Building a home is a big job, and there are a lot of moving pieces and a lot of people involved, from start to finish. It may be confusing when you’re talking to so many people as to who is actually in charge of what: who do you go to with concerns, and who has the ultimate say in things.
We’re going to take a deep look into all of the major players that are involved in the construction of a custom home in Bluffton, SC, but ultimately, when you’re building a custom home, the final say comes down to you! You’re in charge. We’re just here to help answer your questions and to get the work done. But you’re the boss.
Who Is Involved with Building My Custom Home?
There are many people involved with building a custom home, even more than are involved in building a standard tract home. This is because so much more goes into building a custom home than into a cookie-cutter home.
With a custom plan you’re not using old generic blueprints from a design that has been built over and over. You’re doing things your way, the way you want them built. So more people get involved. Below are the major players:
This may or may not apply to your custom home. With many custom homes, they’re being built in large developments, and in that case there is a developer who runs the entire area. A real estate developer is someone who looks for land that homes could be built upon, purchases that land (usually a very large amount of land) and then will work with urban planners to carve the land up into lots, green space, schools, and commercial areas.
If your custom home is being built in a development, the developer will prepare the site for building. In many cases this means a lot of government paperwork for things like getting the proper zoning permits and other governmental approvals. The developer will also do things like grade the land, put in roads and infrastructure (like water and sewer and utilities).
Once all of that work is done, the developer begins to sell off individual lots, and that’s where you come in. Buying one of these lots is the first step into building a custom home.
That said, not all lots are part of developments. If you’re building in a new area outside of town where there aren’t a lot of houses, you might need to worry about things like utilities and roads as part of the home building process. It just depends on where you buy your lot.
Like we said, building a custom home is different from building a cookie-cutter home. With large home builders, they’ll often have a few dozen models of homes that come with a limited number of options. These homes will have been pre-designed by architects and approved by structural engineers, and there’s no need to bring an architect into the process of building one of these homes.
This is not the case with a custom home. While you may have a particular floorplan you want to start from (or maybe not) the architect is going to translate whatever design plans you have into full blueprints ready for construction.
The architect is there to help you figure out the big picture: where you want the vaulted ceilings and do you want to stretch the family room five more feet to the east. They’ll worry about the building codes when you decide where you want to put stairs and windows and utility rooms.
If your home is at all custom, with options that have never been done in one of our many designs, then that is where the architect comes in: to make sure it is structurally sound. (The architect will work hand-in-hand with a structural engineer on these plans, though you won’t have much interaction with the engineer, typically.)
The Project Manager
The project manager is your primary point of contact, and the person who will shepherd you through the entire process of building a custom home in Bluffton, SC. The project manager works with everyone from the architect to the designers to the contractors, all so that you have a single point of contact for making decisions.
If you have any question about the process, any suggestion, any worry, it should all go through the project manager. They’re like your customer service representative and are there to not only run the entire project but to make sure that they’re getting full input and approval from you.
When you ask “who is in charge of building your custom home” the answer, for all intents and purposes, is the project manager.
The Design Consultant
The design consultant is the person who helps you through making all the design decisions. While you talk to the architect when you say you want a tall stone fireplace in the living room, you’ll talk to the design consultant to figure out what kind of stone you want to use for the chimney and the hearth, and what material you want to use for the mantle.
The design consultant will walk you through types of carpet, colors of tile, swatches of paint, and types of light fixtures. In the course of building your custom home, you’ll probably want to talk to the design consultant a lot–they’ll have a lot of ideas, but more importantly they’ll know how to incorporate your ideas so that your Bluffton custom home is the best you could have dreamed of.
The superintendent is the head of construction on the job site. This includes everything from overseeing the contractors to ordering materials to scheduling every step in the process. When it comes to who is actually in charge of the people swinging hammers, it’s the superintendent.
Typically, if you stop by the job site during construction it’ll be the superintendent who you talk to, but if you have design changes–if you want a window moved or closet widened–you don’t talk to the superintendent, even if the project is underway. In that case you’d talk to the project manager, who would talk to the architects and design consultant, and then they’d talk to the superintendent.
The superintendent is in charge of the people with their boots on the ground, but you won’t interact with them very much.
Contractors are individuals and small companies who work on special projects. While there is a general contractor who is in charge of all the sub-contractors (the general contractor is often the same person as the superintendent), the sub-contractors typically are not employed by the builder–they’re hired on for a job.
For example, the builder won’t own their own cement trucks for pouring the foundation, so they’ll hire a subcontractor who pours foundations to do that work. The same is often true of painters or window installers or plumbers (and any other number of sub-specialty).
Wrangling all of the sub-contractors to work on the right schedule and to get their jobs done accurately and on time is one of the main jobs of the superintendent (or general contractor).
Who is Ultimately in Charge of Building My Custom Home?
So with all of that said, who is ultimately in charge of building your custom home?
The answer is:
The Project Manager and You!
That’s right: you are the most important person when it comes to building a custom home, because you make all of the final decisions. These decisions may be made in consultation with any number of people for any number of reasons (is this too expensive? Is this the right style? Is this big enough?) but ultimately you get to make those decisions.
And when you make those decisions, the person who you will interact with the most will be the project manager. They will be with you every step of the way, from the day you decide to buy to the day you get the keys in your hand. They’ll be your primary point of contact, and they’ll be the ones responsible from turning your dream of a custom home into a reality.
Are you ready to build a custom home in Bluffton, SC?