Our Process

We are a creative group who always looks for ways to develop and refine our approach to building and remodeling. One thing that doesn’t change however, is our goal, which is for our clients to feel prepared, informed and involved every step of the way.

Here’s what you can expect from building your project with Chuckanut Builders – integrated design, a four-phase construction process and open, clear communication throughout.

Chuckanut Builders accessory unit

Integrated Design

From start to finish our construction projects are highly collaborative, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of everyone involved. The first step is to determine if we are a good fit for each other. If a partnership makes sense, we build a team. Doing this early is in the process is crucial to a successful, low stress project. Your team will (likely) include:

  • General contractor – that’s us!
  • Architect or building designer
  • Interior designer
  • Specialists (ex: structural engineer, landscape architect, solar installer, etc)

We prefer the integrated design process because it helps with budget management, project planning, and offers specialists the opportunity to suggest high-efficiency building methods.  

4-phase Construction Process

At Chuckanut Builders we use a four-phase construction process, which is pretty typical for residential builders. What sets us apart is how much thought we’ve put into every phase, detailing who is involved, their roles, expectations, and the milestone for moving from one phase to the next.


During the proposal phase we define the project, gather pricing information, create a rough schedule, and share budget options. This is a highly collaborative process, which results in a detailed scope of work and project budget.

Proposal -> preconstruction: sign the contract


Preconstruction typically lasts 4-6 weeks and is essential for setting up a project to run smoothly throughout construction. The goal is to complete any remaining design decisions, finalize the building plans, select all of the finish materials and create the official construction calendar. 

Preconstruction -> active construction: work begins onsite

Active construction

Work begins! We joke that this phase should be like assembling Legos, because ideally, by this point in the project, (nearly) all of the decisions have been made and our crew can just carry out the plans we’ve worked so hard to create in the earlier phases. 

Active construction -> closeout: make the punchlist

Project closeout

During project closeout the goal is to turn the construction site into your home (or your business’). This phase has many moving parts, but our crew is here to orchestrate it all so you can move in and start enjoying your beautiful new space. 


Mike McAuley Bellingham Site LeadArguably the most important aspect of being a general contractor is communication. On a daily basis we communicate with clients, designers, engineers, trade contractors, our crew, suppliers, inspectors, and more! We use a handful of strategies and tools to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Most importantly are our awesome Site Leads. They are assigned to one project at a time, meaning they are (almost) always on the jobsite. They manage the crew and trade contractors, order materials,  answer client questions, address concerns and are also highly-skilled carpenters who still manage to find time to build beautiful things! 

The other key to success is an online project management system which facilitates fast and effective communication between us and our clients, designers, vendors and trade contractors and helps to keep numerous project details organized and easily accessible. It’s especially great for clients who are busy or who travel frequently, as it allows them to check in on the project’s progress on their own time. 

In addition to Site Leads and the online project management system, we also have weekly in-person client meetings during active construction and we’re always happy to touch base in person or via email, text and phone!