What it really takes to be a home builder

By Karen Nakamura Posted in: BIARemodel

Today’s new homes reflect changing market preferences and integrate elaborate designs and consumer desires into the floor plans and construction of the homes. Successful home builders have the knowledge, organizational skills and drive to build them. But what does it really take?

Like a CEO, a home builder relies on a number of workers to get the job done right. A home builder guides dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, electricians, painters and landscapers. The builder must understand all of the home’s complex systems and know enough about each trade in order to coordinate this skilled team.

Some home builders develop the land on which the homes are built. They look at a piece of land to determine whether it complies with zoning regulations, local planning laws and environmental restrictions and whether it is suitable for development. Once a builder determines that a site is suitable for construction, they must navigate the permitting process.

Home builders serve as liaisons with their communities and local government officials. They research and study local building codes to determine what can be built in a given location. In most localities, building codes govern building, plumbing, fire safety and more. The builder collects all the required permits from various authorities before proceeding.

Once the permits are obtained, the builder will prepare the site and select how the home will be situated on it. The home builder then oversees the entire construction process, including laying the foundation; erecting the framing, roofing and siding; building the walls; and installing the plumbing, heating and electrical work.

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A home builder acts as an inspector. The local building department will inspect the construction site for code violations throughout the home’s construction; a professional home builder will make certain the home meets both code and warranty guidelines long before and after the officials show up. Once the house is finished, the builder informs the appropriate municipal departments that it is ready for final inspection and approval that the home is safe for its new owners to move in.

Professional home builders act as public relations professionals so customers are happy. The builder will discuss the construction process and building schedule with the buyer and plan times when the buyer can tour the building site and ask questions about the status of their new home.

Home builders are also businesspeople who establish a network of reliable and quality materials suppliers and trade contractors with whom they conduct business on a regular basis.

Home builders are schedulers and record keepers. They must think on their feet, keep complex construction timelines and tackle multiple tasks simultaneously.

All in all, home builders must wear many, many hats in order to deliver a home where the new owners can hang their own hats, raise a family and create lifelong memories.

To learn more about the home building process or to find a home builder in Hawaii, contact BIA-Hawaii: info@biahawaii.org.

Karen Nakamura is CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.