make sure everything is in order before it gets buried in the walls.

  • Insulation:
    • Caulk, seal, draft stop, install insulation
  • Drywall:
    • Hang, tape, finish, sand
  • Roofing:
    • Install paper, flashing, roof shingles, roof tiles
  • Exterior Finishes:
    • Masonry (brick, rock), stucco, wood, paint, siding, trim, gutters, downspouts, soffits & fascia


5) Trim & Finishes

The finishing details of a home often feels like the slowest part of the construction process. Some functions can run concurrently while others have predecessors. Some contractors perform a broad set of finish work, others have a very specific niche. Completion dates depend greatly on who you hire, how well the construction schedule has been coordinated, and the availability of materials.

  • Finish Carpentry:
    • Closets, pantries, mantles, shelves, built-ins
    • Hang doors, casings (windows & doors), baseboards, moldings, railings
    • Stair treads, skirting
    • Hardwood floor
  • Paint:
    • Paint, trim, caulk
  • Bathroom Finishes:
    • Shower glass, surrounds (i.e. cultured marble, wall tile)
  • Cabinets & Countertops:
    • Kitchen, bath, laundry, garage
  • Electrical Finish:
    • Switches, plugs, wall plates
    • Install light fixtures
    • Connect appliances
  • Plumbing Finish:
    • Install sinks, lavatories, toilets, faucets
    • Connect water heaters, water softener
  • HVAC Finish:
    • Install registers, grills, outdoor units
  • Specialty Finishes:
    • Metalworks, custom ceilings, wall textures
  • Appliance Installation:
    • Stove, oven, microwave, exhaust fan, refrigerator, washer / dryer, dishwasher
  • Hardware Installation:
    • Towel bars, toilet paper holders, door knobs, closet rods, mirrors, medicine cabinets, bath & shower doors
  • Floor Finishes:
    • Tile, stone – usually installed shortly after the Enclosures phase
    • Hardwood – wood floors can be installed earlier in the Trim & Finishes phase, but the final finish is one of the last jobs to complete in the home construction process because it is most susceptible to scratching
    • Carpet – carpet is often one of the last jobs to be completed within the home, otherwise it is usually covered to protect it from getting dirty
  • Landscaping Finish:
    • Concrete Work (driveways, walkways, patios, edging)
    • Final grading


6) Completion

Congratulations! Your home is now complete. Before you can move in, a final inspection must be conducted to receive a certificate of occupancy.

  • Final Inspection:
    • Required by local jurisdictions to ensure your safety
  • Occupancy Certificate:
    • Issued by local jurisdictions once inspections are passed
  • Punch list:
    • Drywall repairs, paint touchup, adjust doors, corrections
  • Cleaning:
    • Windows, dust, polish, sweep, vacuum
  • Closing:
    • If financing your new home, you will need to close on your mortgage prior to moving in
  • Move in:
    • The house is now yours—start making it a home!