The Whole Process in a Nutshell

An excerpt from PDRdesigns owner Paul Rugarber’s forthcoming book, Architecture to Construction and Everything in Between!


“Fall in love with the process, and the results will come.”
– Eric Thomas

Most clients come into my office with very little understanding of what’s going to happen in a construction project. They have never had the opportunity to learn the process, which typically causes quite a bit of anxiety. In order to alleviate this anxiety, I’ve put together a quick overview of how a project would normally unfold. Keep in mind that not every project has all of these steps; these are simply good guidelines to review to give you a broad understanding of what is involved. Whether you’re undertaking a new house or an addition, this list is designed to present you with an overview of the entire process, start to finish. Each of these parts will be broken out even further in the upcoming book for a deeper understanding.

Every great project begins with emotion. Perhaps it’s frustration over the amount of clutter in a small space. It might be concern over how friends and neighbors perceive an older house. For some, it could be a desire for more freedom. Whatever your reason for building is, these are the steps that typically need to be taken.

  1. Determine what it is you like and don’t like about your existing space, and consider what you want your project to accomplish.
  2. Hire an architect to design the project.
  3. Determine if there are site constraints to limit the type and scope of the project.
  4. Hire a surveyor and site engineer if needed.
  5. Hire a general contractor to implement the designs.
  6. The general contractor will file for building permits with the town, starting with zoning and engineering permits before progressing to building department permits.
  7. Select  the materials and finishes if this was not done in the design stage. (This is generally an ongoing process throughout construction.)
  8. Begin construction, starting with the site work and footings before moving to framing, roofing, siding, etc.
  9. Building inspections will be sprinkled throughout each of the construction phases. These will be scheduled and addressed by your general contractor.
  10. Obtain the final Certificate of Occupancy (CO).
  11. Do a walkthrough with the builder for any punch list items to be completed.
  12. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Sounds easy, right?

This gives you a quick idea of what to expect and how to get started. Obviously each step listed here consists of many smaller components, but this overview should help to put your mind at ease. All journeys begin with a single step; don’t be afraid to take yours!

Create your dreams, enjoy the process, and love the outcome!

If you are looking for more ideas, visit us at or email!

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