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Expert Tips for Designing Your Dream Home

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 07 August 2019 20:19

Designing your own home is undoubtedly one of the most exciting endeavors you will ever undertake in your life; however, if it is not well-thought-out, it can also be one of your biggest regrets. Therefore, it is important to take time to consider the various elements that go into designing the home of your dreams and then plan it in detail, which this step by step guide will walk you through. 

Step 1: Create A Self Build Project Brief

The first step to planning your design is to create a document called a project brief, which will serve as a point of reference throughout the project. It will also help you procure more solid estimates from your design team. 

When drafting your brief: 

Consider Why You Prefer to Self Build as Opposed to Purchasing a Home 

When opting to self build, ask yourself why you prefer to construct your own house as opposed to simply purchasing one from a home-builder. For instance, perhaps you would like to design a new home for its future resale value


Understanding why you want to build your home, prior to your project, will help you better communicate with your design team and also eliminate confusion throughout the project for peace of mind. 

Consider the Rooms Dimensions

As part of your brief, you should also consider basic information concerning your rooms, such as their dimensions, which you can determine based on your current rooms measurements. 

Consider the Internal Flow 

To help with the layout of your home, you should consider the type of flow you want for each space, which should be based on your family's lifestyle. For instance, if you like preparing meals while entertaining guests or spending time with your family, then you may opt for an open-kitchen design that conjoins with the family room or dining room, which will enable you to connect with others while carrying out various kitchen activities. To go along with the layout, consider what type of feel and style you want in every room built in the house; what type of Baird Brothers flooring you would place and where you want it connected to the carpet. These small details might drastically affect the way you want your home foundation designed. 

Consider the Architectural Style

Another feature to consider as part of your project brief is what style of home you prefer, such as a modern home or a classic style home, which will help you determine the architectural style for your home. 


As part of your architectural style, you should also consider the landscape around your home and what views you want to see from your windows. 

Consider the Heating Options 

Determine how important the home's efficiency is to you, which will help with selecting a heating and cooling strategy. For instance, if you plan to use solar renewable energy as a power source, you may consider positioning the home where it can receive optimum sunlight for maximum output. 

Set an Accurate Budget 

When drafting your brief, it is also important to determine the budget because, after all, it is the final determinant of your home's design.


Working with a financial professional can help you set an accurate budget for your project by providing you with a mortgage or even organizing the sale of your current home, so you know exactly how much money you have to put towards your project, which will help you accurately plan your Self Build and eliminate stress down the road. 

Set A Time Scale

As part of the budget, you will also need to consider the start date of your project 

as well as the deadline. 


Because projects can run longer than expected, it is not recommended that you set your date to move in for a holiday, birthday, or other special days in order to avoid disappointment. 

Draw up the Sketches 

Drawing sketches of your final design helps provide the architect with as much information as possible, which puts you closer to achieving your vision. 


When drafting your sketches, don't worry if they aren't perfect, as long as they get your idea across. However, if you design something that is impossible to build, your architect will not hesitate to let you know. 


If you'd like, you can simply create a 3D view of your home using SketchUp software, which also enables you to move around the building to get a feel for the design. 


You could also use online home design sites to help communicate your idea to your architect. 

Step 2: Assemble the Your Design Team

As this point, you need to thoroughly consider who you need to work with in order to get your project off the ground. For instance, you will need a plot for your new build; therefore, you will need to enlist a land surveyor to examine the plots you like and help determine the best one for your project. 


A structural engineer will also be required to assess the state of the plot's soil as well as its bearing capacity. They also test the soil for the best drainage solutions, and they work closely with construction teams, especially during the process of obtaining a building warrant approval. 


Once all the construction elements are in their proper location and connected to the heating sources, your proposed home will need to be assessed for its energy performance. Therefore, you will also need a standard assessment procedure designer to estimate the overall performance of your home, which will help determine the building's heating need and costs. You might even consider enlisting a heating engineer to develop a heating design. 


If you are not opting for a full self-build, then you will also need a project manager. 

Step 3: Complete the Actual Design Stages

Once you have compiled your design team to assist with the building of your home, you will next need to move on to the key design stages, which are divided into the following four parts: 

Stage 1: The Initial Design

During this stage, you will need to review the project brief and then set a timeline for the project from the beginning to the end. 


You will also need to review the site and soil investigation with the engineer to get as much detail as possible regarding the bearing capacity as well as the porosity of the soil to see if your site qualifies for natural drainage solutions. 


Once you have gathered all the necessary information, the architect will then use it to produce the first round of designs and sketches, which will then be presented to you for your approval. If you do not like the initial designs, inform your architect, and he or she will go about redrafting some new ones. 


Remember, it is important to communicate with your design team and review each and every design aspect of the project to ensure you come up with a final design for your home that you love. 

Stage 2: The Planning Stage

The planning stage can last anywhere from 8 weeks to a few years, depending on how well your proposals are received. 


During this stage, you along with your architect will be working with the planning department for the proposals for your site. You may also require a planning consultant, if there are any issues with your proposal, as well as various other specialists, such as an ecologist, a flood consultant, or an arborist. Working with other consultants who can assist you with the special planning policies to help ensure your planning application is done correctly and contains all the supporting documents can also help. 


Once your application document has been deemed suitable by enough relevant parties, you will then be able to speak with the planner about your case, which may take anywhere from about 8 weeks or more, depending on the number of rejections your application received. 

Stage 3: Building Regulations 

Once your planning document is approved, you will then need to begin the process of obtaining the building regulations certification. 


At this point, all the initial designs will be incorporated into the architect's drawings, which will then be reviewed by your architect as well as other consultants to ensure that everything complies with building regulations. 


The building regulations will then be sent to one of various authorities, depending on your location, for review, which can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. 

Stage 4: Production or Construction Drawings

As a self-builder, you want to provide your contractors with as much information as possible, which will allow them to construct exactly what you want. Therefore, you need to work closely with your SAP assessor, engineer, CDM coordinator, and more, to help determine the type of building project your home is going to be, as well as other crucial details, so that your architect can draw up the most detailed construction drawings possible to present to your contractors. 


It is important to include your architect throughout your building process to ensure they thoroughly understand your vision and can help bring it to life. If at any point you are faced with contentious planning issues, you may also consider hiring a planning consultant to help with the planning process. When selecting your design team, be sure to review references of their previous work and provide them with a detailed copy of your brief when shopping quotes. Lastly, prior to working on your site, be sure to secure your latent defects insurance policy, which will help save costs if you purchase it before construction begins as opposed to after construction is complete.

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Carol Evenson

Carol is a home renovation specialist with a background in organization and sales. She assists realtors with business management and growth.
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