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Construction on Nantucket Part 3: Timing Your Build


Building on Island

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You have purchased your land and done your due diligence, confirmed zoning, checked for wetlands, perking the property and understanding the septic requirements.


Now you’re on your way to your very own Nantucket home. There are distinct phases of the construction process on Nantucket. It is not like building in other places, so we hope this blog can help you in the construction process on Nantucket.

And while the timeline can be relatively predictable, it’s good to remember that there are always outliers. Here, I will outline the general guidelines for understanding the building timeline on Nantucket.

The Construction Process on Nantucket

First, you’ll need to hire a local architect or design team. Luckily, there are many talented choices on Nantucket with a breadth of experience. I recommend that you meet with a few because they all have a different approach, style and level of service. This team will help you find your land engineer and help work through some of the Town’s boards. These include the Historic District Commission, and if applicable, conservation commission, planning board or ZBA (zoning board of appeals). This team will also help connect you to builders and project managers, so take your time and pick the right team for you.

The design and approval phase exists to get you a building permit. The following timeline assumes you know exactly what you want with only one version of plans. (Since this rarely happens, I suggest adding time depending on your personality and decisiveness.)

Design, in general, will take approximately 3 months. Working through the HDC (Historic District Commission) takes, on average, 2 months. While you may start designing your house from inside-out to meet the needs of your family and lifestyle, the HDC will design from the outside-in. Therefore, in reality you really won’t have plans ready the contractor bid until you have completed the HDC process. Once those plans are approved and you send them out to bid, you are likely waiting another month to 45 days to gather bids from contractors and make a decision on whom to go with.

Want a better understanding of the HDC process?  Watch the past meetings or live on Tuesday evenings on the Town of Nantucket’s on Demand video service.

Digging a Foundation on Nantucket

Now we are 6 months into the process. Let’s assume the contractor is sitting on his hands ready and waiting for you to hire them. Next in the timeline? Scheduling the details. Your project start by digging your hole so it’s best not to begin in late December, January or February when the ground is frozen and temperatures are at extreme lows. If construction moves quickly with no design changes and no major delays on weather or schedule, you can assume that for a 4500 sq. ft. home with a partially finished basement and minimal landscaping, it will take 11 to 13 months of work from the day the excavator starts digging the hole to the day you put the key in the door. Thus, all said and done, it takes approximately 17 to 20 months to build a home on Nantucket from start to finish.

Now it’s time to enjoy your new home!


UP NEXT: Expected costs per square foot to build on Nantucket.

Did you miss PART ONE and PART TWO of our Nantucket construction series? Click here to learn more: