Anticipate The Phases of Construction

Written by Econ Group’s Dalit Holzman and originally published in North Shore News July 2013

To anyone outside the construction industry, the process of building might easily feel daunting. As with any other field, terminologies and acronyms abound, making our lingo sometimes sound completely foreign to people outside the business. Over the next few weeks I hope to shed some light on the standard phases of construction in order to help readers feel a bit more at home with building a home. In this part I have used a sequential checklist format for your easy future reference.


Pre-Construction phase

  • Design process: a homeowner can work with a designer, an architect or even directly with a design-build construction company for this. (In the case of single-family residential construction within the Vancouver area, an architect’s stamp is not necessary from a Municipal point of view.) It is helpful to be upfront during this process with overall budget requirements so that the home being designed can best fit within them. In this regard, it is advantageous to have your builder selected early on so that their knowledge of real-world costs can be utilized during the design process.
  • Construction Plans are finalized
  • A builder is selected (visit for one North Vancouverite’s insightful account of “Choosing a Contractor”)
  • Homeowner begins selecting products in conjunction with the design team (you may or may not decide to bring on the services of an interior designer for your project)
  • Builder prepares home warranty documents for building permit submission
  • Plans are submitted to Municipal approval body
  • Builder prepares a line item budget (upon Municipal stamped approval of any design and engineering plans)
  • Budget is finalized
  • Homeowner secures project financing
  • Homeowner determines who will fulfill the role of Consultant and Payment Certifier during construction (this often is the designer of the home)
  • Homeowner, Consultant and Builder sign the Construction Contract after full legal review

Construction phase

  • On-going: Builder tracks the timeline and budget, updating the Homeowner regularly
  • On-going: Change Orders issued and approved (to request major modifications)
  • Trees and plants protected as defined by Municipality
  • Site is mobilized with temporary power and on-site equipment storage/office facility
  • Site is surveyed/pinned for excavation
  • Road access is created
  • Site is prepared: demolition, excavation and blasting
  • Temporary de-watering put in place if needed
  • Footings are poured with subsequent Municipal, engineering, geotechnical inspections
  • Foundation is poured with subsequent Municipal, engineering inspections
  • Exterior concrete (stairs, walkways, etc.) are engineered
  • Homeowner is now eligible to receive “first draw” of construction financing upon bank appraisal of jobsite
  • Frame is built with subsequent Municipal, engineering inspections
  • Roofing and deck are installed
  • Mechanical Trades phase: HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning), plumbing, electrical
  • Windows and doors are installed
  • Envelope and rain-screen are built
  • Municipal and engineering inspections
  • Homeowner is now eligible to receive “second draw” of construction financing upon bank appraisal of jobsite
  • Insulation and drywall are built
  • Homeowner is now eligible to receive “third draw” of construction financing upon bank appraisal of jobsite
  • Interior finishing is built: floors, lighting/plumbing fixtures, painting, millwork, kitchen/bathroom cabinets, tile, etc.
  • Exterior finishing is built: siding, painting, railings, etc.
  • Exterior pool is built if necessary
  • Appliances are installed
  • Property is landscaped
  • Final Municipal inspection carried out to secure Occupancy Permit
  • Homeowner/Builder walk-through and final approval
  • Homeowner is now eligible to receive “final draw” of construction financing upon bank appraisal of jobsite

Post-Construction phase

  • Builder provides Homeowner with Project Binder noting all relevant contacts, products, finishes, maintenance procedures
  • Home warranty document enrollment and activation