After receiving your completed residential plans from your architect, it is now time for you to submit those plans to the City for building permits. If your local Building Permits office is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19, like ours is, you can usually submit these plans through their website or email. Depending on the complexity of the project, the process can take between 2-8 weeks.
Once you have the permit with your construction plans, you have two paths to choose from:
Hire a General Contractor
Be your own project manager
Will hire and manage subcontractors
Will create and maintain a detailed schedule
Will submit permits
Will schedule inspections
Will be paid a markup
Be your own project manager
You are responsible for all terms of schedule and management
Hire all the subcontractors yourself
Save General Contractor markup
Let us assume you are going with a General Contractor. Your architect can recommend a General Contractor for your project, or you can find one that you feel will suit your project needs. Just as you would interview an architect, you would also do so with a General Contractor. Contact the General Contractor’s references and ask questions on the Contractor’s ability to maintain schedules, change orders, and subcontractors. Once you have picked a General Contractor, make sure to ask for:
Active insurance certifications (such as a Workers Compensation and Commercial General Liability)
State Contractor license
At least 1 weekly meeting on the site
A signed contract with a detailed schedule
You must protect yourself from any issues that may arise after construction has started. An uninsured Contractor can cause a lot of financial pain in the event of property damage or injury. A signed contract ensures that both parties understand precisely what terms, payment, and timeline have been agreed on.
As construction starts, your General Contractor may ask for a deposit. We highly recommend setting up a joint check agreement, keeping a copy of all invoices, and a detailed cost breakdown for your records. You may be asking, “Wait... Do I have to open a checking account with my General Contractor?”. We promise that this is not the case! A joint check agreement is between a General Contractor, a subcontractor, and a material supplier. The Joint check agreement protects the material supplier against the risk of the subcontractor not paying them.
For more details on joint check agreements, click here. During your weekly meeting with your Contractor, be sure to ask about the schedule, budget, and anything else going on with your project.
THE CONSTRUCTION PHASE
Throughout construction, your General Contractor will be managing materials, subcontractors, permits, deadlines, and inspections. For subcontractors to start on drywall, plumbing, framing, and more, your General Contractor will need to submit plans to the City and obtain permits for each of these sections. Otherwise, your project will not pass its inspections, and you will not be awarded a Certificate of Occupancy! Here are a few inspections you will need:
Footing and Foundation (FF) Inspection
4 Way Inspection (Framing, Mechanical, Electric, Plumbing)
After passing all inspections, the City will give you a 'CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY'! This certificate certifies your building’s compliance with building codes and states that it is in a condition suitable for occupancy.
TIME FOR THE PUNCH LIST!
Once your house is “Done,” the architect and client go through a punch list. Search for anything that has been missed or needs a fix. Such as drywall cracks, missed paint spots, misplaced tile, electrical outlets, operation of light fixtures, etc. You can take a roll of Blue Scotch tape to mark these areas and write down what needs to be done. Your Contractor takes care of these missed spots.
The closeout is the last phase of a project’s life span and includes:
Any final change orders are completed
The owner is informed of repair warranties
All documents related to your project are organized and given to you in a closeout package.
All necessary inspections are completed, and you have a Certificate of Occupancy
Voilà! That is all you have to do!