Frequently Asked Questions

I want to build a new house. Where do I start?

When you meet with us at High Country, we are going to ask you these questions:

1. Do you have house plans?
If not, we can give you some ideas from houses we’ve already built, or we can have one custom drawn for you.

2. What is your budget and is your financing approved?
Reality check…what is the most you can get within your price range?

3. Do you already own the property or do you have a lot picked out?
You will need to consider this in your budget.

4. Do the plans work on the property?
Can you meet the setbacks on the property lines? Do you want a walkout basement, but you are on a flat lot?
Once you have the house plan and have discussed some details such as quality of windows, cabinets, and floor coverings and your “must have” list, we will work on getting you an estimate. This process takes about 4 weeks, as we contact our material suppliers and subcontractors, and compile all the pricing.

We then put together a detailed proposal and a scope of responsibility to let you know exactly what materials will be used and what the pricing includes. When you are satisfied with the details and costs, the contract is signed and the lender needs to approve the cost as well.
We have worked with several lenders, but sometimes we need to update our builder paperwork, so we can do this during the pricing phase also.
When the contract is signed and approved by the lender, we may begin applying for permits.

The permit process takes approximately 4 weeks and then we can begin excavation for the new home.
Once we break ground, it usually takes around 6 months from the time we break ground until you are able to move in. This time frame varies based on the size of the house, site conditions and weather. Obviously in Michigan, a winter start can take a little longer to complete.

After all inspections are completed by the local building authority, they will issue a Certificate of Occupancy and the homeowner can move in to their new home. The homeowner will receive a 1-year home warranty from the date of the occupancy permit.

Where do you build homes?

High Country Construction builds homes and does concrete construction primarily in Southwest Michigan which includes: Allegan, Otsego, Richland, Plainwell, Kalamazoo, Paw Paw, Climax, Vicksburg, Mendon, Three Rivers, Centreville, and Sturgis.

What is involved with pouring foundation walls?

For a foundation, once the hole is dug for the basement or crawl space by the excavator, our crew comes in and digs in the footing and sets the footing boards based on the specs from the prints. The footing is the 8” x 16” support that your actual wall will set on. We then have the footing inspected by the local building inspector, as required in most areas. After the inspection, we pour the footing and leave it to cure for the day. This sometimes takes place all in one day but may take two days depending on the size of the footing and the inspector’s schedule.

The day after the footing is poured, our crew comes back in to start setting our aluminum wall panels on the footing. This process generally takes 3-4 days or so, again depending on the size of the house. Once the panels are all set, we run double checks of all measurements and square it up before we begin pouring. We generally schedule our pours for early morning, because the actual receiving of the concrete and the leveling process takes several hours. Once the concrete is all in place, we leave it to cure for 1-2 days depending on the weather conditions.

Our crew will then come back and remove our forms from the wall and call for waterproofing or damp-proofing, which usually takes place by our hired waterproofer within 1-2 days. Once the waterproofing/damp-proofing is complete the contractor/individual can call the local building inspector for their foundation inspection. We recommend that poured walls cure for 7-10 days (depending on weather conditions) before the excavator back fills the foundation, as the concrete is too fresh and can bow or crack if pressure is put on the concrete during this critical time. The contractor/individual may also want to brace the walls prior to back filling for extra support.

I need a paved driveway. What can I expect?

Our crew comes in and finishes prepping the fill sand that the concrete will be poured upon. Depending on the project, sometimes we are clearing the topsoil and/or importing fill and sometimes this is done by another excavator ahead of time. We compact the soil to reduce the chances of any concrete movement. We then place whatever form boards are needed. The prep and forming process usually takes one day and then we pour the second day. The crew would come back the third day and remove any forms, cut in any expansion joints that are needed, and seal the concrete with a cure & seal product. The concrete can be walked on usually the second day after the day of the pour, but we recommend not driving on it for at least 14 days, longer if possible.

It takes concrete roughly 28 days to cure and harden. Virtually all concrete will crack at some point and a pencil tip thickness sized crack is completely within industry standard and is not cause for alarm. The key is to control the cracking with preventative measures that guide the cracking. We do warranty our concrete work for 1 year and we recommend you maintain your concrete with sealers. For more details, please see our warranty agreement.