So you’ve decided to build your dream house! It’s an exciting venture and a complicated one — there is so much to consider requiring a lot of patience, flexibility and decision-making throughout the entire construction process.
There are basically five stages of home construction:
Phase One: Design/Pre-Construction
Phase Two: Foundation
Phase Three: Framing
Phase Four: Interior and Exterior Work
Phase Five: Hand-Over
In Phase One, your builder, designer or architect will begin to develop the plans for the design of your house, incorporating your ideas and wishes. The design will take into account the size and shape of your lot, the size of the house, and all the municipal requirements and permits needed.
Deciding where to place your windows is critical to the aesthetics, ventilation, lighting, and thermal performance of your home. In discussions with your builder, think about your lot — where will you position your house? Look at how the sun moves across your property throughout the day — think about your design’s orientation, shading, and where the windows and doors are placed. You can maximize the energy efficiency of your home by careful planning of how your house is angled and how the sun’s light hits the walls, windows, and doors.
This is also the time to plan for the size of the rough openings of the windows and doors for framing requirements. Also, consider the type of windows and doors you would like. Do you want double or triple glazing? Are ENERGY STAR® qualified windows/doors important to you? Do you prefer North American style casement windows or European tilt and turn? Do you want single patio doors or double French doors? The answers to these questions may have an impact on the size of the rough openings.
Think about the building code requirements that must be met throughout the construction process. In Canada, provincial and territorial building codes are based upon the national building code. Your builder should be familiar with the codes required in your province or territory. There may also be municipal bylaws governing residential construction in the city you are building in.
Windows and doors are also subject to standards and regulations. For instance, windows in basements and bedrooms that do not have an alternate exit directly to the outside must meet egress requirements for emergency exits. Egress windows must have an unobstructed open area of at least 3.76 square feet, with both the clear width and height being at least 15 inches. They must be operable from the inside without the need for special tools or knowledge.
Windows and doors must also meet certain performance standards for energy efficiency and moisture control. Exterior doors and windows close to the ground floor – including the frames, locks, latches and hinges – must provide resistance to forced entry. These standards may vary depending on your location. Talking to your builder about building code requirements, regulations, and permits that are required for your dream house at this time will avoid construction delays, ease frustration, and save you money.
Taking the time to research the available options for your windows and doors in the initial design stage will help ensure that the construction process is less stressful and more satisfying in the long run. Talk to your builder or architect and ask for their recommendations. Visit window companies, make appointments to see their showrooms and talk to sales representatives. Ask about gas fills, glass options, finish types and colours. Learn about the different kinds of windows and doors that can meet all your requirements — for performance, durability and appearance.
The best time to purchase your windows and doors is after the final design has been completed and the working drawings have been signed off. Make sure you have ordered them with enough lead time so that they will be at your building site when the house is framed and roof is on. Typically this is around the time that the foundation is dug.
Your windows and doors will be installed in Phase Three of the building process. Consider having the window manufacturing company install your products if they offer this service. Company installers are trained in the correct installation procedure. Your windows and doors are crucial to the overall energy efficiency of your home, and a poorly done installation will reduce their performance and may, in some instances, prevent you from being able to operate them. An improper installation will also void your warranty.
Have questions? Check out CHBA’s list of things to ask your builder.
For detailed information about the construction process, read the document: Canadian Wood-Frame House Construction
For information regarding energy efficiency ratings, check out ENERGY STAR® in Canada.
See our Products page for details and information about EuroLine windows, doors and accessories.
Come visit us at our showroom and talk to one of our knowledgeable sales consultants.