The EH Construction Guide

Over the course of building more than 1,000 homes over the past nine years, we’ve developed our building program to provide each of our clients with the most streamlined and enjoyable building experience possible. Before construction gets rolling, you’ll sit down for a Pre-Construction Meeting to review the plans for your home, discuss everything you’ll need to know about making the personalized selections, and answer any questions you might have about the building process. After the Pre-Con Meeting, construction will get rolling on your new home. Here's an overview of what to expect during the 5-6 month building experience. 

STEP 1: Pad & FootingsMany-Paths-Frame.jpg

The first step of construction is to clear any remaining brush or debris from the lot and build the pad. Not to be confused with the concrete slab, the building pad is the compacted dirt or soil on top of which the slab will sit.

After the pad is formed, trenches for the home’s footings are dug, reinforced with rebar, and filled with concrete. The footings serve as the stable base for the home’s foundation, and help tie the home securely to the ground.

STEP 2: Rough Plumbing & Slab

Once the pad has been formed and the footings poured, form boards for the future concrete slab will be set into place. The plumbers will then make their first trip to the property to perform the “rough plumbing,” which involves bedding pipes in the ground for the home’s plumbing system. Before the slab is backfilled, the Superintendent will use laser and hand levels to confirm the plumbing pipes have adequate fall.

Rough-Plumb-r.jpgAfter the rough plumbing receives its seal of approval from the local inspector, the slab will be backfilled and post-tension cables will be placed. The post-tension cable system for each home is designed by a third-party engineer specializing in post-tension slabs. These cables offer tremendous support, as they increase the strength and durability of the home’s foundation, and prevent naturally occurring concrete cracks from separating more than they otherwise would.

Finally, after the form boards are erected, plumbing pipes bedded, slab backfilled, post-tension cables placed, and slab inspected by the local inspector, concrete for the slab will be poured. Once the concrete has had an opportunity to cure and harden, the post-tension cables will be stressed. The end result is an extremely sturdy and durable foundation for your new home.

STEP 3: Framing & Roofing

Many-Paths-Frame-.jpgFraming will get underway shortly after the slab has been poured. In addition to erecting the interior and exterior walls, the framers are responsible for installing the supporting beams and bracing, windows and exterior doors, solar-board roof decking, among other items. Once completed, the frame functions as the home’s interior and exterior skeleton, and forms the stable base to which the home’s finishes are applied.

The roofers will follow on the heels of the framers. After the roof shingles are fully installed, work on the inside of the home can begin! Sometime shortly after the roof is installed, our audio/video company will contact you to arrange a time to meet at the home for your in-person A/V consultation. The complementary A/V consultation is your opportunity to identify television locations, discuss security options, and specify any other A/V features you may wish to add.

STEP 4: Rough Trades

Rough-Trades.jpgThe trade “rough-ins,” which include “top-out” plumbing, and the “rough” HVAC and electric installations, will begin inside the home after the frame and roof have been fully completed. First up is the plumbing top-out, which involves running pipes to the toilets, sinks, showers, and other necessary locations throughout the home. The plumbers are also responsible for installing the gas lines. You won’t see the plumbing fixtures, toilets, and appliances installed at this time – that will occur when the plumbers return again a few weeks before closing.

Next, the HVAC company will install the furnaces, vents, and air ducts. We commission a third-party energy firm to perform a Manual J (or J-Calc) to determine the precise tonnage needed for optimal efficiency. We also have a third-party energy rater certify that the home has less than 4% duct leakage, which is remarkably low compared to the 15-20% duct leakage most new homes experience.

Electrical wiring generally occurs as the last step of the rough trades process because it’s easier for the electricians to wire around plumbing pipes and HVAC ducts than it is for the plumbers and HVAC tradesman to work around wiring. However, if needed to streamline the building process, you might see the electricians wiring the house before the HVAC rough-in.

STEP 5: Inspections

Before proceeding any further, the local building inspectors will review and approve the work performed by each trade and perform a final frame inspection. These inspections are conducted to ensure your home is built in accordance with the applicable building codes. The inspectors will post an approval certificate for work that has been approved or post a “red-tag” for items that still require attention. Approval certificates must be posted for each particular trade prior to the house progressing to the insulation phase.

About-Us-Square-3.jpgIn addition to the inspections conducted by the local building authority, the Superintendent will be performing an extensive checklist throughout construction to confirm the proper completion of over 100 detailed items. The majority of the checklist items occur during the framing and rough trades stage because most any mistake discovered at this time is quite easy to rectify.

To further ensure everything is being completed in accordance with the blue prints and our lofty standards, our highly-experienced Quality Assurance Superintendent also performs a 50-item post-frame checklist. In addition to measuring and confirming the dimensions of walls and openings in the house, the QA Superintendent will inspect each framing board to confirm it meets our standards.

STEP 6: Insulation

Spray-Foam-Guy-2-r.jpgOnce the house receives the green light from the local building official, Superintendent, and QA Superintendent, the insulation company is given the go-ahead to begin insulating the home. The exterior walls receive state-of-the-art liquid spray-foam insulation, which involves a truly remarkable installation process. The liquid foam is first sprayed onto the surface to be insulated, then, after a few seconds, the foam rapidly expands and cures within moments. The insulation specialists then carve away the excess foam so that the insulation perfectly fits in each wall cavity. The result is an energy-efficient, air-tight, foam insulation barrier which performs excellently throughout different weather conditions. Using this top-of-the-line foam insulation is a major reason why many of our customers experience lower utility costs than in their previous homes.

After the house has been fully insulated, a third-party energy rater will conduct an inspection to ensure the framing and insulation were properly completed so that your home will be as energy-efficient as possible. The energy rater will call out any items that need to be altered to bring the house up to our lofty efficiency standards. The same energy rater will return shortly before closing to perform a blower door test, which is used to further confirm the energy-efficiency of your home.

STEP 7: Exterior Masonry

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Around the same time insulation is installed on the interior of the home, the exterior masonry process will get underway outside. Our skilled masons carefully lay each brick and stone by hand, in a process that is one-part science (involving extensive leveling and measuring) and one-part art (chiseling stone and arranging bricks in just the right configuration). Brick and stone have natural variations in color, size, and texture, so the finished exterior masonry of each home is one-of-a-kind.

Homeowners are sometimes surprised to learn that the brick and stone walls do not actually provide structural support for the house, and are instead only aesthetic features. The structural support actually comes from the house’s framing and foundation. So, fear not if you see a minor brick crack on an exterior wall – masonry cracks are almost always an aesthetic consideration and not structural. In fact, the NAHB building standards dictate that brick cracks ¼” or less are to be expected and within the performance guideline.

Homeowners also occasionally inquire as to the fate of any water that finds its way behind the brick veneer wall. The brick masons account for this unavoidable reality by creating weep holes near the bottom of the walls, which provide an escape route for water that becomes trapped between the exterior walls and the weatherproof house wrap.

STEP 8: Drywall & Garage Door

Drywall.jpgDrywall installation is a multi-step process that first, and most obviously, starts with “hanging” the drywall sheets, which form the interior walls and ceilings of the house. The second stage of the process is known as “mudding and taping,” which is when mesh tape and joint compounds (“mud”) are applied to conceal and smooth-over the drywall screws and joints. The third and final stage is to apply the drywall texture specified for each room, whether it be broquet (hand-textured), orange peel (textured), or smooth. The walls will then be ready to paint – but, not so fast! There are still a few important steps to complete before the painters can begin.

The garage door will be installed around the time of drywall installation, which means the house will now be locked when workers are not present. The purpose of locking the house at this stage is to prevent loss and theft as more and more valuable materials are installed inside the house. After the house is in the lock-up stage, you are still more than welcome to come by the house anytime workers are present.

STEP 9: Wood Flooring

Wood-Floors.jpgThe wood floors are installed after the drywall process has been completed, but are not stained just yet. Instead, because there is still significant work to be performed inside the home after the wood floors are installed, the wood floor company will return to stain the floors right before the punch out process. If specified on your Selection Sheet, the wood floor company will contact you shortly before they stain the floors to arrange a time to meet at the house to select your stain color (and scrape-level for Signature homes). The wood floor company will return again one or two days before closing to perform a light sanding and apply a final coat of stain so that your floors look brand-new when you move in.

STEP 10: Trim & Cabinets

Cabinets.jpgThe house will be ready for trim after the wood floors are placed. Our skilled trim carpenters are responsible for much more than simply installing the tall baseboards and crown molding found throughout the home. The trim carpenters also install the cabinets, which are custom-built for each home by our local cabinet manufacturer, wood-casing and headers around the windows, the car siding ceiling kitchen and nook, and the beams, which the trim carpenters craft by hand. Additionally, if you opt for a trim consultation during your Pre-Construction Meeting, you will have the opportunity to meet with the head trim carpenter at your home to specify and personalize the layout of your closets.

STEP 11: Paint

After the trim carpenters have completed their work, the house is ready to be painted! The painters perform extensive preparation before applying any paint or stain. These preparation steps include sanding cabinets and doors, caulking gaps between cabinets and trim, and taping off various areas of the home. Once the preparation work is completed, the painters will paint and stain the inside of the home, and then move outside to complete the exterior painting and staining. In all, the initial painting process generally takes one to two weeks. The painters will return again during the punch out stage to touch-up the paint before closing.

STEP 12: Tile & Countertops

Tile.jpgTile is typically installed after the house has been painted. However, tile scheduling is flexible and may occur before painting if needed to better streamline the flow of construction. In addition to the tile floors, our talented tile crew will install the kitchen backsplash (which occurs after the countertops are installed), shower floor and walls, borders around the tub in the master bathroom, and any other areas of your home that are specified to be tiled.

Around the same time tile is laid, our highly-skilled natural stone tradesmen will come to the home to install your exotic granite or natural stone countertops. Our Office team will notify you as soon as the closing date is ready to be scheduled. 

STEP 13: Interior Finishes

With the finish line now in sight and fast approaching, the trades will each return one more time to complete their work in the house. As usual, the plumbers will be first up to install the plumbing fixtures, toilets, and appliances. Next, the electricians will finalize all of the wiring, install switches and recepts, and mount the light fixtures. The HVAC company will then make their final trip to the home to complete the remaining HVAC work.Finish-1.jpgFinish-3.jpg

In addition to the trades, the trim carpenters will return to install the cabinet hardware throughout the home. The wood floor company will then stain the floors, and carpet will be laid. Around this time, any A/V or security features you may have requested during your A/V consultation will be installed. After all of these finishes have been completed, the Superintendent will hand over the reins to Executive’s Closing Team!

STEP 14: Final Grading & Landscaping

Robert.jpgAs the interior finishes are wrapping up, the final grading, landscaping, and any other exterior work will be completed. The Superintendent will laser-level the property during the initial and touch-up grading to confirm appropriate fall has been established to funnel water way from the foundation. We also offer unbeatable prices on upgraded drainage (such as tight lines and French drains) for those wanting expedited drainage around their property. Those features can be requested during the Pre-Construction Meeting or during the Pre-Closing Walkthrough.

After grading is complete, our talented landscaping team will install the landscaping features around the home. We offer an in-person consultation with our head landscaper if you’d like to personalize the landscaping design and features. 

STEP 15: Pre-Closing Walkthrough & Punch Out

After the Superintendent puts the finishing touches on the house, our Closing Team will get to work preparing the home for closing. Over the course of building more than 1,000 homes over the past nine years, Executive has developed an extremely detailed, 100-plus item punch list for our Closing Team to complete. This punch list has been carefully designed to ensure each aspect and detail of the home is ready for move-in on the day of closing. From confirming proper insulation and fall of the furnace condensate line to verifying the roof penetrations are properly sealed, our knowledgeable Closing Team, all of whom are either state-licensed home inspectors or currently studying for their certification, has the house covered from every angle.

Walkthrough.jpgAt the start of the punch out process, Executive’s Closing Superintendent, Justus McGuire, will contact you to arrange a time for your Pre-Closing Walkthrough. During the Walkthrough, Justus, who is a state-licensed home inspector, will guide you through the home, room-by-room, to identify any items in need of repair, improvement, or replacement prior to closing. Justus will also explain various features of the home, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

STEP 16: Closing & Complimentary Lien Coverage

Our homes close with Kim and Carrie at Elite Title. Having closed over a thousand of our homes, Kim and Carrie are intimately familiar with our closing process and deliver a predictable, smooth closing experience. We also have the property abstract for each home examined by Elite’s title attorney before we begin construction to ensure our homeowners never encounter a title or survey issue before closing.

For additional assurance, we have arranged for our homeowners to receive complimentary coverage against post-closing mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens under Elite’s title insurance policies. Although we’ve never had a post-closing lien for any of the 1,000+ homes we’ve built, we’re happy to provide this unprecedented insurance coverage without you paying any premium whatsoever!

STEP 17: Defect-Free Guarantee

Warranty.jpgWe strive to build the highest quality homes and have developed extensive systems to ensure each home is built with precision and meets our exacting standards. Unfortunately, no home is perfect, so you may experience warranty issues from time to time. However, our warranty program GUARANTEES that your home will be free from defects during your first year! Unlike purchasing a resale home, you won’t need to worry about your HVAC or other system acting up after closing. Our team has you covered!  

In the event you experience warranty issues, our warranty specialist and contractors will work quickly to get everything back in working order. Our warranty specialist travels with a 20’ mobile workshop that’s been specially outfitted to provide on-the-spot service for most issues that arise. Learn more about our top-of-the-line warranty service HERE.

Let’s Get Started!

Start building your home today with our state-of-the-art online Home Building Wizard, or visit the Our Homes page to browse through the wide variety of Move-In Ready and Under Construction homes. No matter which home you choose, you can be sure that your home will be built with precision and up to our unmatched standards. 

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