How Long Does it Take to Build a House

How Long Does it Take to Build a House?

If you’re contemplating building a new house, you’re not alone. Nearly half a million single-family houses were constructed in the first half of 2020 across the U.S. The allure of moving into a brand-new home with the latest features and technology is exciting. However, the big question is, how long does it take to build a house?

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Average Time It Takes to Build a House

On average, it takes seven months to build a house from start to finish, as per a 2019 U.S. Census Bureau report. This timeline includes the time for an architect to draw up plans (1–4 months) and an additional month for project authorization.

Build Time by Home Type

The type of home you’re building also affects the construction timeline:

  • Owner-built: 12 months
  • Contractor-built: 9 months
  • Built-for-sale: 6 months

Custom builds, like owner-built and contractor-built projects, tend to take longer due to the homeowner’s involvement. Non-custom construction, such as built-for-sale homes, is faster, often using established designs.

Build Time by Region

The geographical location also influences build time:

  • Northeast: 11 months
  • West and Midwest: 8 months
  • South: 6 months

Regions with milder weather, like the South, generally have faster construction timelines.

Steps of the Home-Building Process

Understanding the home-building process sheds light on why it takes time. Key stages include site work, foundation laying, framing, exterior finishes, major systems installation, and interior finishes. The later stages often take longer due to the complexity of tasks and coordination.

Tips to Avoid Construction Delays

While some delays are inevitable, there are steps you can take to minimize them:

  1. Develop a Realistic Set of Plans: Ensure your architect and builder collaborate to create realistic plans, preventing major changes later.
  2. Stick to Your Budget: Adhering to your budget helps keep the project on track and minimizes the need for last-minute changes.
  3. Stay on Top of the Schedule: Act as a project manager, regularly meeting with the general contractor to review plans, budget, and upcoming tasks. Address scheduling issues promptly to prevent cascading delays.

Building a house is a significant undertaking, but with careful planning and management, you can navigate the process smoothly and enjoy your new home sooner.

Factors That Can Extend the Average Construction Time

Several factors can contribute to an increase in the overall time required for a construction project:

  1. Labor Shortages: A scarcity of skilled labor can lead to delays, as finding qualified workers becomes a challenge for construction projects.
  2. Supply Chain Issues: Disruptions in the supply chain for construction materials can cause hold-ups. Delays may occur if essential materials are not readily available.
  3. Weather Conditions: Extreme weather, such as excessive rain, snow, or temperature fluctuations, can impact construction timelines, making certain tasks challenging or unsafe.
  4. Owner-Induced Delays: Homeowners play a significant role in construction delays. Changes in design preferences, additional requests, or indecision can prolong the construction process.
  5. Real Estate Market Dynamics: Areas experiencing a construction boom may face a shortage of laborers and subcontractors, contributing to an overall lengthening of the building time.

Tips to Expedite the Building Process

To save time during the construction process, strategic planning and proactive measures are essential:

  1. Thorough Planning: Comprehensive planning is crucial to minimizing delays and errors. Understanding the interdependence of various aspects of construction allows for a smoother workflow.
  2. Product Lead Time Awareness: Be aware of lead times for crucial products like windows and doors. Ensuring these items are available on-site when needed prevents unnecessary waiting periods.
  3. Efficient Coordination of Work Crews: Maximizing the efficiency of different work crews, such as electricians, plumbers, and HVAC specialists, accelerates the building process. Prompt coordination among these professionals is key.
  4. Builder Accountability: Including penalties in the contract for missing agreed-upon completion dates holds the builder accountable. This ensures a commitment to timely project delivery.

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