Everyone agrees building a custom home can lead to a happier and often more efficient lifestyle, however finding a work-life balance can be hard enough— imagine making plans for your home on top of that. Your responsibilities don’t evaporate simply because you’ve decided to build the custom home of your dreams. That’s why the most common question Alair Homes hears is, “How long does the building process take?” There really isn’t an easy answer to that question since we don’t limit ourselves to a cookie-cutter building process. Here’s what we mean by that.

The average  home takes nine to ten months to build in Vancouver once permits are issued, but if Alair Homes offered a one-figure answer, we wouldn’t deserve to call our homes “custom”. Beyond the scope of your preferences, your building times will vary depending on factors such as specific bylaws applied to your lot, architectural design, and constraints on labour force like a hot market or COVID-19 . We offer a personalized service, and that means a custom timeline as well.  Part of our planning process results in a detailed critical path schedule you can see.

Pre-Construction Paperwork

Before we start laying out bricks and mortar, it’s important to build an accurate, error-free permit application process. Mistakes don’t just cause delays. They can be expensive as well. Permit rules exist to make sure you adhere to your local building codes designed to create livable neighbourhoods.  Every jurisdiction handles the process differently, and that means a highly variable timeframe, especially in regions that have backlogs. In Maple Ridge, you may wait up to four weeks  for a permit while in Vancouver, you might wait as long as four months. You can speed up the process by submitting accurate paperwork that includes all the required documents. That’s where Alair comes in.

We’ll work on your behalf to apply for all the permits you need, pay the requisite fees, and include structural engineer reports, energy audits,  and other forms in your application. Once building inspectors become part of your project, we’ll ensure that our proposed work complies with local codes at every stage of construction. We’ll also book the necessary inspections at each phase of development and, if applicable, work with your Homeowners’ Association to ensure that your build fits into your location’s urban planning rules.

Fitting into Your Part of Town

Vancouver’s bylaws can be seen as restrictive, but if you know how to wield them well, they can shorten your building process. Alair does this on your behalf, but we  always go through a five-point checklist to comply with local zoning and development bylaws:

Of course, your perfect neighbourhood is defined by more than just its regulations. You’ll need to decide which amenities you’d like in your community. This may require a comparison based on which neighbourhood houses the best schools or the proximity to nearby restaurants and stores. Don’t stress- this is all based on your personal preference! 

“Vancouverism” has become a globally-celebrated approach to city planning because it respects nature as much as it does urban lifestyles. That ethic keeps zones sustainable, but it can also lengthen custom build timelines if you don’t know how to navigate it.  For instance, your builder needs to be up to date with Vancouver’s building Step Code.  That’s why you need an expert on your side who can make sure your lot doesn’t require you to scale back your goals. Mistakes can cost you dearly, both in terms of lost time and sub-grade results.

The Variability of Building Styles

Construction style is one of the most influential elements of your timeline. A standard floor plan can take six months to build in good weather, but a fully personalized property can take as many as eight months just to design.  In Vancouver, we have estate- style properties that take over a year to build; ultra modern homes that require a specialized talent for design and fit and finish for that minimalist look; and Craftsman-style homes sprinkled through the city with lots of great examples on the East side.

Certain features can add weeks to your build, too.  Most homes now involve an interior designer and sometimes that means custom built-in millwork, recessed ceiling work, long lead materials from around the world, and specialized installation talent.   If the walls of your home are 2X6 with exterior insulation, 2X8 with inwall insulation, or ICF walls – each one of these choices has a timeline implication.  HVAC decisions can have an impact as well:  choices include heat pumps, or in floor radiant heat, or forced air, or electric, etc.  Again, each of these things has an impact on the time to build. You get the idea.

Changing As You Go – Is That a Good Idea?

Once you’ve begun to install those premium Italian cabinets or that luscious ball-and-claw tub, you might find that certain features don’t inspire you as much as you thought they would. Maybe your budget was too small for your goals, or maybe reality doesn’t look quite like your dreams. In retrospect, those cut corners might detract too much from your lifestyle, but reimagining them takes time. Post-construction changes require new drawings and permits, which lead to delays. Altering your house’s layout changes the overall structure, so deconstructions will be needed, and costs will rise. Reconstructions can add 20 weeks to your build, and changing basic structures can add as many as eight weeks to your timeline.

Most people would not want the above scenario to happen to them, so how do you avoid cost overruns and time delays?  Planning.  Proper, rigorous planning.

The Client Control Process

We believe that building a home requires an intensive partnership. You should never feel alienated from your construction. This is, after all, your home, so you deserve to be right at the centre of the process. Still, custom home projects are complex with many moving parts. 

Over the years, with hundreds of homes under our belts, we have learned a few things.  And planning before building is one of them.  It sounds obvious and basic, but what does that really mean? For Alair’s clients, it means the fastest way to build their home and the best way to stay on budget.  It also means that you know, with full certainty and transparency, all of the details regarding what it will cost and how long it will take – all before starting construction.

That happens because you, the Client, approves all the budget items during planning. You see the firm quotes and discounts so you know where your money is going and what you get. You have the ability to yes or no during planning, before construction.  (Don’t worry, Alair’s software makes it easy and fun to do, and we are there with you.)

We ensure that you’re updated on each component, scheduling decision, and expense as your construction progresses. Alair’s proprietary management program tracks every communication and quote, so you can simply log into your account to check the details at any stage. Transparency is an ethic we hold dear. That’s why we offer you a timeline flowchart that tracks your project as it’s built. This way, you can adjust and stay in control of your budget via our real-time accounting updates. Our system is easy to understand and it will help you feel in control at every phase of your project.

Every Alair home is built with love. We want to ensure that you not only love your new Alair home, but that you also enjoy the entire experience of building your dream house. Living Better Starts Here.