Before the Build: Prep and Planning for Success

Before the Build Prep and Planning for Success

The success of any build rests on the preparation and planning that comes long before the ground is lifted. This is where attention to detail takes on a whole new level of meaning. As the homeowner, you may not realize all the boxes that need to be checked. A strong design-build team should guide you through each detail of the pre-construction phase and the decisions that go along with it. Your team should be working to anticipate obstacles, devise a way around or through them, and communicate with you to set expectations and timelines. The better the planning and preparation, the better the outcome.

How can a client prepare for new home construction?

Determine wants vs. needs

If you are preparing for new home construction, know your needs vs. wants. It’s a great idea to understand the items that are a must and those that you can live without. Let family members weigh in and participate in prioritizing a master list. Be as detailed as possible and consider your lifestyle. Below are some areas of residential build decisions to get you started:

  • Style of home
  • Number of floors
  • Number of bedrooms and placement of bedrooms
  • Closets/Storage space
  • Basement for storage or an additional living space
  • Open concept vs closed concept living and dining areas
  • Outdoor living options (back deck/front porch/pool)
  • Kitchen Style
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Master bath must-haves

There may be that moment when you must make some tough choices based on building codes or other factors like time constraints, budget, or lot size. Because so many factors come into play with new construction, it’s good to have a secure grasp of what you need and where you can compromise.

Know your budget

Knowing how much you are willing to spend on this endeavor, eliminates a good deal of back and forth with your design-build team. With a cost range in mind, look to hire professionals known for their ability to provide a comprehensive estimate upfront. This way, you avoid scope creep where your build trickles into an area of cost you weren’t expecting to go. Based on experience, great estimators can see potential risks or obstacles and give you a price that aligns with your budget.

Determine a schedule

Construction industry flow was disrupted by the pandemic. Although we are still seeing its ripple effects, you should come up with a schedule for when you would like to be moved into your new home. Be sure to add extra time to accommodate potential delays. This is the best reason for conducting your pre-construction research way in advance. Some project extenders can include the time to obtain permits, work shortages, and difficult weather conditions. Once you find the right team to work with, your schedule will be adjusted, but at least your builders will start with your desired timeline and can go from there.

Choose the best builder for your project

Finding the right fit for your build can take time and be a challenge. First, work your way through decisions like whether should you hire an architect and a general contractor (design-bid-build) or a singular point-of-contact, a design-builder. Learn more about which approach works best for you. When you’ve narrowed that down, be sure to get multiple estimates and, of course, review their work.

How does a design-builder prepare for a build?

Preparing an estimate for new home construction

At DeSimone, we pride ourselves on the fact that our estimates run very close to the final cost of your build. We have a great deal of experience in estimation and a fantastic relationship with our partners which helps us streamline this process. Proper planning and management of expenses allow us to identify potential obstacles which could lead to cost overrun. We work very hard to determine upfront costs and eliminate unwanted surprises at construction completion.

Creating a detailed Scope of Work for your build

When a potential client agrees to move forward with DeSimone, we create a Scope of Work that encompasses all aspects of the build. The document could be in excess of 100 pages and serves as the guide for our clients, leadership team, project manager, project supervisor, designers, engineers, architects, and all the teams involved in the build.

Inside the Scope of Work, task codes are listed. Each task code represents a section of the project and is assigned a price event. For example, roofing/gutters would be a task code. All the details (materials, resources, trades, labor, etc.) for roofing/gutters would go under that task code and the price would be listed. A total is calculated at the end of the task code. Prices are listed for every task code and a total project cost is calculated at the end. If a task code changes it is reflected in an updated version of the Scope of Work. With these details firmed up, the process of securing permits and entitlements begins as we get another step closer to breaking ground.

Designating a new home construction Project Manager

The DeSimone leadership team is always present and often as excited about your build as you are. To facilitate the build process, we assign a project manager – your go-to contact who will listen and relay your concerns. The project manager regularly updates you on job progress and is also responsible for making any necessary changes to the Scope of Work and alerting all involved parties.

Continuous communication and contingency plans

There is a constant flow of communication in the process of a residential build. Because we contend with weather and other factors outside of our control (such as material shortages and permit delays), we need contingency plans in place. These occasional instances that come with new construction may require that we pivot or adjust the Scope of Work. When this happens, we communicate with you and the assigned teams, keeping everyone on the same page. The hope is that a problem never arises, but with so many moving parts and outside forces, a dilemma-free build is a rare occurrence. That said, our extensive experience and proactive approach keep us ahead of obstacles with solutions that meet our clients’ expectations.

Custom Residential Interior Design teams provide next-level assistance

New construction homeowners can often be overwhelmed with the number of design decisions they have to make. This is where an exceptional custom residential design team steps in and makes the process less stressful. Based on extensive discussions we get a strong sense of our clients’ style and can tailor-fit an architect and design team to their project. This team provides its expertise to support the homeowner’s vision and taste. Updated technology brings the team’s efforts together with close-to-real-life renderings that allow the client to take a sneak peek at their future home and assist them in making additional design choices.


Detailed pre-construction plans help control costs and timelines and mitigate potential setbacks. The attention to detail that goes into the planning and preparation process, sets up your build for a successful outcome. New home construction is a big endeavor but, with the right team, you can reach each milestone with a minimum of stress and enjoy the journey that will result in the place you call home.