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Construction Schedule For a New Home

General preparations | Building lot/property | Home plans/Specifications | Engineering | Building permit | Subcontractors and bidding | Lien Waiver | >>Contracts and scheduling | Financing

Scheduling is the process of coordinating the tasks in a chronological sequence. Construction scheduling is difficult for beginners because of the required sequence, and the number of simultaneous tasks. Go to Construction scheduling page for more information.

Some professional builders use only verbal contracts with their subs because they have built a relationship of trust. Construction documents refers to written and graphic documents required to fulfill the contract. Generally these include the following:

  • Owner-contractor agreement, or owner-subcontractor agreement for owner-builders
  • Specifications
  • Description of materials
  • Engineering calculations
  • Change orders
  • Any addendum or supplementary conditions or clauses that are added to the above documents.

Contracts can be as simple or complicated as desired. An owner-subcontractor contract should include the following items:

  • Price for the contract
  • Breakdown of costs per phase of work (if applicable)
  • Number of days to complete the Work
  • Cost for change orders
  • Cost per hour for labor not included in the contract.
  • Payment schedule
  • General description of the work to be performed including description of materials and engineering calculations.
  • General responsibilities of each party.

Specifications should include (Description of Materials):

  • Type of materials to be used,
  • Brand and model of equipment to be installed.
  • Procedure for special types of installation

Specifications (engineering calculations) here are some of the typical calculations made for a residential structure:

  • Sizing of all major beams, posts and headers.
  • Sizes and spacing of joists.
  • Design and spacing of roof trusses or sizing of rafters, ceiling joist and collar ties.
  • Graphic description of shear wall construction including fastener type, nailing patterns, and framing material.
  • Cross and diagonal bracing requirements
  • Size and spacing of anchor bolts and hold downs.
  • Nailing requirements for shear walls and roof decking.
  • Installation of squash blocks and point load transfers
  • Footing size
  • Foundation size
  • Steel reinforcing required in footings and foundation walls.

Besides the above requirements, engineers may specify certain materials for decking, beams, and bracing, etc.

Most contracts with subcontractors can be fairly simple and straightforward.

The key to good scheduling is communication and knowing the sequence of events. There are two types of tasks, critical and non-critical.
Critical tasks are those task that determine the length of the project. If a critical task is delayed, the next task cannot start and the time for completion is also delayed.
Non-critical tasks are task which have some leeway, so that they can take longer than expected an still not hold up the process. A non-critical task can turn into a critical task if it takes a lot longer to complete than expected.
Most subs are very busy and need to know a general idea when they will be needed on the job. Construction superintendents notify their subs when they are 4 weeks out, 2 weeks out, 1 week out and then a couple of days out. In order to keep their employees scheduled efficiently subs must know your schedule and be updated regularly. If you get the subs to the site early they will lose money (and be frustrated). If you get them there late you add time to your project. If that task is a non-critical task timing is not as critical. You have some leeway as to when the sub begins. Our professional construction schedule shows the the critical path timeline and how critical and non-critical tasks are interrelated.

Notes to the owner builder
A simple contract is better than a verbal agreement. It can save time, money and disputes.
Scheduling mistakes often cause extra details. For example, If you schedule the plumbers to do finish plumbing before the kitchen countertops are installed, they can do finish most of the job except for the kitchen sink. What if their next available opening is 2 weeks out? You may have to do it yourself or pay another plumber to install it.


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