Custom Home Building Tip
You’ve dreamed about this custom home for years–maybe even your whole life–and you want to follow every aspect of its construction.

When the foundation is poured you want to see it. when the walls go up you want to be there. When the windows go in you want to go inside, look out those windows and admire your new view. But what can you really do on a jobsite? What are you allowed to do when you want to visit the site of custom built homes?

Here are some guidelines you need to follow:

Schedule a Time

While it may be tempting to just drop in–we know you’re going to drive by the job site to see the progress as often as you can–you shouldn’t just drop in and expect to have a tour any time you’d like. Having owners on the property raises a lot of safety concerns and, in many cases certain activities have to be shut down so that you can visit.

If you’re stopping by to visit on the same day that they’re hanging drywall, and they only planned to hang drywall that day, then you’re throwing off their schedule for the rest of the build time.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to schedule a time to visit your custom built home. Work with the project manager who has been shepherding you through the build process and they’ll arrange a time that is good for the construction superintendent and all of the sub-contractors. That time may be after work is done for the day, or it may be during a break time. Or they may stop work so that you can have a tour. The point is that it’s scheduled so they know to expect you, they can make sure the site is safe, and the right people will be there to explain all the intricacies of the build project to you.

How Often Can I Visit My Custom Built Home Site?

Of course you’re going to want to visit as often as you can, but doing so can really disrupt schedules. While there’s no problem with driving by whenever you want, or even parking your car in front of the site, you shouldn’t expect to have a tour more than once a week (unless you have a major concern about something that you feel needs to be addressed as soon as possible.)

The point is to have good communication with your project manager so they can have good communication with the construction superintendent so they can have good communication with the subcontractors. Everything will go much more smoothly this way.

When Do I Need to Visit?

There are times when you really should visit, more than just because you want to go, but because it’s important for you to approve things and be aware of the process. These times are before the rough plumbing and electrical go in, before the drywall goes up, and the final walk-through before closing. These are important tours you shouldn’t miss. All others are mostly for your pleasure.

Respect the Workers

When you’re on the job site, remember that the workers are not only trying to do their job, but often their job requires strict attention to make sure that they’re being safe. When you walk through the site you shouldn’t interrupt a worker while they’re working.

If you want to talk to a worker, ask whoever is giving you the tour (either the project manager or the superintendent) and they’ll get the attention of the worker so you can talk to them safely. You wouldn’t want to distract someone who is using dangerous equipment, or who is standing in a potential fall zone.

(Also, as curious as you are, think about if someone came to watch over your shoulder while you worked. It might make you nervous or agitated, and you might be more prone to make mistakes.)

Remember Safety First!

Safety is the most important thing on a job site, and anytime you take a tour of your custom built home site you should get both a safety briefing but also be fully outfitted in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

This PPE should include, at minimum, a reflective vest, a hard hat, and eye protection. It may also include gloves, steel toes, and other additional equipment the superintendent deems appropriate. You should always comply with this. Not only is it the smart and responsible thing to do, but it’s the law.

If you entered a job site without the proper PPE and nothing ever happened to you, the construction company could still get a hefty fine from OSHA. And if you did get hurt without that equipment, lawsuits would fly. Don’t think that just because it’s your custom home that you get free run of the place and that you get to make the rules. You have to follow the law and the safety guidelines.

Dress Appropriately

Just like you should wear PPE, you also shouldn’t come to the job site unless you are dressed properly for it. The following are things you should always do:

  • Wear closed-toe shoes. While the PPE might not include steel toes, you definitely want to make sure that your feet are protected from large splinters and nails. Closed toed shoes are a must. (Also, no high-heels, flip-flops, or thin-soled shoes.)
  • Expect to get dirty. It’s a job site, so don’t come straight from the office in your shirt and tie and not expect to get dusty or greasy. Superintendents like to keep things clean at the end of the day, but you have no idea what job they’re up to on a given day; it’s not uncommon to encounter sawdust, drywall dust, mud, paint, plaster, and more.
  • Bring a flashlight. Even if you’re coming in the middle of the night you may want to get a good look at something in an unlit basement, or something in the wall cavities. Don’t expect the superintendent to be prepared for every little curiosity you might have on the tour. (Also in this category: you might want a measuring tape.)

Can I Bring Family and Kids?

First, when you make the appointment for the tour with your project manager, tell them how many people to expect. Don’t plan on bringing a group of more than three or four (including you). The reason for this is that whoever is taking you on the tour (usually the superintendent) has the responsibility to make sure that while you’re on their job site you’re all safe.

If one of you is in the basement and another climbs up to the third story, that makes the superintendent very anxious. Limit this anxiety by only bringing a few people and always sticking in sight of each other.

It’s not recommended to bring your children. There are any number of hazards on a site that you want to protect your children from, including nails and screws, but also decks and stairs without railings, dangerous construction equipment, and more. As a rule of thumb, don’t bring anyone too young to have a driver’s licence.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Pictures

Bring a camera (or use your phone) and take all the pictures that you want. This not only will be something that you can keep to chronicle the construction of your house, as well as show off to friends, but it also can give you important information. If you photograph certain rooms in your home, you’ll be able to make plans about where you’ll place furniture, rugs, or hang pictures. And by having the pictures, you can make all these plans without having to increase the number of job site tours that you’re asking for.

It’s also useful to take pictures periodically during the building project for future reference. For example, it may be useful to photograph the walls before the drywall goes up so you know just where all the wiring and plumbing is.

And, if you have a concern about something, take a picture of it and you can return to the project manager to discuss it.

Follow the Rules and Enjoy the Build!

Ultimately, the best idea is to just follow the rules of the job site and make sure that you enjoy the process of building your own custom home in Bluffton SC. You’ll likely only ever do this once, so take the time to enjoy it and make sure that you’re safe and happy all the way until you get the keys in your hand.

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