What is Design/Build: Working with a Custom Home Builder

Next month, a panel discussion led by Furniture, Lighting & Decor Editor-in-Chief Diane Falvey brings together four experts to talk about leveraging expertise among architects, builders, and designers when building custom homes.

During the panel, “Common Ground: Finding Synergy Among Architects, Builders and Designers,” Phil Travars and Andrew Travars of Travars Built Homes will be talking about the ins and outs of working with a design/build custom home builder in North Carolina.

“Having a clear understanding of the thought process around building a custom home can help everything go smoothly, from design through construction,” said Phil Travars, Owner and Builder at Travars Built Homes. “It’s a great opportunity to talk directly with experts from across the industry.”

About 75,000 people from across the country and internationally are expected to attend the bi-annual Furniture Mart event represented by more than 100 countries, for architects, designers, furnishings buyers and others looking for the latest information and products for homes.

The Travars brothers were asked to participate in the event to share their thought leadership about home building and designing together with CIRCLE Design Studio, LLC Principal Architect John Dorlini and Principal/Owner Theresa A.C. Dorlini.

Topics about the custom home build process are expected to include:

  • How designers and builders work together compose a custom home.
  • How creativity can create excitement through different points of view.
  • What to look out for when choosing a custom home on a budget.
  • What to think about as you integrate designs for furniture, lighting, fixtures and finishes into your new home.

“This is a great opportunity to bounce around ideas for your new home, if you’re considering a custom build,” said Andrew Travars, Builder and Designer at Travars Built Homes. “We put a lot into making each home unique – this panel will help explain what it takes to create through design/build.”

Travars Built Homes builds new custom homes in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham and the surrounding region. Get information about building a custom home:

How Your Homesite Can Affect The Bottom Line

Topography, soil, regulations – here’s how your lot requirements and footprint can impact your new home build cost

The spot where your home can be built on your lot is dependent on a variety of factors in North Carolina. Here are terms and factors you need to know about aspects that can impact your homesite – and build cost.

Homesite: The spot on your lot where your home will be built

The final decision about the location for your homesite is determined by more than what you can see at first glance, such as the direction it will face or what’s outside the windows. As a turnkey builder in NC, some of the most common factors we will discuss with you regarding your footprint are topography, soil and regulations. Here’s why that’s so important:

How to build a new home in North Carolina

Footprint: The shape and size of amount of space your home takes up on the ground

If you look at what the imprint of your home will be on the dirt where it is built, what does that shape look like? That’s your “footprint”. Whether your home is a square box, stretches out horizontally or vertically, has a courtyard, or has lots of “cutouts” that turn and curve in a variety of directions, everywhere it touches affects your build costs. The more simplistic, the less it usually costs to build a home with that footprint. The more complex, the more it can take to get everything done, starting with the topography and soil.

Topography: The amount of slope in your lot

Take a look at the Topo Map (short for topographical map) below. This is an example of what topography looks like, on a Geographic Information System (GIS). Although each county in NC has its own GIS system and representation, the lines you see here are indicative of how much slope this area has. The closer the lines are together, the more slope there is. The slope of your lot can help determine if your home will require a basement, crawl space, tall crawl, or slab on grade. In North Carolina, a crawl space foundation is the most common, unless the home is accessible in which case a slab on grade is used most often built. We will talk with you about how the topography affects your lot and homesite, specifically, at your lot assessment.

How to build a new home in North Carolina

Soil: Support for your septic system as well as your home

Soil quality and consistency vary across North Carolina. Here are two of the most important reasons why soil plays a major factor in the build of your new home:

The homesite where your home will be placed needs to have appropriate compaction and bearing capacity. Probe Tests as well as taking into consideration aspects such as slope, exposed rock, size of trees, potential wet lands, and other factors in which soil plays a part.

How to build a new home in North Carolina

A Percolation Test (abbreviated as a “Perc Test”) is required on most lots of over 1/2 acre to determine the water absorption rate of soil, which will indicate the type of septic system that is required. Your builder will interpret the results that a soil scientist or the county provide, and tell you next steps and build costs. A conventional system will usually have the least cost. A pump may be required, which would add to costs. An engineered system for a drip system or pre-treat drip system are the most expensive and take the most time to get approved. We will walk you through how this works as part of our initial overview of your build processes and steps.

How to build a new home in North Carolina

Regulations: Local requirements and community covenants

Every new home must have build permits before it can be built. TBH will handle those for you, along with everything else necessary for the build of your home on your lot. Here’s how local requirements and covenants come into play as you choose where you want to build your new home:

Most new homes are built in communities, regulated by a Home Owners Association (HOA): Each neighborhood has its own set of rules and restrictions, detailed in Community Covenants. You will want to read Covenants thoroughly before purchasing a lot. Experts can also help you understand potential building restrictions within a neighborhood. Architectural Review Boards (ARBs) review details about a new home, such as exterior paint colors and materials such as brick or stone. Your new home will need to be approved by these committees if you want to build in their neighborhood.

How to build a new home in North Carolina

Even new homes that are built in the countryside are subject to local requirements, typically set down by the county. This can include things like how much clearing you can do, what the setback requirements are from the street, and other mandates specific to that location.

Contact Us for a lot walk and assessment or any other building questions.

How Soon After I Sign a Purchase Agreement Will Construction Begin on my Custom Home, and How Long Will it Take?

We can start your custom home build process directly after your purchase agreement is signed, with site work scheduled as soon as building permits are in hand. Here are the first steps we take together before the shovel hits the ground:

How to build a custom home in North Carolina.
  • Modifications you want to make to your floor plan
  • Documented details about features, finishes, materials and pricing
  • Lot walk for site assessment with home’s footprint
  • Loan closed for home construction (and lot, if not already owned)
  • Review of architectural and engineered blueprints
  • HOA architectural review, if applicable
  • Improvement Permits, if applicable
  • Build Permits
  • Preliminary survey and home location plat map
How to build a custom home in North Carolina.

The typical time frame for a Travars Built Home is 6 to 9 months from when we begin the actual construction, depending on the size and type of home and the location of the build.

Contact Us with any of your questions or see what others have asked already, FAQ’s and answers.