12 Mistakes to Avoid When Design-Building A Residential Development


When clients engage Harrison Homes as their design-build partner, the discovery phase is very important in setting up the residential development for success.  Typically, clients come to Harrison with a civil set of plans as well as early drafts of architectural plans.  When Harrison reviews the details of your site and home designs, we often come across aspects of design or construction that are overlooked.  Below are a few common errors and omissions we encounter and our recommended solutions:

  1. Missing Location for HVAC Equipment – HVAC can be placed in a dedicated mechanical room, the attic, or garage.  You’d be surprised how often this is forgotten on the plans
  2. No HVAC Chases – not showing any chases throughout the floor plan can lead to a re-design, resulting in construction and permitting delays, especially if plans have to be resubmitted for permit
  3. Missing Attic Access Design – if the HVAC system is placed inside an attic, a pull-down staircase is required by IRC code. If this is not planned for in the architectural drawings, the location of the stairs can end up in an unsightly, less-than-ideal location
  4. Absent Design for Required Insulation R Value Between Conditioned and Unconditioned Spaces –required by both IRC Code and Energy Code, this omission can greatly impact the overall project budget
  5. Reserving AC Condenser Location – this can be drawn adjacent to the garage door, on the side of the home, or on the roof, but must be accounted for
  6. Missing Fire Rated Separation Walls Between Units – applicable for multi-family construction, it’s important to know what the fire suppression requirements are, and if sprinkler systems are necessary
  7. Matching Finished Floor and Porch Heights with Proposed Grading Plan – per code, porches over 30” above finished grade require a railing. If the railing does not compliment the elevation style, this may result in an elevation redesign
  8. Roof Plans Errors – roof plans are often incorrect and do not match the floor plans
  9. Transition Details – transition details between two different materials are often missing. For example, siding over brick (water table requires a brick rowlock with a “skirt board” above.) The proper use of flashing is critical to avoid water intrusion
  10. Missing Brick and Stone Details on Exterior Elevations – details must be accounted for, and gaps in soldier course above and/or rowlock below windows are required to create a finished look
  11. Inconsistent Window and Door Sizes – Inconsistencies lead to an expensive build. Consistency creates profit due to bulk ordering from the manufacturer and ordering the same size and style can lead to volume discounts. For example, all bedroom doors designed as 2680 and/or windows 3060 throughout
  12. Forgotten Electrical Switches – placing a door within a few inches of the window without considering space for a 3-gang electrical box that might house 3 switches for lighting can cause issues. 12” between a door and window is ideal placement

Harrison Homes is a professional design-build firm for residential developments. If you’re searching for an experienced partner to lead multifamily vertical construction, consider Harrison. Our seasoned team is highly proficient in identifying and solving potential challenges and streamlining design for a profitable build.

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