advice

Planning the construction of your house

Identify your needs   Prepare for the unexpected   Plan a budget   Choose your plan    Find the right location   The construction permit   Insurance   Construction work                      
Plan n° pla11235
Who hasnt dreamt of owning a house? The decision to build or to supervise the building of your dream home requires some basic knowledge but mainly a tested work approach. In order to establish a realistic schedule, take into consideration the different steps required and the different trades that will play a role in the project. A good plan should ensure work is carried out efficiently, and that you are spared unpleasant surprises and useless expenses.
  • Identify your needs
Identifying your needs is an essential step but construction standards must be kept in mind.
Initially, you must clearly identify the needs of everyone who will live in the house and be sure your project meets municipal and provincial standards. Then, you must plan the building sequence, determine who will do what, and who will be responsible for purchasing the material.
  • Prepare for the unexpected
Planning a house is planning for the unexpected. This document covers the various steps involved in the construction of a house in a detailed fashion. It gives you an idea of the different factors to consider before building, but its not a guarantee that you wont have to deal with unexpected situations. It also proposes questions that should be answered before the start of your project.
Being informed also means asking the right questions and finding the answers!
  • Plan a budget
Plan a budget
Can you afford to build your own house? Start by establishing a budget. Meet a financial advisor preferably from the financial institution that is providing the mortgage who will help you evaluate the maximum amount you can invest in the construction of a house. Your financial capacity will be calculated according to your commitments and responsibilities. The total amount allocated to the reimbursement of your debts should not exceed 40 to 42% of your gross revenue (total revenue before taxes and deductions).
Build some flexibility into your budget for related expenses such as a notary fees, municipal taxes, school and welcome taxes (transfer taxes), life, disability and home insurance, etc. Obtaining the overall and detailed plans of the house as well as the surveyors certificate of location represent additional expenses.
  • Choose your plan
Choose your plan
Any serious building contractor will require a detailed plan of your house designed with an architectural technologist or an architect. Such a plan guarantees that your house will be built according to your requests and requirements. The various trades involved in the building will require a copy of the plan as well as your municipality in order to deliver the necessary permits and authorizations.
Architectural technologists and architects are qualified professionals who are trained in various fields related to architecture and who can design plans and prepare estimates that meet standards and regulations. They ensure that you will be getting quality workmanship.
  • Find the right location
Youve settled on a house. Now you need to choose a location. It isnt easy to decide where to build a house. Its an irreversible decision that must take into consideration your needs as well as those of your family. Among the various options to consider, youll have to choose those that important to you: a rural or urban environment; proximity to schools, work, shopping, emergency services, parks and recreational activities, roads, public transportation, municipal services, etc. Youll have to look at the size of the lot, the neighborhood, nearby street traffic, noise, trees and soil quality, sunlight and the potential resale value in case you need to move unexpectedly.
  • The construction permit
The construction permit
The construction permit is an inescapable reality. Before starting construction work, you must make sure your project complies with the standards, laws and regulations in effect. Plans and quotations must be validated by a municipal building inspector. The building inspector is a resource that will ensure your plan complies with the municipalitys requirements regarding electric power, water supply and sewage, and who will approve the location of the house. Hell also make sure your plan respects the municipalitys urban development plan, which generally takes into consideration the quality of life of its citizens and the need for harmonious development.
The municipality will become an ally who will guide you through the different steps of your project.
  • Insurance
Youve chosen the house plan. Youve chosen the land. Financing has been approved. And you have your construction permit.
What if the roof falls on your head? Yes, even if you are not yet living in your house, you need to have insurance during the whole duration of the construction.
  • Construction work
Here are the more or less chronological steps that should normally lead to the completion of your project:
Construction permit Surveying
Layout plan Excavating
Installation of a temporary electric line Footing and foundations formwork
Foundation concreting Waterproofing the foundations
Rough plumbing (drainage) Backfilling
Crushed stone bed Floor & wall framework (1st level)
Floor & wall framework (2nd level) Roof trusses and soffits
Roof plywood Roof shingle starter (soaker and counterflashing)
Shingles Doors and windows
Interior partitions Window flashings
Exterior siding (brick, fascia, soffits, vinyl, etc.) Initial electrical wiring
Rough plumbing Heating system
all and ceiling insulation Moisture barrier
Finishing panels for walls and ceilings Installation of plasterboard and pulling of joints
Balconies and platforms Interior finishing
Staircase Interior/exterior paint Cabinets and vanities
Floor covering (except hard wood) Pouring concrete slabs for the basement and garage
Gutters Exterior stucco Plumbing finishing
Electricity finishing Interior decorating
Landscaping Final check
Washing and cleaning Final inspection


Building the house that will become a major part of your estate is an important long-term project that requires methodical, step-by-step execution.
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