The building process can be daunting for some, but here at Earthtone our goal is to make the activity not only simple, but pleasurable too. Click on any heading below to see how we work.
step-by-step guide to your project
Perhaps you have selected a site, or maybe you need analysis of several options. Whatever the case, this is where we can help assess your program along with the site topography, infrastructure, and budget constraints.
A strong cohesive team is crucial to ensure the success of your project. Whether you start with an architect or a contractor, the team must work seamlessly together to ensure your project starts off on the right footing, finishes on time, on budget and meets expectations. At Earthtone our leadership principles, our processes and our platform ensure that all team members are working to the same end. We encourage and work with our clients to get that selection as early in the process as possible. The key players are Architect, Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, Contractor, and YOU, of course. Other consultants that may join the team are Geotechnical Engineer, Energy Consultant, Interior Designer, Landscape Designer and Lighting Designer.
It may seem obvious to some, but it is surprising how often this step gets missed. Thinking about how the site lays out, not just for the immediate future, but for 10 years, 20 years and even further out is critical to ensure you are future planning and future proofing your site. Access, infrastructure, buildings, and support buildings as well as future plans should all be sketched.
Why is this so early in the process? Not all your land may be appropriate for a septic system, therefore figuring out the suitable spot and creating a footprint for it will ensure that it is set aside, and the rest of the site can work around it. An environmental consultant can help you through this process. The site is evaluated and reviewed, and percolation holes are excavated to make sure soil conditions are right for a system. In some conditions, the engineer may need to conduct a wet weather perc, and this can only be done during specific seasons after a required amount of rainfall.
Clearly one of the most important elements in the process. Your architect will be a key player in the design and during construction. Involved from an early stage with master planning, your architect will be a critical partner to the team for the life of the project.
How the land, its topography and the drainage will work with your program is critical to the site design. The structures will have specific requirements in terms of the latter, but also site access in terms of the encroachment onto public right of way and the driveway itself along with any parking and fire truck turnaround requirements needs to be considered carefully.
Electrical, water and septic installation can often be a long lead item, especially when working with public entities such as PG&E and other providers. Earthtone preconstruction services can include assistance to get these under way as soon as appropriate and installation can begin before construction.
When the program elements have been defined and there is a sufficient amount of information Earthtone will develop a detailed budget. Where information is still to be decided or details have not been filled in our experienced team can make predictions and provide allowances so that surprises are kept to a minimum.
Often at this point, the budget may not meet expectations and our team can work with your design team to find cost-saving alternatives. In some cases, this may be simple material changes and in others more structural modifications.
If the budget is in alignment with expectations, a structural engineer will begin analysis of the building and develop structural calculations and drawings.
At this point there is enough information to fill in the blanks and move allowances to more solid numbers. The structural information allows the estimating team to hone in on what it will take in terms of labor and materials. Trade partners will be able to provide more solid numbers and perhaps the interior design team and landscape team will have provided enough input to inform the estimating team. With or without interior design considerations, your project is at the point where it can be submitted for permit.
While our estimators have been pulling the final budget together, our team has simultaneously been working on a construction schedule. Using the latest software and generating a thorough list of tasks we can accurately predict where we will be at any given time during construction. This schedule ultimately ends up on our platform and informs our short interval schedule which is updated weekly.
As soon as a grading permit is released equipment can mobilize on site and begin rough grading, drainage and the underground utilities can go in. In many cases a grading permit can be approved before the building permit, thus allowing our team to get a jump on the schedule. Any site walls, bridges, culverts, will happen in this phase. If a pool is in your scope this would be excavated and roughed in.
Once a building permit is issued, the foundation subcontractor can begin and excavate footings, or drill piers if they are required. This is also when utilities will be brought to the building and any foundation drainage will be installed.
Once the foundation is poured and has cured, then the rough framing of the building can begin. Starting with subfloor framing, then underfloor utilities, the walls go up, and the roof gets framed. This phase usually goes quite quickly and the site changes drastically in a few weeks.
Wall and roof sheathing have been inspected we move quickly to the drying in phase. Installation of windows and doors, the roofing and the exterior wall finish will make the building weatherproof so that electrical and mechanical can begin on the interior.
Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing can now proceed on the inside of the structure. The electrician will layout the switches, outlets and light fixtures and you and the design team will walk through to approve or have us adjust, as necessary. Waste piping, hot and cold water is routed to fixture locations and shower valves are installed. Any other behind the wall assemblies are also installed. Meanwhile heating and air conditioning are also being installed. Finally low voltage and security wiring is run before we insulate the whole building.
Once inspectors have signed off on MEP’s drywall can be hung. Once inspected, finishes can begin on the interior. Tile, stone, interior doors, cabinets, woodwork, and flooring can all begin.
Meanwhile, exterior hardscape should be well under way. Pool finishes and pool decking, along with any other outdoor spaces can be constructed. Perhaps an outdoor kitchen or a tennis court, all this can happen simultaneously. Exterior lighting, irrigation and finally planting can happen.
Your property has many systems, and you need to know how to operate it. Our service and maintenance team will come in and fine tune things, so they are working correctly. They will provide you with an operator's manual and show how it all works. We will fill out warranty forms and make sure you will get notices if there are any factory recalls.
But we are not going anywhere. Your new property with its many systems has not been tested thoroughly until you have used it for a few seasons. As things need adjusting, we will be a phone call away to help you get things just right. Additionally, we will provide service contracts and make sure your systems are maintained professionally.