Having your home built just for you can be a really exciting prospect for many homeowners. As such, you may be especially eager to visit the construction site. Generally speaking, that’s a very good thing. That said, there are definitely some things you need to be mindful of when visiting the construction site for your new home.
Let Your Builders Know
It’s understandable if you think it might be a good idea to drop in on the construction site unannounced. After all, you’re paying the builder and their crew to work on your house, not to sit around and hang out. It’s perfectly normal to want to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. That said, it isn’t a good idea to show up without letting your builder know ahead of time. For liability reasons, your builder may require that someone accompany you around the site any time you visit, so they’ll need to arrange for someone to be with you and not actively working on the house.
If you show up unannounced, they’ll have to take the time to find someone they can pull away from working on your home who can then take time to escort you around the site. Giving them a heads up gives them a chance to reorganize and restructure labor so someone is free and ready for you. This also gives them a chance to straighten things up a bit too you’re less likely to step on stray nails or trip over loose materials. You could technically just walk or drive by the site without letting them know ahead of time, but if you really want to get a feel for what’s happening on the site, you need to have a chance to look around.
Safety is a major concern on a home construction site. Construction can be a dangerous industry. Your builder and their team are familiar with the most common construction injuries and take steps to mitigate their risk. The expectation is that you do the same when you visit. Make sure you know and adhere to any dress code they have for being on site. Wear the proper protective gear too. If you’re told not to be in a certain part of the site, don’t go there.
Remember, there are good reasons for the site rules, even if you don’t understand them. They’re there to keep you safe, but they won’t do you any good if you don’t follow them. Ask for clarification if you need help understanding the site rules better. And for goodness sake, leave the kids at home. Your attention during your visit should be on the home and the site, not wrangling your children to keep them out from underfoot. It isn’t safe for anyone to have kids running around.
Clutter can be dangerous on construction sites. Clutter can be the cause of trips and falls, bumps and bruises, and lost or broken tools and materials. If an area of the site is cluttered, it’s best to just avoid going there altogether. Of course, good builders and teams try to avoid cluttering up a site, since it’s just as dangerous to them as it is to you. Construction sites often use self-dumping trash hoppers to make the workplace safer. They provide an easy way to dispose of clutter and waste so it isn’t left lying around where it can cause problems.
In case this doesn’t go without saying, be polite to your builder, especially if you think they are doing something wrong. You can ask them questions about the process and voice concerns, but don’t be rude about it. As long as you did your homework and were able to find a reputable builder, they know a whole lot more about building a house than you do. Things that don’t make sense to you make perfect sense to them because they have the education and training to back it up.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re infallible. Even the best builders make mistakes, and a fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes that would otherwise go unnoticed. How you go about pointing things out and asking questions will help you maintain a positive, productive relationship with your builder. Remember, the more positively they feel towards you, the more they will want to give you their best work.
Document Your Visit
Feel free to take a ton of pictures when you visit the site. Bring something to take notes on as well, or just use your phone. Document anything you think is interesting, things you love, questions that pop up, or things that you find concerning. This does two things for you. First, it gives you something that you can use to look back and remember the process that went into building your home. Second, it gives you clear documentation that you can use when bringing up questions or concerns with your builder. The more specifically you can show them what you’re talking about, the better they will be able to understand what you’re asking and provide a good answer.
Be Aware of How Frequent You Visit
The frequency of your visits to the construction site can have a real impact on your experience with the home building process as a whole. Some people want to go every day, or even multiple times during the day to check on the progress. This can make everything seem to go painfully slowly and be very frustrating. It doesn’t help when you see people sitting around when you think they should be working. The reality may be that they are waiting for a shipment of materials to arrive and can’t do any work until they show up. Spacing out your visits will make the progress being made more readily apparent and can help you feel more excited about your new home.
Conversely, some people don’t have any interest at all in visiting the construction site. Failing to check in on the site periodically can also be a big mistake on your part. You could find yourself stuck with a finished home that isn’t exactly how you wanted it. You may find yourself dealing with other unpleasant surprises down the road that could have been avoided by visits as well. At a minimum, you should visit the site at three crucial points in the construction process to make sure everything is going as it should. You should visit before any building starts to make sure the siting is done right, before the drywall goes up, and at the end before you assume ownership of the house.
It’s important to be mindful when visiting your home’s construction site. A good builder will want to do a good job for you and keep you safe while you visit, which means you have to abide by their rules. Take steps to maintain a good working relationship with them and avoid getting in the way. This will help you keep track of your home’s progress and avoid unnecessary delays to the project. The end result should be a home that meets your expectations that you can be proud to call your own.
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