Deep Dive Into Our Process

The first steps toward a successful relationship are getting to know one another and the opportunity for the BuildSense team to learn about your dreams and plans. Twenty-one years of successful design + build collaboration helped us develop strategies to guide you through this exciting, complex, and rewarding process. Although every project is unique, there are some common themes. We'd like to offer a roadmap for this journey.

Introductions - Getting to Know You

Our first conversation will help us understand where you are on this journey. You may have found the building site for your new home or you may be wondering about transforming your existing home. You may be working with a Designer. Perhaps you have started discussions with banks to understand financing options. You may have a list of your top priorities. Wherever you are in this process, we can provide expertise and advice on how to achieve your plans and goals and help align your vision and scope of work with your budget and schedule.

Trees and lake view

Property Research – Ordinances, Covenants, and Regulations

If you decide to work with BuildSense, we’ll begin by investigating site opportunities and parameters. Opportunities include views, solar access, topography, existing landscape, and site features. Parameters include deeded covenants, zoning (building type and size and building setbacks, for example), overlay districts (historic districts, for example), availability of utilities (city water and sewer, for example), and environmental limitations (riparian buffers or impervious surface limitations, for example).

You may have discovered an undeveloped property and are interested in celebrating and preserving its wild beauty. Your vision may include a manicured landscape and a pool. Your plans may revolve around low maintenance and durability. With a clear understanding of your vision and the unique conditions of your site, your team develops creative solutions that capitalizes on the opportunities to deliver the project that you envision.


Architectural building rendering

Schematic Design – Ideation

You may have young children and your vision is focused on creating a healthy and comfortable place for your family. You may be planning retirement and looking for universal design. You may be a gourmet cook and focused on entertaining and family gatherings. You may work from home. You may have an incredible collection of outsider art or a collection of antique motorcycles. In response to your vision, whatever it may be, your design team produces a series of initial floor plans and guides you through an exploration of building forms and site relationships. You can explore the relationships between interior rooms, exterior spaces, furniture, art, landscape, views, and the path of the sun.

Schematic design starts with exploring numerous options and closes with a scheme that you love. Once we arrive at this scheme and understand the character and location of spaces, the building form, and site location and orientation, we’ll pause and analyze the design to develop a more detailed budget. This budget is a checkpoint: are we good to move forward or do we need to modify the design to meet budget and schedule parameters?

Are you working with an Architect or Designer? Would you like to have informed pricing information?  We are happy to partner with you early in the process to provide builder feedback and estimate building costs based on drawing sets from your architect or designer. 

samples of interior design choices

Design Development – Selections and Details

As the design takes shape, there is more exciting work to do and decisions to be made. You may have a preferred appliance brand, you may need expert cabinetry advice, or you may be interested in exploring flooring options for durability for your four-legged family members. We’ll help you navigate the world of materials, finishes, fixtures, and systems. Our Selections Coordinator will provide structure to prioritize, manage, and track the many decisions in the custom house design process.

We'll continue to refine the budget and provide feedback to further inform the design. We also identify materials or manufacturing processes with long lead times that require early ordering to meet scheduling requirements.

blueprint of building

Construction Documents - Drawings and Specifications

On the home stretch to the construction start, your team will collaborate with designers and engineers (landscape, structural, acoustical, etc.), trade partners, vendors, and building and planning authorities. Your team creates details and integrates your selections in to the construction documents. We finalize mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and structural systems for comfort, convenience, and efficiency. The result is thoughtful construction documents that describe your vision.

This collaborative effort results in final construction documents that includes drawings and specifications. Your drawings show where items will be located and their size and the written specifications describe what each item is as well as the required standards for fabrication, assembly, and installation. For example, the drawings would show the location and size of the metal roof; the specifications show the type, color, gauge, and profile. This detailed set of construction documents is the base for our team and our trade partners to provide accurate pricing.

We'll work with you to confirm that the construction documents meet your expectations and accurately reflects your vision. With the final set stamped and ready to go, we can concurrently work on zoning and building permit applications, final pricing, building agreement preparation, and the final construction schedule. With a building agreement in place, lenders will review and approve construction financing if it is required for your project.

example timeline of home building process

Schedule – Aggressive but Realistic

Prior to starting construction, we develop a detailed schedule listing each phase of work and when it will take place. Based on product availability, fabrication times, expected trade partner and direct labor schedules, and best practice construction sequence, we write, update, and share a project schedule to ensure that all project stakeholders understand the project goals and milestones. If you don’t know where you are going and when, you’ll probably never get there!

Our thorough planning process allows us to hit the ground running at the start of construction – and then proactively and consistently move forward to complete the project so that you can move into your delightful high-performance home.

Are you planning a major home renovation and addition?  Depending on the scope and breadth of your project, it may make sense for you to live in a temporary home during construction. Our construction schedule can help you plan for this temporary space.

home under construction

Construction Administration – Quality Control and Communication

Our commitment to an on-time project means that we are regularly reviewing the work occurring on the job site and discussing with our trade partners to make sure that all systems are coordinated.  In addition to providing daily supervision at your project, our team will meet with you regularly to review any concealed conditions that may have been discovered, the upcoming schedule, and discuss outstanding decisions that need to be made.

With over 20 years of construction experience, we've learned that regular communication keeps all team members on the same page moving forward.  There are many moving pieces during construction and it is important to us that our clients value and understand each step of the process.

exterior of modern home at night

Inspections and Certifications - We Have Our Homework Graded

We certify every new home that we build to the National Green Building Standard and ENERGY STAR. We use the National Green Building Standard because it is the most comprehensive and sensible residential certification available. We partner with third-party verifiers who visit our job site to confirm that we met or exceeded the project goals and standards. This broad certification takes into account lot development, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and homeowner operation and maintenance.

Are you ready to brag to your friends about your low energy bills?

Project Closeout and Warranty

Once your dream home is complete, we organize orientations so that you have the information to properly use all the systems in your home. We create a detailed Homeowner's Manual with handy information, resources, and references.

Our team is committed to review and resolve any warranty items that may arise. We are committed to being your design+build partner.