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2 min read

When Can You Start My Project?

When Can You Start My Project?

Getting your project to the build phase will take 4 months to 1 year from the date you begin the design. After understanding the high-level scope of work, we ask our clients what their ideal start date is and then work backward to see if it’s feasible. Conversely, you can add up the phases, starting from design, up until build, to get a rough estimate of when you can start your project.

When you can start your project is the factor of three main phases; design, estimating, and project mobilization. 

 

How Long Does The Design Process Take?

Designing your home will take 6 weeks, to over 16 weeks. How long the design process takes depends on the type of project you are taking on. A smaller project that has less layout or materials to think through will take less time. A more complex project requires more people involved and more details to work through.

A breakdown of how long your specific project will take in design can be found in the “How Long Does the Design Process Take’ article.

 

Estimating

Estimating will take 2 to 3 weeks. After all the material selections, layout, and final scope of work have been determined, formal estimating can begin. At the end of estimating you will get your first insight into a realistic build start date.

It takes time to estimate because a number of vendors and trades need to review the plans, ask questions, and compile a comprehensive quote. Custom items can also be difficult to estimate, and take time to create a price for. It is important not to rush estimating if you want to avoid costly misses during your build.

If your contractor is doing a thorough estimate, they are, in part, at the mercy of vendors’ and trades’ response times. For contractors that do not have a designated estimator, the timeline can grow from the 2-3 week mark, or to save time in estimating, they may move forward with a number that they think they can find someone to do the work.

 

Project Mobilization

Project mobilization will take a few weeks to 6+ months. Project mobilization consists of assigning a project manager, permitting, ordering materials that are low stock or have a long lead time, and confirming the initial schedule with trades and vendors.

Lead times on materials are the biggest factor in how long project mobilization will take. The biggest offenders are windows (20+ weeks), exterior doors (16+ weeks), cabinets (16+ weeks), and custom-made materials (10-25 weeks). 

The next biggest factor is permitting. Permitting will take at best 3 weeks, but could go 1-2 months for residential projects. This phase is very dependent on the jurisdiction your project is in, how busy the permit office is, and how efficient that department is.

Your contractor should be able to give you a good grasp of how long the lead time items will be for materials and what the permit turnaround time is based on their experience with that jurisdiction. As you approach the build start date, your project manager will reach out to trades and vendors to confirm the schedule. Start dates may vary based on what you saw during Estimating due to delays in deliveries, damaged items, or other curveballs that may come during project mobilization.

 

The Bottom Line

The most common amount of time spent from the start of design until build begins is 4 to 6 months. If you have a limited-scope project with no significant lead time materials, you are in the best case range of starting your project roughly 4 months after design begins. If you have a large, complex project with long lead time materials, you will fall on the better part of a year before the build will begin.

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