Construction Timeline

What to expect during Custom, Modern Home Construction

The idea of designing and building a custom home from the ground up can seem like an overwhelming process to anyone outside of the architecture & construction industries. While there are many challenges that may arise day-to-day on the job site, it is the responsibility of a contractor to see to it that your home is built on time and on budget, and it’s the role of a good architecture team to make sure it is built true to the design intent. That being said, it's always reassuring to new homeowners to understand what they can expect throughout the course of a new home build. See our step-by-step guide below that helps explain the process of how a set of architectural drawings becomes a new, modern home.


The first stage of a new home build starts by locating and staking out the position of the structure on the property, clearing out anything in the way (preserving as much natural landscape as possible), re-grading the soil and then digging to clear an area for the foundation.

Underground Utilities

This is the process of safely locating and rerouting existing underground utilities such as power, water, septic and communication. If the property does not have existing utilities, they will be run and tied into the nearest municipal connection point.

Slab & Foundation

A foundation is the load-bearing support and anchoring for a home. This could be a simple poured concrete slab. However, the homes we design in the Northeast often include a cellar level which is formed by underground concrete foundation walls.


The skeleton of the home, typically formed by wood and/or steel, is referred to as framing. This stage of construction is when the walls, floors and roof of the new, modern home will begin to take shape—which is always an exciting moment for us and our clients!

Sheathing & Weatherproof

After the bones of the home have been framed, it will then be wrapped in sheathing and weatherproofing that will close up all the walls, floors and roofing (besides the window and doors) with impervious surfaces.


HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. The rough installation, commonly called “rough-ins,” of ductwork, vents, plumbing and electrical will be installed at this phase. However, the equipment required for these systems to be completed will be installed later.

Windows & Doors

The installation of exterior windows, doors and skylights is typically referred to as fenestration. In the modern home construction process, this is one of the most visually transformative steps in defining the home’s core and shell.


Installation of electric will also coincide with HVAC rough-ins and will include running wiring through the walls and ceilings to supply power for future outlets, lighting, appliances, and utilities.


Plumbing installation coincides with HVAC rough-ins and will also include running pipes for water supply and drainage to provide hookups for kitchen, bathrooms and laundry. Furnishing and fixtures like sinks and toilets will be installed later.


Good insulation is important for the efficiency of new homes. Heating and cooling systems require less energy and costs if the conditioned air they provide is kept from escaping through walls, floors, roofs and utility lines.

Low Voltage & Security

The next step is to run wiring for low voltage systems like fire safety, security, internet, audio/video, and other technology. It’s best to design & plan for these home features early so they can be installed before the interior walls are closed up.


Drywall (AKA sheetrock or gypsum board) is the standard interior panel which encloses the HVAC, plumbing, electric, insulation and mechanicals. This phase visually defines the home’s interior and allows our clients to experience the scale of their new home.

Exterior Finishing

Exterior finishing is the process of installing surface materials to the home to protect it from the elements while also defining its aesthetic. This includes facade materials like siding, stone, wood, stucco, etc. and roofing materials like metal, slate, shingle, and more.

Stair & Rail

Depending on the home’s design, construction of a stairway and railing can range from simple installation to complex artistry. A stair and rail are often a primary visual feature in many modern homes and require complex geometry to get perfect.


Finish flooring (commonly made of natural hardwood, stone and/or tile) is a vitally important design element which will often flow throughout the majority of the home and create the visual aesthetic for much of the home’s interiors.


Kitchen installation is a complex phase of construction which involves coordinating cabinetry, countertops, appliances, fixtures and other electrical and plumbing finishes. Minute details really matter in kitchen construction to truly execute design intent.


Finalizing bathrooms includes hooking up fixtures like toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers and the installation of furnishings and accessories like vanities, mirrors, and towel bars. Depending on the design, some of these elements may need to wait until painting is completed.


We show painting as one of the last steps in the construction process, but ultimately the design dictates when painting occurs. It may be more effective to spackle, sand, prime and paint the home prior to installation of elements like finish flooring.

Fixture & Finishes

Any remaining fixtures and finishes that haven’t yet been installed are now ready to come into the house. These are often the fixed elements that are not easily moved like decorative lighting, fans, and window treatments.


Any custom-built elements like benches, bookcases, cabinets and shelving will now be installed and/or built in place.


If they haven’t been already, interior door and window hardware along with miscellaneous elements like cabinet pulls will be installed.

Punch List

Toward the end of a new home construction, the contractor, homeowner, architect, and interior designer will walk through the home and point out any final details that need to be added, fixed, or completed before the home is complete.

Certificate of Occupancy

The last thing needed before you and your family can move into your new, modern home is a document from your local municipality confirming that the construction of the home is substantially completed and the home is ready to be occupied.

Clean & Photograph

Welcome home! The construction crews will do a final cleaning of your new home and then hand over the keys. Once furniture has been delivered and the landscaping has grown in, our firm will coordinate a time to come photograph the house for our portfolio and potentially, with approval from you, to share with design publications.