The new block of land is perfect…Nice neighbourhood, school and beach not far away and beautiful breezes. Now to build your dream home.
So where to start?? Most consumers at this stage will google a local builder or go to one of the estate display villages to see what they like and what is showcased. This is a great idea to get a feel for what you really like. Many builders have a range of plans that may fit what your imagining but it needs a few changes. So you speak to the new home consultant who arranges for a quote to be prepared. It’s at this point a lot of consumers find they are then “locked in”.
Copyright laws today protect the owner of the plans / designs from being “shopped around”. It is illegal for a builder to build a home that he does not own copyright to. And the consumer can also be held responsible. Some builders actively persue litigation for breach of copyright.
“But how do we compare prices??” This is where a professional designer can save you well in excess of his consultation fees and the process is quite simple as long as a few guidelines are followed. Below is a simple outline. Your new home or development is probably the biggest asset you’ll invest in. Why would you entrust such an important job in the hands of the cheapest person you could find.!?
Stage 1 The Design Brief
Compile a list of what YOU LIKE! everything you want to achieve in your home. don’t worry too much about the colours of tiles or tap fittings at this stage for now we just need an overall guide to your requirements and how much you want to spend.
While it is great to play around with floor plans and designs we actually “discourage” clients from trying to draw their own plans. Preconceived ideas can creep in and often a professional designer with many years training and experience can come up with great ideas that would never be considered.
Stage 2 Sketch Design
When the dream list has been considered and the site has been carefully assessed a hand drawn sketch is usually prepared. This is just some ideas and a rough idea of what can be done…. At this stage we say it’s not right or wrong but just a starting point. From there we can develop the ideas……..
Stage 3 The Preliminary Plans
OK so the concept sketch is nice and addresses most of the design brief. But we need to rearrange some rooms and make it a bit bigger……..
During the preliminary stage we enlist the help of trained and qualified draftspeople to start with the computer modelling of the design concept. During this phase the changes to the concept sketch are taken care of and a fairly detailed CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) model is produced. This then allows for accuracy to check areas, window and door sizes, building setbacks and even apply for covenant approval if required.
Stage 4 Working Drawings
The design is now complete apart from a few minor changes. Maybe a bigger window or change the roof line a bit. But generally the design is inalized by now. From here the detailed construction drawings are produced. Often this set of plans can be up to 25 A3 pages or more.
It’s important that there is sufficient detailing so the builder’s estimators have as much information as they can get. Cutting down on unanswered questions allows apples to be compared with apples thus elimitaing large variations in quotes and also the best possible price for construction.
Once your plans are completed you are now able to visit those builders who you felt comfortable with to get prices for building your dream home. The more information on the plans the more accurate the quotes will be.
Earlier I mentioned tiles and taps. In today’s market there are a myriad of products out there. And most builders have arrangements with suppliers that can ultimately save the consumer both time and money by specifying fixtures and fitting from their range. Your building plans should be suitable for Building Approval but will be read in conjunction with the builders specification.
Many companies offer a “free” design service or will “save” you money with a cheap design service. They may even ask you to draw up what you want to save even more money!!
Every successful project starts with great planning and an investment in the design and documentation will ultimately save thousands in the long run.