Low-rise construction in the United States

The US construction industry is the foundation of a sustainable economy, a place of employment for several million people, and one of the main tools for preserving and increasing the money supply of the population and preventing sharp collapses in the financial market in the real economy.

Line of silhouettes illustration of construction site with cranes and skyscraper with tractors, bulldozers, excavators and grader in blue tone.

More than 17 million new houses and apartments are being built in the USA every year, more than half of which are low-rise houses for one or two families. Apartmentbuildings of two to five floors are very popular .

C troyatsya as large complexes and single homes.

The average construction period is from one to two years.

Legislative framework of construction.

In the US, there is no uniform system of standards for civil engineering.

(There are no national SNIPs and ENIRs)

Almost all cities or territorial entities have their own rules and laws for construction ( Construction COD ). But the basic rules and regulations are well established in practice. The norm is the minimum ceiling height of 8 feet, which corresponds to 2.40 meters. Often a height of 9 feet (2.7 meters) is used. Minimum room sizes are based on local regulations, but less than 8 x 8 feet (2.2 x 2.4 meters) you will not meet rooms. In apartment buildings you will often find a kitchen without a window. The norms for installing plumbing and electrical systems for houses vary greatly. For example, all electrical wiring in Illinois is carried out only in metal pipes, and unprotected electrical wires are allowed to be installed in the neighboring state of Wisconsin.

The accepted standard is the use of copper water pipes. The standard is also the absence of special fire protection of the wooden structural elements of buildings, including the bearing elements. Most building standards throughout America are very similar and have developed as a result of years of practice and fierce competition from builders, manufacturers of building materials, developers, and also largely take into account local climatic specifics, the national characteristics of most of the locals. For example, in the state of Miami is forbidden to build cellars (frequent hurricanes and storms flooded them), some cities and even states are prohibited from using plastic windows ( the PWC the Windows ), installing siding ( Siding ), put the wooden fireplaces ( Woodburn  Fireplace ), install a centralized sewer system or plumbing. In many cities, the maximum height of buildings, the width of roads, sidewalks, the built-in garages capacity, the ratio of the stain area of ​​a house to the total area of ​​a plot, the distance between buildings, power consumption, the distance from the house to the public roadway, etc. are legally fixed. Many cities prohibit the installation of fences, outdoor lighting, use plumbing for watering lawns. Many cities severely limit the maximum size of the area of ​​houses used construction (especially exterior) materials. The requirements for thermal insulation of buildings have become quite tough in recent years.

For many immigrants from the CIS countries, it is a pleasant fact that there is no need to have a special building education in order to be a general contractor for construction. Practically and virtually anyone can call himself a general contractor ( general of contractor ).  

 It is only necessary to understand that the one who takes responsibility for the construction assumes responsibility for both the bank and the customer and the law.

All homes are insured. 

Control over the construction is carried out by the construction department of the local municipality. In their face is carried out state arhstroynadzor. The control begins with the coordination of the project documentation (takes from 2 to 12 months), the issue of the plot plan (in Russian it is “copying”). During construction, the inspector will come to you no more than 4-5 times, only for accepting hidden works and upon completion of construction. The most important controller of construction is the representative of the bank – the lender. If the controller finds errors that are critical to home security, he can (and does) stop construction with a written order to correct the violations.

Without exception, construction projects carried out at the expense of the local budget are made only by the winners of an open tender (tender) for the contract.

For many types of construction work, a local government building license must be obtained (architecture, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, roofing, mechanization, landscaping, concrete work, external utility networks, roads, removal and disposal of construction waste, etc.)

Most cities have long-term development plans and clear zoning for low-rise, multi-storey buildings, industrial and recreational zones, waste disposal zones, trade zones, public parking lots and transport, etc. Planning is based on long-term economic development forecasts and financing opportunities. All plans are superb financially and technologically secured. Many cities attract foreign architectural planning companies or companies from other cities and states to develop urban planning plans.

Material – technological support of construction.

The main constructive building material for low-rise construction are boards ( studs ) of softwood, transverse dimensions 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 inches (50 x 100 or 50 x 150 mm.). This was the result of many years of competition among manufacturers, the practice of the first settlers and meets the requirements of the market. As a building material, the tree showed its

superiority – durability (in the United States is a huge number of wooden buildings that are over 100 years old), convenience and ease of use, a variety of architectural uses, and huge reserves in both the USA and Canada.

All wooden building materials (boards, plywood, floor beams, rafters, trusses) are standardized in various standards by several manufacturers associations. As a rule, these standards are certified at the state level. After obtaining certificates, these standards become actual standards for manufacturers and builders. In the market of building materials there are mainly companies from the USA and Canada. A lot of companies in Europe and China lead in individual segments (electrics, plumbing, pipes, ceramics, carpeting, roofing, tools).

Manufacturing and supplying materials are done for from thousands of companies from the largest ( Home Depot , Menard , Lowes ) to the smallest family businesses. And each of them finds its consumer.  

In large companies up to 50 thousand items of building materials are presented simultaneously. They themselves provide builders with loans for the purchase of materials, deliver materials to the designated construction site at a designated time. Many stores have recently worked around the clock. As a rule, these stores offer for rent a large assortment of construction equipment (scaffolding, small mechanization, mills, drills, pumps, cars). Many stores are engaged in picking your construction “turnkey”. Due to fierce competition, prices for basic building materials throughout America are almost the same.

    You can buy a finished house in the kit, which will be delivered to you at the construction site. For example a complete set of materials at home (see the picture on the left) with an area of ​​180 sq. M. costs about $ 60 thousand.

To attract customers, there are discount systems (seasonal, for regular customers, fair sales, the exchange of some materials for others, discounts for large purchases, discounts for purchases over the Internet, discounts for using store credits, etc.). Anyone can subscribe to electronic news from companies and get new items faster than they appear in the store. In addition, there is a huge amount of ready-made house projects for every taste. The cost of finished projects does not exceed $ 1 thousand. A developed trading system, free competition, open information, a good legal base and ease of obtaining loans make the construction of houses of any type accessible to the majority.

Frames for building. The organization of the construction business.

As mentioned above, anyone can “lead” a construction site. With the exception of a small number of licensed types of construction activities, anyone can start their own construction business. In comparison with the USSR, nobody specifically trains workers for construction. All undergo primary training right on the line. Mid-level specialists (managers, supervisors) are trained in specialized courses of various colleges and institutes. In America, there is currently a huge shortage of civil engineers, or workers to work on complex projects (metal structures, complex concrete work, crane operators, industrial electricians, machine operators).

Very, very many start their construction business without forming a legal entity. This allows you to reduce the primary costs of running and organizing a business. Using their knowledge and experience, many people from the CIS countries are very successfully introduced into the construction market of America. After a very short time with good faith and successful work, they can afford to buy with the money they earned all the necessary tools and very popular here, very practical Cargo Van or Pickup cars . Practically the builder accommodates his entire office and inventory in his car. For most builders, daily crossings of 100-200 km. are the norm.  

Many builders work 6 days a week from 7 am to 5 pm.

To create your own company does not take much time – fill out the form on the Internet and went to the office of the Secretary of State with a check (in particular, in Illinois, it costs about $ 250)

In just 10-15 days, you will receive official documents on the registration of your company. Many companies are represented by only one, maximum 3 workers. Many work simultaneously for themselves and for someone in the contract. In Illinois, as a rule, Mexicans do dry plastering and landscaping, Ukrainians and Romanians have been very successful in working with wood (carcassing, wooden floors), Poles and Russians are engaged in general construction ( General contractors ), Lithuanians are engaged in brick work – This division is conditional, but in practice it is.  

Immigrants from the CIS countries today lead very successful construction companies, build large housing complexes both in the center of Chicago and in the suburbs, in recent years they have been actively introduced into the American market of building materials and development.

Only in Chicago today more than 5,000 Russian-speaking builders work, and the turnover of their construction companies in 2005 approached $ 1 Billion!

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