Building a Home? How To Start the Process and See It Through



Building a new home is an exciting undertaking, giving the opportunity to create a living space tailored to your needs. However, it requires knowledge of design, familiarity with local building codes and council requirements, planning and money. Here are the basic steps to successfully plan and implement the home-building process.

Decide Where to Live

Deciding where you want to live includes looking at the local environment, schools, proximity to work, shopping and recreation areas. Look at available plots to evaluate what will work for your needs. Be realistic about your budget, and harmonize long-term needs with your financial situation. Consider costs, including deposits, mortgage, upkeep, and insurance. Think about the size, the number of bedrooms you need, how the house should be configured and whether you plan on staying in it indefinitely or selling it within a few years. If you are a first-time buyer, find out about grants and subsidies to finance your home.

Select a Designer

An architect or a building designer will transform your ideas to reality. Look for an experienced professional who has completed projects in the area where you want to build. Make sure they are insured and, if required, licensed. The designer should visit the site with you to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Based on your needs and the physical characteristics of the site, the designer will create conceptual plans that help you visualize the layout, orientation, size and structural details. Final plans should include floor plans and elevations, utilities, landscaping, exterior and interior materials and appliances. Final plans are submitted for council approval.

Choose a Good Designer

Choosing a builder is as important as choosing a designer. Check prices and compare what each offers. A budget home price may not include landscaping, carpeting, driveways, or appliances. Turnkey homes are higher priced. However, they include all the amenities, allowing you to simply receive the key and walk in. Talk to the builder about your needs and expectations. If you want to keep costs down, ask about fittings and materials that can be upgraded later, such as countertops, vanities, and plumbing and light fixtures.

You must complete separate contracts with both the designer and builder. Make sure each details the work to be undertaken, deliverables, cost, materials and scheduling. The builder’s contract should also include plans for contingencies and how subcontractors will be hired and paid.

Work With a Land Surveying Company

A land surveying company provides essential information that can affect the way your house is oriented on the land, the size, and the cost. A licensed surveyor will confirm the legal boundaries of the plot. The company also looks at soils, slope, vegetation, and other elements that may determine the type of foundation, routing of utilities, and landscaping.

Monitor Progress

The builder should communicate with you about the progress of the work. Insist on scheduled site visits to evaluate the progress and quality of the work. However, visiting too frequently can cause delays or interrupt the work of the site crew. If unforeseen problems arise, your builder should contact you. Discuss whether problems affect the budget or schedule and how they will be resolved.

Final Walk-Through

When the project is completed, you, the builder, designer, and any significant subcontractors should schedule a final walk-through. Have a checklist in hand that includes types of fittings, installation of appliances, finishing details, materials, electrical installations, and landscaping. Ask for written copies of guarantees, warranties, owner’s manuals, and operating manuals. Your builder should provide a written statement certifying that all council requirements are met and the building can be occupied.

If there are issues to be resolved, get them in writing. Include a schedule of who will complete them and when. If you are satisfied, you are ready to move in.


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