Congratulations! You've made the enormous decision to build a house that you can really call your own. You have purchased your plot of land, planned your house with an architect and retained a contractor to build your home, but what now? How will the barren plot of land materialize into the house of your dreams? The following provides an overview of the process of constructing a typical house, once you have taken the initial steps of purchasing your land and retaining a contractor. Constructing a house involves focusing on two major elements: shell and interior. Although the interior work can obviously not be completed without the shell, the contractor does not need to wait for the shell to be built before starting work on the interior. THE SHELL Let us first outline the process of constructing the basic structure of the shell: 1) Land Survey - The contractor will determine the exact location of the corners of the lot you have purchased. For legal reasons and accuracy, this will most likely be accomplished by a licensed surveyor. Once the lot corners are determined, the contractor will decide how much excavation is needed. 2) Excavation - In order to begin the actual construction of your home, the plot will most likely have to be excavated in order to reach the proper elevation. The depth of excavation depends on the type of foundation, the support walls and whether there will be a basement. 3)Foundation - The structural engineer will determine the type of foundation to be used, depending on the type of house construction and the local geology. Using the structural and architectural drawings, the contractor will then begin the building process. 4)Foundation and Basement Slabs - The house must sit on a structural foundation in order for it to withstand nature's forces. Once the foundation is poured, a thin layer of concrete is typically added to level out the area where the house will sit. Waterproofing and the initial plumbing are then installed. The first slab of concrete is then poured. If your house does not have a basement, the first slab will be the main floor slab. Slabs: Each and every floor in your house is a structural element called a slab. The slabs that you stand on in your house redistribute the various forces to the walls. The walls are constructed of columns that attach the slabs to one other. The space in between the columns is generally made of block walls. The forces then travel down to the foundation and ultimately to the ground. In a typical slab, there is roughly five metric tons of steel. Placed inside the concrete of the slabs are the main electrical and plumbing conduits - that means that while there won't be a toilet seat in your house for some time, the position of the toilet has more or less been determined. The process of slab-wall-slab-wall is repeated until the attic walls are poured. Once this has been done, the shell of your house is complete. Now that the shell is complete, the roof, facade, earthwork and gardening installation all have to be finished. INTERIOR: CONSTRUCTING THE CORE OF YOUR HOUSE Unlike shell work, interior work is not a step-by-step process, since the tasks can, for the most part, be implemented independently of each other. Below are some guidelines on the process of constructing the core of your house. Wall Facades Assuming your contractor has enough skilled workers, work on the interior of your house should have begun before the completion of the shell. The first order of business is to cover concrete and block walls with Tiach. Tiach is a mixture of water, sand and cement that is applied to all walls that are not going to be built of drywall. In some homes, there may not be a single drywall wall and in others the entire house may be lined with a thin drywall wall. Installation of Infrastructure Besides the main electrical and plumbing lines, the rest of the house's infrastructure is then installed in the sand that separates the concrete slab and the flooring. Read "What Lies Beneath - Important Factors to Consider Before Tiling Your Floors" for more information. Remember that care must be taken to ensure that ALL of the various infrastructures are indeed installed. If a system is not installed, it will be more difficult and expensive to do so once the tiles are laid. Tiling The tiles you have chosen are then installed on top of the sand that contains the bulk of your house's infrastructure. If you plan to install carpet or wood flooring on top of the tiles, you will have to give the contractor advance notice so that he can prepare for height differences at the boundaries between the different types of flooring. Interior Partitions Once the aluminum structure supporting the drywall and one side of the drywall wall are installed, the various infrastructures that are housed inside of the walls are then brought to the proper elevation. If your interior walls are made of blocks, the infrastructures are installed before the Tiach. The distances and elevations of all the infrastructure end points must be carefully implemented according to the architect and designer's drawings. Bathroom The bathroom is one of the most specialized rooms in the house; from waterproofing the floor to the specialty wall tiles, the bathroom requires extra attention. Each bathroom must be designed so that it takes into account all the different systems and how they interact with one another. Doors and Windows Your choice in the style and quality of your doors and windows will impact both the function and aesthetics inside and outside. Your contractor will most likely install the doors and windows at the very end of your project to ensure that there is minimal wear and tear. Last but Not Least... The messy work is now being completed, allowing the contractor to focus his attention on the more delicate tasks that require more care, without fear of such work being damaged. These tasks include painting, carpets, parquet floors, staining wood and any other tasks that need to be completed before you can take possession of the house. Although you may think that these details should not take very long to finish, extra attention and care is crucial. The Bne Beitcha Route Building your very own house can be as challenging as it can be rewarding. Once you have purchased your land, met with an architect and retained a contractor, you are going to have to carefully monitor the process of constructing your house. It is important to remember that each house has its individual designs that must be considered in its own right. One last piece of advice - make sure that you are up to date with your house's progress so that you can provide your contractor with whatever information he needs. Best of luck! Visit Israelhomeowner.com to view its full selection of articles. Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal or professional advice but rather a discussion of general issues. Readers are advised to receive professional advice before making any decisions or entering into transactions.