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Plan to Build in 2018? Start Now.

Posted on Jul 20, 2017

The clock is ticking. If you want to start building your timber frame home in 2018, now is the time to start your custom home design.

Riverbend recommends you start the design process about a year ahead of your desired construction start date. Some locations have a construction season limited by weather. If this applies to you, you will need to start your home’s construction by summer next year. This allows enough time to construct your home to a point where it can be protected from wet weather.

So, why does it take so long to get from design to construction? There are several factors that can affect how long your project is in the design and pre-construction phases. Major delays during these phases can delay your ground breaking.

Custom Design

First, it takes several months to design a custom home. Even small changes to a conceptual floor plan take time. In addition, each home’s layout needs to be customized to fit the unique topography of its location. You can expect to see your home’s design about six weeks after your initial design meeting. Each round of revisions after the initial design can add several more weeks to the process. Add a few more weeks to your timeline if your property belongs to a Home Owners’ Association that reviews designs. Those who start the design process now can expect to have their custom home plans finalized before the end of the year if they do not have major revisions.


In pre-construction, detailed construction drawings are completed for you home. These drawings are extremely important for securing a builder. If you already have a contractor selected for your home, they will use the drawings to estimate how much it will cost to build your home. If you do not have a builder, you can use the construction drawings to solicit bids and select a qualified builder to construct your home.

Once the construction drawings are completed, they are also sent to an engineer for review. An engineer, local to your build site, ensures structural stability and that the home will meet local building codes. While this process takes several weeks, any change to the design during this phase must be drawn into the construction documents and reviewed by the engineer again. This process exponentially extends the time it takes to get stamped drawings.

The permitting process is another part of the pre-construction phase that can push your construction start date back. The amount of time it takes to pull permits for your home depends on your location. In some municipalities, it can take just a few days. However, if you plan to build in an area where construction is booming, it can take a month or two to get the approval you need to break ground.


Shopping for, and securing, financing is a lengthy process. Construction loans can be confusing and meeting qualifications for loans can be tedious. Getting your financing in line as early as possible eliminates roadblocks for beginning construction when you are ready.

Starting Now

If you have land and plan on breaking ground on your custom timber home in 2018, it is time to start your design. Beginning the design process puts your dream of living in a timber frame home front and center. It also allows you to mitigate road blocks that may prevent you from breaking ground on your selected date.

At Riverbend, starting the design process means signing a Design Development Agreement (DDA). This commits you to the design process – nothing more. A Riverbend Client Representative will visit your site for a pre-design meeting. The information collected is used for your initial design meeting. At this meeting, your Client Representative and a Riverbend degreed architect take the lead and work to create the ideal timber home design for you. Once your design is complete, you have accomplished a major step toward starting construction and can address the potential stumbling blocks in pre-construction and financing.

Contact Riverbend today to begin discussing the design of your home with a client representative, and learn more about Riverbend’s Design Development Agreement.

Need More Information?

Whether you’re looking for more information or would simply like to learn more about us and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Please follow the link below to access our online form or call us at 888.486.2363 in the US or 888.999.4744 in Canada. We look forward to hearing from you.

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