The Construction Process

The construction begins at the completion of design. It is an actual process. It requires the marshalling of the labor and material resources necessary to complete your project; ensuring any specialty trade contractors required are scheduled appropriately; inspecting and verifying that work was performed correctly, in compliance with building codes, and to generally accepted standards of workmanship; and that materials required arrive when they are needed.

Project Manager
The person who oversees the process is your Project Manager. He was intimately involved in the design of your project and is completely familiar with your construction plan. He will be your single-point contact for the lifetime of the project, available to you at all times during working hours to answer questions and address concerns while the project is underway.

Your Project Manager is not just a manager, he will also be the project's lead carpenter and actually does or closely supervises all of the work required for the project. Carpentry comprises about 60-80% of the work in any remodeling project.

Construction Plan to Construction Process
The construction blueprint is a static document that specifies what we must build, the construction process, however, is dynamic and specifies how it will be done. Converting the plan into a process is the first job of the project's manager.

He must determine appropriate construction methods, divide all required building activities into logical steps and determine the time, material and crafts required for each step. From this analysis he will create a time-line and schedule for your project. He will consult with you to align our work with your family's routine and activities as much as possible to minimize the disruption of your household. Once the schedule is agreed on, a project management computer program is used to create time-line charts to display the schedule and all of the events in the schedule. You get a copy of these charts and any updates so you will know what activities you can expect on any given day.

Material Acquisition
By the time the project formally begins, some of the materials — especially those items with long lead times — will have already been ordered. The project manager will order the rest, scheduling deliveries to coordinated with the time line. Ideally, materials arrive for a scheduled event just as the event is set to take place. Ideally. But since the "ideal" is a goal that is seldom reached, he also arranges a place for short-term storage of materials until they are needed.

Project Coordination
The project manager oversees the selection of specialty trade contractors to complete specific pieces of the project — which could include everything from structural metal working and plumbing to painting and carpet installation. He schedules the work of specialty trades, interweaving the schedules of the various trade specialties so that the project proceeds in an organized manner. He determines the labor requirements and supervises the allocation of in-house craftsmen to your project — hiring additional help if required. He also oversees the performance of all crafts on the project and is responsible for ensuring that any work is completed in a workmanlike manner and on schedule.

Safety and Code Compliance
If building permits or special licenses are required, the project manager sees that they are obtained. He ensures that all building and fire codes are complied with, and that the work environment is a safe as possible.

Houses built before 1978 have special requirements for lead containment. The EPA's rules on the safe handling of materials containing lead are both complicated and strict.

StarCraft Custom Builders follows all Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for a safe and injury-free work site.

Compliance Inspections
The project will be inspected by code inspectors at least once, and in many cases up to ten times.

Inspections are required for structural components, insulation, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning. In most instances more than one inspection is required for each installation. For example, an electrical inspection is required of all wiring before the walls are enclosed, and another electrical inspection when the final wiring is completed. Footings and foundations require two inspections, then the wall and roof framing is inspected, the insulation is inspected once it is installed, and at the end of the project, the whole thing is given one last look-over for code and safety compliance.

At the end of the project, it is the project managerís responsibility to conduct a final walk-through with you before the project is formally handed over to you; and to supervise any remedial work that needs to be done.

Project Administration
Administration is essentially handling all of the volumes of paperwork required to complete a remodeling project. It includes purchase orders for materials, contract agreements with specialty craft providers, change orders, material approval checklists, payments to subcontractors and suppliers, and getting lien releases.

To ensure the project is built as specified in your design, the Project Manager regularly reviews project drawings and specifications. He will track and control construction costs against the project budget to avoid cost overruns and meets regularly with you, trade contractors, and vendors to coordinate all phases of the construction project.

The project manager is responsible for all administrative tasks during the process of construction, and final paperwork at the end. This includes preparation and delivery of warranties, and other documentation we deliver to you when the project is done.

The Design/Builder Concept
A design-builder is a modern form of the oldest approach to creating buildings — that of the master builder. The master builder was originally a combination architect, engineer and builder, responsible for every phase of building a structure from initial concept to completion. He commanded the necessary resources: draftsmen, masons, carpenters, laborers, carvers and metal-workers, and dedicated them to the single-minded pursuit of excellence in design and construction… more Ľ

Need to learn more about designing, planning and building an addition? Try these articles:
  • Building by Design: The Design-Builder Concept
    A design-builder is a modern form of an ancient approach to building structures — that of the master builder. A master builder of old was a combination architect, engineer and builder, responsible for every phase of building a structure from initial concept to completion. Design-building firms such as StarCraft Custom Builders continue this oldest of building traditions.

  • The Construction Process
    Once your blueprints are completed, the real work begins. Your project manager works with you to develop a construction process that minimizes disruption to your household while work is in progress.

  • The Design & Planning Process
    If your plans include substantial changes to your kitchen or bath, or another room, or you are contemplating an addition; then a construction plan is required. Learn how your ideas are turned into a concept plan and then a construction blueprint in a three-step process using computer-assisted design.

  • Finding Some More Kitchen Space
    In many cases, existing kitchens are just too small for any real improvement in space management. Learn where to get more space, or at least the illusion of more space for your new kitchen.

  • Getting More Bathroom Space
    Our fondness of open spaces within the home doesn't end at the bathroom door. Unfortunately the acreage needed to create that spacious feeling just is not available in many older bathrooms. Often the key to updating a bath is creating more space — or at least the illusion of more space. This article examines where additional space can be found both outside and inside your existing bathroom.

  • Insulating Your Old House
    Is your old house drafty in winter, swampy in summer? Almost impossible to heat and cool? That's because when your house was built a half-century or more ago, no one thought in­sul­a­tion was necessary — or, better said, experts believed that the 4" of dead air space inside the stud cavities of your walls was adequate in­sul­a­tion. Now we know better, and in an age of declining energy resources, adequate in­sul­a­tion in your old house has become a critical requirement. Learn how in­sul­a­tion works, and when and wear you should insulate your old house.

  • James Hoban: Master Builder (Sidebar)
    An Irishman designed and built the most famous house in American: The White House. Learn about this little known master builder.

  • Jungle in the Dining Room, The Solarium Addition
    These owners wanted to view a tropical forest through the French doors of their dining room. See how we built an indoor garden of tropical plants that doubled as a source of solar heating.

  • Living Through Remodeling: A Homeowner Survival Guide
    Remodeling will disrupt just about every routine you have; including some you are not aware of having. But this noisy, gritty process doesn't necessarily mean you will be tearing out your hair. With a little advance planning, it is possible to live through even major renovations with your sanity and good nature largely intact. Check out our remodeling survivors guide.

  • Whole Wall Insulation (Sidebar)
    The R-12 in­sul­a­tion in your walls may be providing only R-8 thermal protection. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has come up with a new technique for measuring actual R-value that is a lot more accurate than the current methods. Which materials are winners and which are losers in the R-value rating game? Find out.

  • Your Old Windows
    If the fine craftsmanship and charm of your old windows is quickly being eroded by cold drafts and frost on the panes, it may be time to consider doing something about them. Can your old windows be saved? If they are saved, can they be made as energy efficient as modern windows? The answer is "yes" and "yes". Most heritage windows can be restored and upgraded to rival the performance of a standard replacement window, and usually at a fraction of the cost.