How to Start Building a House (Without Becoming Overwhelmed)

Dec 12, 2017 2:51:00 PM / by Normerica

The First Steps You Need to Take When Building a Custom Timber Frame Home

We know that planning to build a custom home can seem daunting, but we’re here help you understand the process, from start to finish. Here are the eight steps involved in building your dream custom timber home or cottage.

Step 1: Land for Building Your Timber Frame Home

You’re going to need a place to build your beautiful custom timber frame home or cottage.

If you need to find land, the team at Normerica may be able to help put you in touch with a realtor in your area of interest. The realtor you’re looking for should specialize in acreage properties and offer you in-depth knowledge of the building lots available in the region where you’re hoping to build.

Step 2: Timber Frame Experts Consultation

The consultation step is when your custom home builders work with you to gain an understanding of your customization needs when designing and building your timber frame home. Whether you’re envisioning a lakeside cottage, intimate cabin, or sprawling clubhouse, the layout of your building is key. Your design team should advise you on how to make the best use of your land’s natural features by ensuring that the design creates the perfect view. One of the most stunning aspects of a custom Normerica timber frame building is how we consider the surrounding environment when crafting the design and how to build your structure for optimum exposure.

It’s also a good idea to think about and plan other aspects of the property that will be important to your family at this point in the process. Your designer should be talking to you about many aspects including:

    • Will you want a detached garage?
    • Will you want to build a cabin, bunkie or boathouse?
    • Do you plan to build other structures on the property in the future?
    • What about a gazebo for outdoor entertaining?

At Normerica, we feel that the consultation phase is one of the most important and often undervalued steps in the process. This is where the expertise of your custom home designer/builder comes into play. Custom home builders with extensive experience will know the questions to ask to delve into the important areas so they can get a good sense of your needs.

At Normerica, we have a consulting process that is ever evolving with the expertise of our designers. We work closely with you in the consultation phase to ensure your dream is carried through to initial design development.

Contact us today to arrange a design consultation. A member of the Normerica team will visit your building site, discuss design options, explore building costs and post and beam construction options and review the range of shell package material choices so that you can make the best decisions when it comes to your custom timber frame home.

Step 3: Timber Frame Design Development

The design development process starts with the creation of a home design that’s customized to the needs of your family. When you work with Normerica, you have many ways to proceed:

1) Work with our design team to custom design your timber frame home - Normerica’sprofessional Architectural Design and Engineering Department will work with you or your appointed architect to develop the perfect home design for your family’s needs and budget.

2) Modify a Timber Frame Home Design Portfolio model 

You’ll have the ability to:

  • Change the dimensions of the building
  • Change the style or quantity of windows, including the addition of walkout basement windows
  • Add shed or gable dormers
  • Add entry or screened porches, sun rooms, or garages
  • Change the roof overhang, siding style, or material
  • Add interior or exterior architectural details such as heavy timber gable trusses, cupolas, or roof overhang treatments
  • Mirror the plan to suit your lot
  • Consider a walkout basement level to expand your living space

3) Select a home as-is from our Timber Frame Home Design Portfolio - Our timber frame home design portfolio comprises several specially selected home designs offered at attractive package prices with fast.

4) Work with your Normerica representative to search our Custom Home Designs Library Consult our database of hundreds of our best-of-the-best modified models or custom Normerica designs.

Step 4: Choosing your Normerica Timber Frame Shell Package

With Normerica custom home builders, just as you have the ultimate flexibility to custom design your home, we make it easy to custom design your shell package to suit your needs and budget. Choose from one of the following options or combine elements for a custom shell package:

1) The Normerica Super Insulated Shell Package

The Normerica Super Insulated Shell Package represents our very best building bundle. Prepared using the finest materials available, this package includes all the elements that make up the complete shell of your home, from the top of the foundation to the shingle-ready roof. With R42 insulation in the cathedral roof and R31 in the walls, not only is this well above building code specifications in North America, it’s also an airtight package that’s Energy Star certified and compatible with a net zero or zero ready home build!

2) The Normerica Economy Shell Package

With lower insulation in the walls and roof, the Normerica Economy Shell Package is ideal for seasonal cottages or cabins. This package includes all the elements that make up the complete shell of your home, with money-saving adjustments throughout. To find out more about our Economy Shell Package, speak to a Normerica representative.

Step 5: Quotation for your Normerica Timber Frame Shell Package

Once we’ve created a design or modified an existing design for you, we can prepare an accurate quote based on the shell package elements and customizations you’ve chosen. If you have created your own readable design sketches (dimensioned floor plans and all elevations are required) or if you have a plan that you’ve seen elsewhere, we can usually prepare a guaranteed price quotation for a Normerica Timber Frame Shell Package in five to seven business days.

In addition to package pricing, Normerica will work with you to develop a practical budget for the construction of your entire custom timber frame home.

Step 6: Ordering Your Timber Frame Home Package

Once you’ve received and approved your shell package quotation, you’ll be ready to place your order. You’ll approve a Material Package Contract, which allows the Normerica team to finalize your design details, schedule production of your timber frame kit, specify a payment schedule, and confirm a delivery date for your materials.

Normerica’s timber frame home package includes the preparation of building permit drawings. A typical permit set of drawings will have floor plans, elevations, foundation plan, numerous section and drawing details, and a structural engineer’s stamp. We will professionally produce the right level of plans to meet your permit requirements.

Step 7: Selecting Your Custom Home Builder to Construct

Your Timber Frame Home When deciding who will construct your timber frame home, the interview and selection of your builder as important as creating the right design and choosing the right materials. When working with the Normerica team, your design and construction consultant will help you with this important selection process. And as always, Normerica gives you options:

1) Use Normerica’s in-house Construction Services Department.

Depending on the location, timing and size of your project, our highly experienced consultants can provide you with a full range of construction services, from timber frame package erection to the complete construction of your entire home.

2) Choose a Normerica Authorized Builder.

If you are building in an area in which Normerica Authorized Builders operate, we can introduce you to them. Normerica Authorized Builders are experienced professionals who have successfully built many Normerica timber frame homes. Each comes with solid references.

3) Use your own builder or find a builder with our help.

If you already have a favourite builder with whom you have worked in the past, but who has never built a Normerica Timber Frame Home, that’s okay. Or, if you don’t have a preferred contractor and you’re building in an area not served by a Normerica Authorized Builder, we can help you find and qualify the right one. Any experienced custom home builder, with our assistance, can build a Normerica timber frame home. Every home we sell comes with a highly experienced Normerica technical representative who can work with your builder during the critical stages of construction to ensure that your custom timber frame home is built to our exacting standards.

Step 8: On-Site Post Beam Construction

Soon after you’ve ordered the production of your Normerica Timber Frame Shell Package, your builder will prepare the site and foundation for its arrival.

Once your material shell package arrives, the shell will be installed. This includes rough framing, timber framing, installation of exterior wall panels, roof system, windows and doors, mechanical rough-ins and installation of your insulation.

Finally, the finishing touches begin. These include installation of drywall, painting and staining, installation of flooring and decking, completion of siding and stone work, installation of plumbing and electrical fixtures and completion of millwork and countertops. Once done, you’re ready to move in!

If you want to find out more detail about how building your own custom timber frame home works, download our Timber Frame Residential Construction Guide or contact us and we can walk you through it.

Get the Construction Guide

About Normerica

Since 1979, Normerica has created the highest quality timber frame homes and buildings across North America and around the world. Our decades of timber frame experience and expert in-house design capabilities have given us the ability to offer a high level of customization and design flexibility – a key advantage of timber frame homes and post and beam construction.