Linwood Custom Homes - Custom home packages including house plans

Award winning Custom Home Packages including house plans with site specific design.

All Weather Windows

Canada's largest privately owned window and door manufacturer

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada's national housing agency. CMHC is Canada's premier provider of mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research

Energy Star

Save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products

James Hardie

World leader in fiber cement siding and backerboard

Jeldwen Windows & Doors (US)

Reliable wood, vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors

Western Archrib

A leader in the design, manufacture, and custom fabrication of glued-laminated structural wood systems.

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Building It Right

Getting the best result

in building a custom home requires attention-to-detail and a good understanding of the construction process. There are many tasks to be completed which require skilled people to manage them.

The objective for most people who build a new home is to get a valuable return on the investment and a home that fits their lifestyle needs. Value is created when your finished home is worth more to you than the cost of construction.

  • Planning Your Project
  • Preparing a Construction Budget
  • Timing Your Build
  • Sourcing and Delivering Materials
  • Home Building Tips

Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts to achieving a successful result when building your home. It takes expertise, good planning and proper management to build your home right.


Planning Your Project

Building in any remote location has its special challenges. This is particularly true of Thunder Bay. All materials need to be brought a long distance to the building site. Proper planning is absolutely essential to keep costs under control. Making changes once construction has started becomes expensive and time consuming. It can also result in major delays if additional material needs to be manufactured, sourced and shipped.

Design and structural changes require expertise from professionals who have a good understanding of the specific project. Thunder Bay Home Builders has relationships with these kinds of experts and can get them to do the work required on a timely basis.

It is vital to prepare an accurate budget, which includes realistic estimates, which reflect the scope of work to be done. Thunder Bay Home Builders can help you determine what is involved in your specific project. We can also help you make good decisions so you can get a successful outcome.

Preparing a Construction Budget

Thunder Bay Home Builders can help you produce meaningful budget estimates based on realistic numbers and assumptions in a short period of time. We use project estimating software developed specifically for the custom home industry. This provides more cost certainty for homeowners, builders and financial institutions, which is a major concern for everyone.

This systematic approach ensures that all the materials and labor required to complete your project are considered when preparing your budget. The cost of completing your home will depend on the size, location and complexity of the project. This means you need to look at all the variables, including site conditions, the type of design, features and the quality of finishing products you want in your home.

Estimates from Thunder Bay Home Builders are complete and professionally prepared. They can be used to provide a true comparative when evaluating competitive quotes. Accepting construction quotes that are incomplete or not based on project specific information can get you in a situation where you may face serious budget overruns.


Timing Your Project

To determine the realistic time required to complete your project and occupy your home, you need to understand what is involved in the construction process. It usually takes about six months to build a relatively uncomplicated home from concept to completion. It can often take a year or more to build a custom home. The time taken will depend on:

Activity From (wks) Up to (wks)
Concept Design, Blueprints and Material Purchasing 8 12
Permitting / Approvals 2 20
Construction / Inspections 15 38
Projected time to occupancy 25 70

Weather conditions also affect the building window. The Thunder Bay region has a relatively high snowfall, which leaves a limited time period for building a custom home. Foundations cannot be poured until the frost has left the ground.

This means that is best to make sure that permits are in place as early as possible to allow foundations to be poured between April and October. Once foundations are in place, actual construction can happen anytime.

You also need to make sure you choose a design that is appropriate for the area and considers structural issues. For example, roof support structures will have to be engineered to meet requirements for snow loading. Meeting local energy efficiency requirements will also be a key consideration for design and material selection.

Thunder Bay Home Builders can help you deal with weather related issues so that you can begin your project at the optimal time.


Sourcing and Delivering Materials

Thunder Bay Home Builders primarily works within a one hour drive from Thunder Bay. We also serve the surrounding area and have familiarity with the challenges of the more isolated locations in the area.

The area around Thunder Bay consists of a number of small population centers that are largely rural in nature. The nearest large town is Thunder Bay but even there it is hard to source many of the high quality products needed to build an exceptional custom home.

For this reason Thunder Bay Home Builders has established a preferred relationship with a national supplier to make sure that the right building materials are available on a timely basis. The organization has the ability to economically supply a wide range of high quality materials that cannot be sourced on a local basis. We also have good relationships with local suppliers to give you the best possible pricing on building products.


Home Building Tips

Building a custom home successfully requires attention-to-detail and a working knowledge of the construction process. There are many tasks to be performed and this requires a combination of good management and skilled people.

Homes have become more complex over the years and building code requirements more stringent. As a result, more construction expertise is required. This is why most homeowners agree that it is safer to hire building professionals to complete their projects. In some cases, banks will require a proven general contractor.

Any construction project is a major undertaking in terms of both time and money. The objective is to get a valuable return on your investment and a home that fits your lifestyle needs. Value is created when your finished home is worth more to you than the cost of building it. This is best achieved by good up-front planning and then making the right purchasing and hiring decisions.

Getting ready to build

The building process starts with selecting the right design and combination of materials. Once these key decisions are made, you can start to plan your project in detail. It takes time to get ready for actual construction, as a number of issues need to be addressed before work can start.

There are many design possibilities and thousands of building components with different performance characteristics to choose from. To get the best result, it is important to choose someone early on in the process who is a design and building material specialist. This enables you to develop a site specific design that can actually be built on your property.

Hiring the Right People

Someone needs to act as the general contractor and be in charge of the entire building process. Some homeowners act as their own general contractor and hire builders and trades directly. Others hire a general contractor to look after the project.

You should select a builder who is qualified for your type of project and is available to meet your time frame. Getting someone who can find, manage and schedule the right people is also important. You can only prepare an accurate budget by obtaining construction quotes that are based on rates that apply at the time of construction. Evaluation should also be based on the expertise offered and the ability to finish the project. Selecting a builder based only on the lowest hourly rate is never the best choice.

Contractors who are not properly insured automatically transfer the risk of injury and damage-related lawsuits to the homeowner. A contractor's business liability insurance can protect you if your home is damaged by the contractor or his employees, or if he causes damage or injury to third parties.

Having a meaningful written contract with your builder is essential. The key elements are scope of work, procedures for changes, payment terms and provisions for sign-off at the time of completion. The construction contract should also address responsibility for work-related injuries, damages to third parties and property damage (builder's risk insurance).

Getting building permits

Home building is a highly regulated process. Building permits are required before construction can begin. The time it takes to get permits is dependent on:

  • Availability of finalized blueprints
  • Compliance with local building regulations
  • Processing time by the planning department
  • Seasonal planning department work loads

Apply for permits as soon as you have your construction blueprints because you can only start foundation work when building permission has been received. You can always delay construction, but you can't move forward without permits.

Preparing the building site

Once the land is cleared, the actual construction of your home can commence. This starts with excavating so that foundations can be formed and concrete poured when the weather conditions are right. It is important to get the foundations in place as soon as blueprints are available and permits have been obtained. Cement cannot be poured below freezing temperatures or other adverse weather conditions without special procedures.

Construction to Lock-up

When the building is at the lock-up stage it means that the home is now weatherproof and secure. The roof is complete with windows and doors installed. An inspection will take place at lock-up. This key milestone inspection will determine the structural soundness of the home and its compliance with building codes.

Finishing to Occupancy

When all of the exterior and interior finishing work is complete you can apply for a final inspection. Any deficiencies identified need to be remedied by you or your general contractor prior to granting an occupancy permit. You may be able to move in prior to receiving an occupancy certificate but you will need one prior to obtaining a mortgage, home warranty protection or selling your house.


Thunder Bay Home Builders - Member of Ontario Builder Network - 1.866.582.8453