Image of custom kitchen

How Long Does It Take To Build a Custom Home in Vancouver?

You’ve finally decided to make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life and move into the house of your dreams. However, not just any house on the market will do. Perhaps you’ve always wanted that dream kitchen, or your very own basement cinema, but there aren’t any options that truly match the vision you have for your future home. Building a custom home can be an exciting and creative opportunity to showcase your incredible design skills and ultimately have a space that is absolutely your own. But the process may not be as straightforward as you might think. In fact, one of the most common questions that we get from new clients is this: How long will it take to build a custom home? Here are just some of the things you’ll have to consider when preparing to build your own custom home in Vancouver.

Traditional vs. Custom

In comparison to using a traditional home builder (which could take around 6-10 months to complete a building project), a custom home builder will often require nearly double that amount of time (12-16 months) depending on the scope of the project. There are numerous factors and considerations that go into this, but the final result is something that is far more refined and curated than anything a traditional home builder could offer. A custom home is something that you as the homeowner are involved with every step of the way, from the initial designs to the final product. And like any labour of love, it will take a bit more time and devotion. Luckily, we have the custom home builder for the job!


Before you can even begin to think about breaking ground, there is a substantial amount of paperwork that needs to be completed (properly, we might add). Mistakes can often cause costly delays, which will inevitably increase the total build time of your custom home. Assuming that all the paperwork in your building application has been correctly filled out (this includes requisite fees, architectural plans, energy audits, etc.), each municipality often has various turn-around times for development permits depending on their backlogs. It can take upwards of 4 months to get a building permit in Vancouver, as an example, whereas in Kamloops it might only take 6-8 weeks. This is something to keep in mind, as this is a highly crucial part of the building process that cannot be overlooked.


The complexity of the design and the materials that you choose for your custom home will ultimately affect the build time more than anything else throughout the entire process. Ultra-modern homes may require specialized sub-contractors that do very specific millwork. And certain materials may not be as readily available or as easy to work with. Being able to bring in experts and accommodate numerous different schedules will inevitably affect the overall build time of your custom home. Moreover, you will almost certainly find yourself in a position where you are making changes to the original plan based on numerous factors (material supply, contractor availability, or simply your own design preferences) and this will have timeline implications, as well. Of course, it wouldn’t be a custom home if you were using run-of-the-mill materials and standardized design plans, would it?


The building process is one that has many moving parts. Here is a rough overview of what you can expect. Once the foundation is laid, then begins the process of framing, roofing, and installing windows and doors. Then comes the rough ins: electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. Once this is all approved by municipal building inspectors, you can move on to the exterior of the building (siding, etc.). Followed by all of the interior work that still needs to be done, such as insulation, drywalling, and trim work. Finally, finishing work such as cabinetry, painting, and flooring can take place. An issue at any step of this process can cause delays in the overall build time and should be accounted for. However, when working with an experienced custom home builder, you will be updated throughout the entire process.


Finding a reputable custom home builder will greatly help alleviate many of the headaches associated with custom home building. Such as filing paperwork and dealing directly with contractors and designers. They will help you through every step of the way, from gaining a building permit to possession day. So, while this can all seem quite daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Trust the process, and soon you will have the custom home you’ve always dreamed of.