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Construction Services You May Need When Building a Luxury Home in California

If you are building a luxury home in California, you may be wondering which construction services are of value, and which present an unnecessary expense. In our article below, we’ll offer you a concise summary of the most essential services custom home builders in California should hire.

Vital Construction and Design Services for Building Luxury Homes in California

If you’re starting a luxury home construction project in California, you should consider hiring the following professionals onto your project team. Some of these services may seem unnecessary at first, but you’ll be surprised to find that they were well worth your money down the road.

General Contractor (GC)

Unless you plan to personally hire and coordinate all your subtrades, you will need to hire a General Contractor (GC) to build the luxury home. GCs are responsible for delivering the final product — i.e. the building — that’s constructed per your drawings, specifications, and in accordance with local codes. A good GC will be able to balance your priorities for the project, whether you’re focusing on finances, a specific completion date, or quality, or would like all three of these factors to be considered in equal measure.

Depending on the project delivery method, you can expect the GC to fulfill slightly different functions. For example, in a traditional delivery method, aka Design-Bid-Build (DBB), there are three distinct phases — design, bidding, and construction, with GCs only being responsible for the latter. In a DBB project, a GC will only step in once the design is finalized and build from the drawings your architects and engineers have prepared. In contrast, the Design-Build (DB) project delivery method sees the GC and design team working together as a single entity, producing a bid that includes both the design and proposed budget. This latter approach allows the GC’s field experience to be utilized at the design stage, but blocks you (the owner) from actively collaborating with the architect and engineer throughout the design phase. 


An architect is responsible for interpreting your project vision and transposing it onto a set of drawings and specifications. Hiring a licensed architect is mandatory in most cases if you’re building a custom, luxury home in California. But the services of an architect are far more than simply a legally mandated expense — architects are experts at designing and planning the many different aspects of your home. For example, an architect will deliver the following aspects of the luxury home’s design:

  • The building’s size, shape, and dimensions
  • The home’s exterior and interior appearance and finishes
  • The building’s functional program
  • The building’s adherence to specific parts of the California Building Standards Code and California Residential Code


Like an architect, an engineer is a professional that’s involved in designing various components of a building. There are several types of engineers you will need to hire to come up with their respective design elements, including:

  • Structural engineer — A structural engineer will design a structure that’s able to bear the building’s design loads, including live, dead, seismic, and wind loads. A structural engineer will have to work closely with the architect to ensure that the architectural and structural elements interface correctly without any conflicts.
  • Civil engineer — A civil engineer will ensure that the property’s grading plan properly diverts stormwater away from the building and other properties and into municipal catch basins. Civil engineers will also work with the landscape architect to make sure that the property is graded in accordance with your desired landscape features.
  • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers — These engineers will oversee the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design elements, respectively.

Landscape Architect

Landscape architects are responsible for designing your property’s landscape features. These features include hard landscaping, such as driveways and gravel, and soft landscaping, such as grass, shrubs, trees, lawns, ponds, and lagoons. With an intensifying pace of wildfires and strict fire regulations in California’s Wildland-Urban Interface areas, landscape architects have taken on the challenging task of balancing aesthetically pleasing landscapes with wildfire safety. The ongoing water shortages also make a landscape architect’s job more difficult, as they have to find new means of creating pleasing landscapes that can survive in drought conditions. Hiring a landscape architect is a great idea if you want your luxury home to have the curb appeal it deserves. 

Construction Management Company

A Construction Management company (CM) can coordinate all the aforementioned services, but also help you with a wide range of project management services. Below are a few examples of project management services you can expect from a CM:

  • Planning — At this stage, all aspects of the construction project are carefully studied and planned.
  • Preconstruction — During preconstruction, the project team defines the scope and budget, oversees design and engineering, and drafts a preliminary project schedule.
  • Budgeting — This is where your own expectations of expenditures get aligned with the reality on the ground. Compromises may have to be found if you want to stick to a specific budget, or prioritize certain features of the project.
  • Scheduling — This process sees the project schedule get finalized, and various stakeholders become aware of their expected milestones and projected completion dates.
  • Bid management — The construction management company will help the owner analyze bids from various project members and select the most suitable candidates.
  • Risk management — Risk management is a process that allows the construction manager to analyze the project’s exposures to various hazards and plan mitigating measures for these risks.
  • Construction — During the construction phase, a construction management company will administer contracts, chair site meetings, and oversee the overall process to ensure that the building meets your stipulated design requirements.

Summary: Construction Services for Luxury Home Construction

If you’re building a luxury home in California, you’ll have to hire several construction services to ensure your project can proceed. For instance, you’ll need a GC to supervise the subcontractors who are involved in their individual scopes of work. You’ll also need an architect and engineers to design the architectural, structural, civil, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements of your building. Ideally, you’ll hire a landscape architect to design a fire-safe, draught-ready, yet aesthetically pleasing landscape. And, if you’d like your project to meet its budget, anticipated completion date, and quality expectations, you would be wise to also hire a construction management firm.

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