Guide to Home Building in Houston with a Premier Builder

07:58 May 2023
Home Building in Houston

Building a home is an exhilarating time in anyone’s life. In most cases, home building will likely be a once in a lifetime event for most people.

If this is your first time creating a custom house design or for experience in the custom home building process, the journey is a unique experience that will be both emotionally challenging and rewarding.

Aligning your expectations with what to expect during the home building and house designing process is essential to mitigate the unneeded emotional roller coaster ride.

That is why you want to surround yourself with a trusted and knowledgeable premier builder in Houston to guide you through the steps for home building in Houston.

Learn About the Steps the Builder Takes with the Owner for Home Building in Houston

The home building process begins with the selection of the home site. Finding the ideal piece of land for building a house normally takes some time.

Select a Home Site

Before purchasing the house lot, read the deed restrictions. They often contain house construction restrictions that can directly affect the construction of the house you wish to build.

Keep in mind that the building lot will dictate the general shape, height, and positioning of the house on the lot.

Study the lot survey for existing tree locations, set back lines, and how the structures will lay out on the site.

Selecting the lot early in the design process will also help with determining the lot preparation cost of improvements to the site like fill dirt, drainage structures, driveways, and fences.

With the lot purchased and deed restrictions in hand, it’s time to hire a premier builder and house designer.

At this point of your journey, you need to determine which of the 2 common delivery methods for the design and construction of your house.

The first method is the conventional process of hiring an architect to prepare plans and having a small vetted group of house builders bid on the project. This approach is called the design to bid delivery method.

The second method is when you hire the premier builder to design the house plans that you intend on building. This is called the design to build approach.

The selection of a qualified house designer and a premier builder does not need to be independently exclusive searches.

By choosing the design to build method will include both house design and home building.

Home Building in Houston

Design Build Approach

As mentioned, the design build approach is a process of the owner hiring the design build contractor to orchestrate building a house and designing the house.

The design build contractor will facilitate the design, engineering, and the schedule of values for the house designed.

The design build contractor is the single point of contact and the responsible party to the owner through the entire new house construction process.

This approach has a number of advantages to the owner over the conventional design to bid approach.

To learn more about the design build approach to home building click here

  • This approach is a faster overall process from design to construction completion,
  • Single point of contact and responsibility through the entire process,
  • Allows the owner to remain in control through the entire process,
  • Reduces the owner’s risk of architectural errors and omissions,

Design to Bid Approach

Having an architect prepare your building documents for soliciting premier builders bids is a commonly accepted practice.

Although this process can take several additional months more than the design build approach, the owners can hire the architect as a construction consultant through the home building process.

Although this approach has a natural tendency to pit your architect and premier builder against each other, rather than approaching this as a team.

If there are errors or omissions in the architect’s custom house plans, the premier builder will require change orders to correct them.

The owner also tends to get caught in the middle of interpretation disputes if the construction documents are not clear.

Developing Home Plans

As with any home building process designing a house, begins with collecting inspiration ideas to communicate with the custom house designer. These design ideas are required for the house designer to understand the owner’s vision.

Your house designer wants to know design features such as the architectural style, number of bedrooms, and bathrooms.

Other relevant early house design features are items such as ceiling heights, living area and kitchen location, and master bath location.

Once your custom home designer blocks out the general floor plan, the owner can provide guidance on room sizes, you can discuss door and window locations.

The actual house plan design process is usually 3 distinctive phases, preliminary design, design development, and construction documents.

  • Preliminary Design – This phase includes the predesign meetings through the concept creation. This design phase’s goals are creating a working floor plan and 4 profile elevations. House plans should have completed dimensions and be drawn to scale.
  • Design Development – This phase continues the detailed development of wall sections, kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, fireplaces, build casework, and special architectural features such as ceiling, millwork trim stairways.
  • Construction Documents – During this phase the home plans have been accepted by the owners, and the house designer submits these plans to the structural engineer and MEP engineers for the design plan details for foundation, framing, HVAC, plumbing, and electric.

At the completion of the design development of the house plans, the premier builder will prepare a schedule of values for the construction cost.

Provided the owner approves the construction cost, the builder and owner will move to a contract agreement. If the construction cost needs to be adjusted, the owner and house builder will conduct some value engineering.

Once a contract has been executed, the plans will be submitted for engineering and the owners and custom builder will continue selecting the owner’s decorative home products, like exterior materials and colors, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, flooring, and any other items over the course of the building of a house.

If you need additional details about the house plan development process, please visit building design.  

Selecting a Premier Builder

Most owners will select two or three home builders to discuss their home building project and to vet the builders.

Determining which of the select house builders to interview is often the trick. The owner should begin by deciding which of the delivery methods best fits their needs.

If you are interested in the design build approach, you should make a short list of modern home builders to interview.

If you are more interested in directly hiring an architect, you should also make a short list of architects.

Researching custom house builders and architect websites is a good place to start your search.

This allows you to conduct your research according to your schedule and the time to research the professionals that catch your attention.

Looking at their online portfolios and reading about their work process can quickly eliminate many of the professionals you are considering.

Once you have your short list of professionals it is a good idea to prepare a list of questions that are important to you.

We have provided the following questions as examples of subjects you may want to discuss; please click here.

Home Building

Cost of Home Building

The actual cost of building a home depends on the complexity of the design and the selection of finished products chosen for installation.

So generally speaking, the design process begins with an investment budget that the designer targets their design efforts towards.

When the builder is available during the design process, your premier builder becomes an instrumental advantage to assist the designer to maintain these project cost standards in their design efforts.

When the owner has selected the design to bid approach, the selected group of builders prepares a formal proposal from the construction documents.

The cost of building a house is dependent on the features of the architectural design. Does the house have high ceilings, a large portion of under roof square footage to living square footage, and of course the finishes?

The flooring selection, casework, and windows also represent a large portion of the cost of construction.

The cost of home building usually starts at $125/sf for what is known as a builder’s grade finish package and the $250/sf range for custom house designs, but these are budgetary guidelines for setting design investment budgets.

Working with a Modern Home Builder

Once you have selected a modern home builder to work with, communicate your expectations and openly discuss how you will work together.

You are likely to be spending upwards of 18 – 24 months together, getting a working understanding of the best effective methods of communicating and what to expect about progress meetings will go a long way in avoiding dust ups.

Your modern home builder should understand that home building is an emotional process for the owner and make the required effort to over-communicate when there is a possibility of doubt.

On the other hand, your custom home builder should be professional and deserves respect for their advice and directions throughout the process.

You can expect that something will go wrong during the design and building process. In most situations, your premier builder will address the issue and work to amicable resolve the matter.

If you like your house builder and trust him to have your best interest at stake, work with him and make your home building experience a fun and special journey. 


Home building is a meticulous and detailed process that has to be navigated with the best custom house builder that fits your needs.

From creating house plans to the timely completion of a quality house, understanding the process and risk of building a home is essential to meeting your goals.

Your Houston home builders will provide you with guidance and advice for navigating building a home and preparing your design plans.

For a detailed and deep dive into the house builders and building a home we direct you to please click here.

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