Sites – Permits and Subcontractors
Be sure to check out the previous page about Planning and Finance
Many first time home buyers acting as their own general contractor are eager to start building right away, but this is where the main leg work really begins for the whole building process to go smoothly.
NOTE: If you don’t have much experience in construction, we recommend that you let Legendary Homes provide the complete “turn key” service for the construction of your new home!
Finding A Site
There are a few major items to consider when buying a site for the construction of a new home. It’s best to find higher ground for the placement of the home so you can get proper drainage. You don’t want to put the house in a low spot such as the bottom of a hill where water run off will head. Another thing to consider is if there are any easements that dictate where utility lines can go or if someone else has rights to that part of the land. Easements and lot restrictions can also influence where the house can be located on the property.
Something else to consider is how far utilities are from the location you want to position the home at. Each area varies, but to give you an idea for much of lower Michigan where Consumers Energy is the electric provider. They will run up to 600 feet of overhead electric from the nearest poles and wires at no cost. Normally anything beyond that they will charge per foot. If you plan on doing underground they will charge by the foot from the point they need to connect to. It is best to set it up and meet with a representative from the power company to get an idea of any additional costs. Natural gas is also something to take into consideration of how far the run will need to be in considering costs.
One of the main considerations of property is going to be the sewer system. If it’s in a city, you will want to be sure to check on the tap in fees and associated costs. If the land is in the country where city sewer is not available, you will want to be sure to get a perk test done. A perk test can tell a lot as far as what type of soil is there. Ideally you will want sand or gravel for the lowest costs. If the land is clay, then you should expect to pay more for the septic system which could likely be a mound system. This varies much from county to county so this is something that is good to know. Also to get an idea of they type and depth of wells in the area and if finding water can be an issue.
The type of soil can also cause the costs to be higher for hauling in sand for back-fill around the foundation, so to have better water drainage.
These are some questions you will want to know about before putting a bid in on a potential piece of property or at least before you begin doing the construction process.
Permits & Inspections
It’s also the responsibility as a general contractor to make sure to get the proper permits pulled. Also you will need to make sure that proper building codes are met and that you get the required inspections. In many cases when hiring a subcontractor such as plumbing, mechanical (heating and cooling) and electrical, they will pull the permits and get inspections with related items.
You need to follow up with these subcontractors and be sure they get inspections or you may be ripping out finished work to show the inspectors.
It is important to have a detailed plan of construction before you start. This isn’t just the plans of the house, but of the construction schedule and the work details that are as complete as possible.
It there are things that aren’t fully explained you risk the construction being delayed with the subcontractors. It’s best to be proactive and make sure that the instructions are as complete as possible and scheduling is confirmed.
Getting & Comparing Bids
You will need to send plans to the different subcontractors showing the required improvements required. If you as the homeowner aren’t doing the work yourself, you will need to be sure to get bids from licensed subcontractors. It may take a week or so before you get responses. Many bids may look very different, but as long as they have the same labor and materials covered you should be alright. You should not look for bids that are just lower in price, but be sure you compare what is included. Often times the lower cost bid may not save you money in the long run. It is usually very helpful to get bids from subcontractors who have experience doing work on modular homes.
It’s a good idea to call the sub’s references and ask what the subcontractor is like on the job and if they stay on schedule. Also if they do a good job. I can tell you from experience that hiring good contractors is usually worth paying a little bit more extra money for. You may think it’s costing more up front, but if you get someone who doesn’t follow through and finish up, it could cost a lot more in the long run. You’ll be able to trust them more and it can prevent unpleasant experiences.
If you do a construction loan, then your lender will require you to have a policy for Builder’s Risk. If you are building your home with your own funds, this is still an important step you will want to follow. Many insurance companies will insure a “new construction” policy which will include the builder’s risk coverage. If you would like a quote you can call Rutledge Agency at (517)286-6245 to get the required coverage. The builder’s risk policy is similar to that of a homeowner’s policy, but covers the home during the construction.
It’s a good idea to talk with an insurance agent about these options. Insurance is cheap compared to what a loss could be if something happened due to fire, theft or vandalism.
NOTE: If you don’t have much experience in construction, we recommend that you let Legendary Homes provide the complete “turn key” service for the construction of your home!
Next Step: Excavating & Foundation
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