Navigating Timelines: Understanding How Long It Takes To Build a Custom Home in Boise

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Building a custom home gives you the ability to create a living space that is uniquely tailored to your individual preferences, promoting a higher level of comfort, satisfaction, and personal fulfillment. From the layout to the finishes and choosing the flooring for your new home to the electrical considerations, you have the option to select every detail of your new home to design a space that is perfect for you and your family. 

The fact is designing and building a custom home takes time. Because it’s a custom product, it follows other custom products in that it takes longer to build than a home that is not custom. Understanding the phases and timelines involved in building a custom home can help you to have better expectations and improve your overall experience as you navigate building your dream home on your land.

In this article, we’ll cover the custom home building timelines you should know as well as review the factors that could impact these timelines to give you insight into how long it takes to build a custom home in Boise area or wherever you’re considering building.

Preconstruction Phase

The first step in the build process will be preconstruction. This phase includes crucial groundwork required before breaking ground on your custom home. Preconstruction starts with initial consultations with your custom home builder and feasibility studies to uncover any restrictions or challenges that need to be accounted for. 

This period is when you’ll articulate your vision and preferences to your home builder and design team. This vision will be paired with the practical aspects of building so that the vision you have for your custom home can be transformed from concept to actual architectural design and blueprints. 

pre construction phase of the home building timeline

Obtaining build permits and regulatory approvals is the next step in this phase. At Pathway Builders, we assist all of our clients in securing the correct permits and ensuring plans meet local building codes and regulations to make this process as easy and quick as possible. Most municipalities can provide estimates of permit processing time; however, these timeframes can vary by permit requirements, complexity, location, volume of permit applications, and more. 

If you are building a custom home in Boise you can reference the City of Boise permit processing timeframes which are published quarterly. You can view the most recent City of Boise building permit processing timeframes here. Notice that the Average Ready to Issue Time varies widely for Single Family Level 1 and Level 2 building permits from 25 to 82 days. This is just one example of how permitting can significantly impact the time it takes to build a custom home in Boise and any other municipality. 

Beyond permitting, the complexity of the design and the efficiency of the planning process can also impact the timeline of the preconstruction phase and therefore the overall home building timeline. If you want to speed up the process, it makes sense to do your research and have a vision in mind for the design and features you’d like in your custom home. 

Carving out time to decide on any options presented by your builder during this initial phase so that you can make your selections faster, can also speed up the process. However, taking the time to plan and consider your options during this phase will likely improve the satisfaction you feel when you move into your new home, so don’t rush your decisions here. If you have questions about the options available to you as you build, don’t hesitate to ask your custom home builder.

If you want to get a better idea of the timelines for the preconstruction phase of your custom home, you can also ask any home builders you are considering working with for an estimate and what to expect during this phase. When working with Pathway Builders to build a home in Boise or another of the municipalities we serve in Idaho, the preconstruction phase can range widely. We’ve recently seen this process take between 3-6 months and is highly dependent on the land you are building on and the municipality it is located in.

Site Preparation Phase

Once the preconstruction phase is complete, site preparation is the next phase in the custom home building timeline. This phase is when the plans start turning into reality.

First, the land will be prepared by crews that come in to clear out any trees, rocks, or other obstacles and level the ground. This step can take a few weeks, depending on the size and condition of the land and where your home will be on the land. As an example, if your site is already relatively flat and there isn’t much grading work that needs to be done, this phase will be faster than if you have ten large trees that need to be cleared and a large amount of earth to move for your home to be built.

Utility connections and infrastructure setup are also included in the site preparation phase. This is where the utility companies will come out to connect your property to the essentials, like water and electricity. The time it takes to connect with utilities can be highly dependent on the local utility company. If they have a backlog of work to go through, your project might be scheduled several weeks out, lengthening the time it takes to go through this phase and continue with the rest of your home build. 

For more detailed information on timelines for installing electrical service in southwestern Idaho, you can refer to this residential information from Idaho Power

For information on water hookups in southwestern Idaho, you can refer to the related city information. We’ve linked to a few below for reference.

One other aspect that can add time to the site preparation process is environmental considerations. This includes things like preserving nearby habitats, managing water runoff, and minimizing disruptions to the local ecosystem. 

Depending on the location of your home there may be environmental regulations to consider. As an example, the Boise Erosion and Sediment Control program manages the impact of construction site pollutants and requires specific permitting and inspection for certain construction sites before construction begins.

In general, you can expect the site preparation process to take between 1-2 months or more. For the homes we’ve built in Boise this past year site preparation time has been in this 1-2 month timeframe.

Foundation Construction

Foundation construction is a critical phase in the overall process of building construction and a critical step in the home building timeline. 

The type of foundation, soil conditions, and the size and complexity of the structure can all impact how long it takes to build a custom home. Shallow foundations, such as strip and pad foundations, generally have shorter construction timelines compared to deep foundations.

Timeline: A few days to a few weeks

Soil Testing

During site investigation and before the foundation type is determined, you may need to test the soil for suitability in your project. A soil test will be performed by a geotechnical engineer to determine the soil strength, conditions, and any potential issues that could impact the foundation design. When a soil test is required it will increase the time it takes to build a custom home, but it is essential to ensure the stability and quality of your home build and eliminate serious structural problems at a later date.

Timeline: A few weeks to a couple of months

Soil Preparation

Once you’ve had your soil tested there may be another step involved before your home’s foundation is started known as soil preparation. If your soil tests reveal unsuitable soil for building or you need to add fill material this step will be added and the time it takes to build a custom home will be longer. 

Timeline: A few days to weeks (if needed)

Efficient coordination between construction teams, engineers, and project managers is essential to streamline the foundation construction process. Delays can occur due to unforeseen challenges such as adverse weather conditions, unexpected soil issues, or logistical problems. However, a well-planned and executed foundation construction phase lays the groundwork for a successful and sturdy structure.

Framing & Structural Build Phase

At this point in the custom home building process, you’re likely several months into the home building process, but this next step is when you start to see your vision really come to life. The framing phase of home construction represents a pivotal stage where the skeletal structure of the building takes form. The time involved in framing largely depends on the chosen materials and construction methods.

House being framed during the custom home building process


Traditional wood framing, a widely employed technique, typically requires a few weeks to a couple of months for completion, depending on the size and complexity of your custom home. If you are building two stories versus a single story or if your home is a larger square footage, framing typically takes longer than it would if you were adding a 700 square foot ADU

Alternatively, using steel or engineered wood framing might expedite the home building process, shortening the overall timeline. On the opposite spectrum, using concrete framing can be a slower process. 

Ultimately, a quality framer who can make precise measurements and accurate cuts is paramount during this stage to ensure the structural integrity and alignment of the framework and shorten how long it takes to build a custom home.

Roofing & Exterior Finishes

Roofing and exterior finishes are also included in the framing phase. Once the framing is in place, the installation of roofing materials and exterior finishes becomes the next focus. This step encompasses various materials, from shingles to tiles, siding, and other exterior cladding options. 

The duration of the roofing and exterior finishes phase can vary, with roofing alone taking a week or more, depending on the chosen roofing material and the complexity of the roof design. Installing exterior finishes involves meticulous attention to detail, as it not only contributes to the aesthetic appeal but also serves as a protective barrier against the elements. The level of detail on the exterior design can affect the timeline of the framing process.

Exterior finishing phase during the custom home building timeline - Pathway Builders Idaho

Windows, Doors, and Insulation Installation

Windows, doors, and installation of the insulation are also included in the framing timeline. The time required for this step is influenced by factors such as the number and size of openings, the type of windows and doors chosen, and the intricacies of their installation. 

Simultaneously, insulation installation is essential for energy efficiency and climate control within the home. The installation of insulation materials can extend the timeline, with meticulous attention given to proper placement and coverage. Coordinating these aspects efficiently ensures that the framed structure is sealed, secure, and ready for the subsequent stages of the construction process.

Interior Finishes & Systems Installation

The transition to the interior finishes and systems installation phase represents a significant step in the home building process, marking the point where the structure begins to take on the character and functionality of your new home.

Mechanical Systems Installation

Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC Installation

The installation of essential mechanical systems, including plumbing, electrical, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), is a crucial aspect of this phase. This intricate process involves coordinating the placement of pipes, wiring, and HVAC components throughout the home. Depending on the size and complexity of the home being built, this step may take several weeks to ensure precision and adherence to safety standards.

Smart Home Technology Integration

If you plan to incorporate smart home technologies for enhanced convenience and efficiency, integrating these systems, such as smart thermostats, lighting controls, and security features, adds an extra layer of complexity to the mechanical systems installation. The timeframe for smart home technology integration can vary but generally will take place as the related mechanical systems are being installed in your home.

Inspection Processes

As each system is installed, thorough inspections are conducted to verify compliance with building codes and safety standards. These inspections are critical to ensuring that your home’s internal systems function seamlessly and safely. While the inspection processes themselves may only take a few days, the coordination and potential need for corrections can impact the overall timeline.

Interior Finishes

Drywall Installation and Painting

With the mechanical systems in place, attention turns to the aesthetic aspects of the interior. Drywall installation and painting mark the beginning of transforming the space into its final form. Drywall work, including taping, mudding, and sanding, typically takes a few weeks. Painting adds another layer of time, influenced by factors such as color selection, drying times, and the intricacy of the chosen finishes.

Flooring, Trim, and Molding

The selection and installation of flooring materials, along with the addition of trim and molding, contribute significantly to the home’s visual appeal. Flooring installation timeframes vary depending on the chosen materials, with intricate designs or specialty materials potentially extending the process. Incorporating trim and molding details requires more time and may take several weeks to complete.

Cabinetry and Built-In Fixtures

Completing the interior finishes, the installation of cabinetry and built-in fixtures is a meticulous process that demands attention to detail. Custom cabinetry, countertops, and other fixtures are carefully integrated into the designated spaces. The timeframe for this step depends on the complexity of the design, the number of fixtures, and the materials chosen, with completion typically spanning several weeks.

The interior finishes and systems installation phase is a multifaceted stage of home construction, requiring precision, coordination, and attention to both functional and aesthetic details. The duration of each sub-phase is contingent on factors such as the home’s size, complexity, and the specific design elements you choose.

The time it takes to build a custom home is heavily influenced by this phase where there are usually many contractors involved and coordination between these contractors is essential to keep the home building timeline on schedule.

Final Inspections and Quality Checks

The culmination of the homebuilding process involves rigorous final inspections and quality checks to ensure that the constructed home meets and exceeds established standards. Once you’ve made it to this phase your home build is almost complete. 

Inspectors thoroughly assess every aspect of your home’s structure to confirm adherence to regulatory requirements and local building codes. Addressing any outstanding issues identified during these inspections is an essential step, involving collaboration between the builder and inspectors to rectify and resolve concerns promptly. While the timeframe for this phase varies, it generally takes several weeks to complete. 

In Boise, the Planning and Development Services department will be contacted to come out to perform final building inspections. Depending on the location of your new home, you may need to contact your local city or county to schedule inspections for your home before you can move in.

From the foundation to certificate of occupancy we typically see a 5-6 month build timeline for the custom homes we build in southwest Idaho.

Closing Procedures

Unless you are also completing landscaping before you move into your new home, once the final regulatory inspections are complete, your last step before move-in will be the closing procedures. 

This means a final walkthrough with your custom home builder. This is your opportunity to inspect every aspect of the home, ensuring that all agreed-upon specifications have been met. 

Finally, addressing punch list items, which are any remaining tasks or adjustments identified during the walkthrough, is the last step before move-in. 

Depending on the punch list items, the closing procedures can take a few weeks to ensure a seamless transition from construction to occupancy.

Factors That Influence The Home Building Timeline

With each of these phases, many factors can influence the time it takes to build a custom home. That’s why in each section we’ve provided a normal range with a few reasons why the home building timeline can vary. 

Factors that influence how long a home takes to build across all phases include the size and complexity of the home you are building. You can expect building a 3500 square foot home will take longer than a 1000 square foot home. Likewise, if your home includes comprehensive smart home technology and has different flooring in every room, your build will take longer than a home that doesn’t have these features.

Another factor that heavily influences the time it takes to build a custom home is the home builder you work with. A quality home builder will have time saving techniques and processes that can speed the process of building your home. A local home builder will also be in tune with and have relationships with contractors that are reliable and know how to speed up the process of their phase of the home building timeline. For help finding a custom home builder in your area, use our top tips on how to choose a custom home builder. If you’re in the Boise area, contact us for a free consultation.

External Factors

Several external factors can also significantly influence the time it takes to build a custom home. Among the most notable are local building regulations and permit processing times, as well as weather conditions and seasonal considerations.

Local Building Regulations and Permit Processing Times

Local building regulations play a crucial role in dictating the standards and requirements that must be adhered to during construction. Obtaining the necessary permits is often a prerequisite that can add time to the home building timeline.

  • Delay Potential: Lengthy permit processing times can introduce delays to the construction timeline. If there are changes to the initial plans or if additional approvals are required, the process can be further prolonged.
  • Mitigation Strategies: Engaging with local authorities early in the planning phase, ensuring comprehensive and accurate permit applications, and maintaining open communication can help mitigate potential delays.

At Pathway Builders, we work with each of our clients to ensure the permitting process goes as smoothly as possible and to reduce timelines. This is part of our standard service for all clients.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can have a profound impact on construction activities. Unfavorable weather can impede progress, affect the quality of work, and pose safety risks for construction workers.

  • Delay Potential: Rain, snow, extreme temperatures and other adverse weather conditions can lead to construction delays. Inclement weather may prevent outdoor work, such as foundation pouring or exterior finishing.
  • Mitigation Strategies: Scheduling construction activities based on seasonal weather patterns, implementing weather-resistant construction techniques, and having contingency plans for weather-related delays can help mitigate the impact of adverse weather conditions.

Seasonal Considerations

Construction projects often experience seasonal fluctuations, with certain seasons being more conducive to specific types of work. For example, winter may be challenging for outdoor construction in cold climates, while summer heat can affect worker productivity.

  • Delay Potential: Seasonal considerations can influence the overall construction timeline. Construction activities may need to be adjusted based on the season to ensure optimal conditions and worker safety.
  • Mitigation Strategies: Planning construction schedules to align with favorable weather conditions, addressing seasonal challenges in the project timeline, and incorporating buffer periods for seasonal adjustments can help manage the impact of changing seasons.

Local building regulations, permit processing times, weather conditions, and seasonal considerations are external factors that can significantly impact the time it takes to build a custom home. Working with a local home builder who is experienced in navigating these external factors in your area can be a major factor in mitigating the potential delays associated with these factors.

How Long Does It Take To Build A Custom Home?

The short answer is it varies. With any custom home the time it takes to build is going to vary dramatically from location to location, home to home, and even builder to builder. Knowing the averages and talking with builders in your area before you start building your home will help you to get realistic expectations for your project.

How Long Does It Take To Build A Custom Home In Boise?

Right now a typical custom home build in Boise takes around 8 months for us to build. This home building timeline includes the period from initial permitting to occupancy. This is also assuming none of the external factors cause any construction delays. At Pathway Builders we make it a priority to keep projects on schedule and mitigate the factors that may cause a delay. It’s our goal to help you move into your dream home as quickly as we can.


Use this guide as a tool to understand how long it takes to build a custom home. Each phase and each design decision can impact the time it takes to build a custom home. Being a custom project, every home building timeline will differ. Hopefully understanding what is involved at each phase in the process and the general timeline we’ve provided here will help you as you plan how long your custom home takes to complete. 

If you are looking for a homebuilder in Idaho’s Treasure Valley to help you build a custom home, contact us today to talk about your project.

Looking for more home building resources? Take a look at our top resources for building on your land.