How does an off-plan property become a completed new build?

The 10 steps between signing an off-plan contract and taking delivery of a new build home

Property investors who are investing in off-plan property for the first time have many questions. One of the most common is how a property moves from off-plan to new build. While each site is different, the project management of each new home follows a similar path. It’s a journey that is well travelled by all those involved, and one that enables the finished product (your investment property) to be delivered as quickly as possible.

In this article, you’ll learn the outline of how your off-plan property goes from the blueprint and a schematic drawing to something concrete and appealing to tenants and homebuyers.

1.      Site preparation for new build

Levelling and digging foundations prepare the site. Rocks, debris and vegetation, must be removed. Wooden frames are formed to lay out the foundation, and the foundation trenches are dug.

Footings are installed, and, if applicable, the basement is dug out, and walls are poured.

Utility trenches (for electricity, plumbing, gas, and communication lines) are created.

When the concrete has been poured for this foundational work, it must be given time to cure. While this is happening, no work can be done on the property.

Once cured, a waterproof membrane can be applied to the foundations. Drains and water taps may be installed to the basement and ground floor, and the hole around the foundations is backfilled.

2.      The property skeleton is installed

Once the foundational work has been completed and passed inspections, the skeleton of the property is installed. Sheathing is applied to the exterior walls. The roof and windows are installed.

The property is then ‘wrapped’ to protect it from the weather, and particularly from the damage that can be caused by rain. It helps to prevent timber frames from rotting and mold to grow.

3.      Utilities are installed

With the frame and skeleton completed, electrics and plumbing can be installed. This work often overlaps the installation of the skeleton. Pipes are laid, and cables and wires are run throughout the home, through walls, floors and ceilings.

Water and sewer lines are installed, and plumbing completed. It allows baths, showers, sinks and toilets to be positioned. These are often installed now because it is easier to do so while the property is still half-built.

Pipes and ducting are installed for heating and air-conditioning systems, and insulation to the walls and roof are put in.

With the roof on and insulation in place, the house is ‘dry’. Electrics can be completed, with switches and sockets installed and cables run for lighting. Telephone, television and broadband cabling is installed as necessary.

Once all this work was completed, and inspections for compliance with legally required standards have been carried out, the building work moves to the next stage.

4.      Insulation work is completed

Insulation is key to ensuring that modern homes maintain a consistent indoor temperature. It improves energy efficiency. Most new build properties benefit from insulation to exterior walls, attic spaces, and spaces between ceilings and floors.

Insulation materials include fibreglass and foam. The foam may be in blocks or spray. Modern insulation materials also include insulation panels, which are easier and quicker to fit. Whichever insulation type is fitted, it must comply with building standards, especially those that cover fire resistance.

5.      Complete interior walling for new build

Where required, interior walls are boarded, and floorboards are laid. Walls are plastered and decorated. Internal decorative finishes such as brickwork and stone are installed.

6.      Complete interior and exterior trim

The interior trim can now be completed, with skirting boards, door frames, interior doors, window sills, stair rails and bannisters fitted. Fitted wardrobes, fireplaces and fireplace mantels and cabinetry are installed. Walls are painted (or papered).

Outside, paths, driveways and patios are laid. However, sometimes these are left until the very end of the build, as builder equipment could damage these elements of the build.

7.      Install final flooring and counters, exterior preparation completed

All flooring is completed with the final finish – ceramic tiles, hardwood floors, and linoleum are laid. Countertops are installed in the kitchen.

Also, to the outside of the property, the drainage will be tested and completed. It is the final preparation work to the exterior and allows landscaping to be done.

8.      Complete bathroom, kitchen, electrics, and flooring

As the build nears completion, contractors can complete work on light fixtures, switches and sockets, and heating and air conditioning. In the bathrooms, toilets, sinks and taps are fitted, as well as mirrors and shower doors.

Carpets are fitted where required.

9.      Landscaping and preparation for completion for new build

The final stage of the build process includes landscaping to the exterior and a final clean throughout the interior. Now the property is ready for snagging.

10. Before you complete – snag the property

Before completion, you should work with the developer to ensure that snagging is conducted successfully. Our top five snagging tips are:

  1. Always be prepared beforehand. Take a detailed snagging list with you.
  2. If possible, have one of the developer’s representatives with you.
  3. Take your time and be thorough.
  4. Bring a camera or video camera and use it.
  5. Never inspect the property unless it has been cleaned properly first.

Can you visit the development during the build?

Most developers discourage buyers from visiting the site without an appointment. It’s not that they don’t want you to inspect progress, but that building sites are dangerous places. If you want to visit the site, you should contact the developer and arrange a viewing.

You should receive a regular progress report, and inspectors will make regular visits to ensure that the build is progressing as it should, and that building regulation is being followed.

When investors buy through Gladfish, they can rest assured that their Sales Progression Team regularly visits developments and liaises constantly with the developer to ensure that the development is progressing as it should. If there are any unavoidable delays, you will be the first to hear.

Contact one of the Gladfish team today on +44 207 923 6100, and discover how we ensure the progress of your off-plan investment is monitored and measured. You’ll learn why investors are happy we’re on their side.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Brett Alegre-Wood
November 8, 2017


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