The Building Secret: Part 2

How to get the Best House Plans & Designs: With No Regrets!

THERE ARE many choices and options in house plans and designs when you decide to build your dream home.

Seven House Plan Keys to Your New Home Success

A careful balance has to be maintained between:

  • Your budget
  • Best use of your land
  • Living space requirements
  • Your house plans designs
  • Contractor options
  • Quality inclusions, and
  • General finish and quality workmanship.

Each of the points above are very important in their own right, and unless you have a clear idea of what you want, you'll end up living in a home you are forever making excuses for.

The key is to balance these seven key house plan factors, so you can end up with a reasonable best that fits your dreams… and your budget!


Understanding How the House Design Process Works

There are a number of ways new home buyers have traditionally selected their house plans designs and then gone on to build their home..


Forget them. Their business model is geared to projects much larger, and of higher budget, than the average new home.

Project Home Builders

Project Home Builders build a fixed range of house plan designs, with a minimum of design modifications. Many people feel safe because project home builders design and build the vast majority of Homes in Australia.

They don’t.

In 2016 project home builders only built around half of all homes. (NSW Government’s Major Project Home Builders Quarterly Survey Aggregate Report).

House Designers

House Designers are professionals who design a home for a fee. House Designers always work from your brief. Everything depends on your instructions, and a poorly thought out brief will generally result in a poor home design, frustration for you and your money and effort wasted.

Contract Builders

Contract Builders simply contract to build YOUR home. Contract Builders will sometimes offer house design advice, primarily for technical reasons.


Designer/Builders will design and build a home to your specifications. There are more Designer/Builders than Project Home Builders.


Complete Solution Designer/Builders are rare. They take care of everything for you. They invariably bring your new home in at budget, and quite often under budget.

What Happens With Your House Design Brief?

Your brief and your wish list are crucial because everything ultimately revolves around these.

If at any stage you realise that you inadvertently provided incorrect instructions or information; don’t hesitate to correct it.

Mindlessly toddling along the wrong path is a waste of yours and everybody else’s time.

What Goes in Your House Design Brief?

The short answer to this question is; “it depends who you give it to”.

If you Give it to a Project Home Builder

If you approach a Project Home Builder, they will use one of their standard designs, modify it until they believe it resembles what you are looking for, however remotely, and then present that as a proposal.

Often people accept this because it makes fewer waves. They often think it will cost less, but that’s not necessarily the case. Modifications to standard home plans can contain hidden costs which can come back and bite you.

If you Give it to an Architect

See above.

If you Give it to a Contract Builder

A Contract Builder will ask for more details, perhaps arrange for you to meet with a Building Designer, so that they can provide a proper proposal. If you proceed along this path; ensure your designer has some inkling of current building costs or you may end being the proud owner of a lovely design you can't afford to build.

If you Give it to a Building Designer

The Building Designer will draw what he believes you are asking for. Often he will first do a preliminary sketch so you can obtain estimate prices before he finalizes the design. He will charge a set fee to do this work, plus variation costs for excessive modifications to this basic sketch.

If you Give it to a Standard Designer/Builder

If you give your design brief to a Designer/Builder, they will provide you with a very rough estimate of the costs involved in building the home. If this figure is somewhere in your budget ballpark, they will need a preliminary deposit to do working drawings so they can prepare a proper proposal.

You will pay for this work whether you use it or not. If you don’t know precisely what it is you want, you probably won't like the result of your imprecise brief.

If you Give it to a Complete Solution Designer/Builder

These are very rare. If you find one, grab onto him with both hands, and get set for the time of your life.

Complete Solution Designer/Builders actually listen to you. They take careful note of what you want. They visit your block of land, because you can’t do an effective new house plan if you haven’t visited the block of land it’s to be built on.

Next, your Complete Solution Designer/Builder discusses what you’re after in your new home. He’s seen your land now, so he knows what is possible to be achieved.

He also knows your budget now and can help you tailor what you want so it matches your budget.

Complete Solution Designer/Builders almost always bring new homes in on budget. Sometimes even under budget.

Next, your Complete Solution Designer.Builder does your new home concept plans. For free. Usually that’s around $1000 so you’re already way in front. This is a great idea because your plans let him give you an accurate cost estimate for your new home.

And once you’ve happy with your plans, a Complete Solution Designer/Builder can let you see what your home will look like. You can actually take a 3D Virtual Reality walk through your new home, checking out the rooms before even a single sod has been turned.

Once You've Made Your Choice, Follow These Tips to Get Started:

  1. First make a wish-list. This is easier to do than you might imagine. Simply make a list of everything you can think of that you maybe … possibly … might … want in your home. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about it. Later on your budget will force you to rationalise the list. But for now … fantasize!!!
  2. Roughly figure out the spaces you require. How many bedrooms … bathrooms … living area … outdoor areas … storage.
  3. Figure out where North is … if possible; place living areas and outdoor areas so that they take full advantage of north-east and south-east breezes. Try to ensure that the living areas are not affected by direct summer sunlight.
  4. Do some rough sketches. There is no need to overly precise about the scale, or the sizes of rooms.
  5. Use 21st Century digital technology like PowerPoint, Pinterest, Instagram, other social media and websites to collect things you like. Then show them to your Complete Solution Designer/Builder during your discussions.
  6. At, Brisbane’s only Complete Solution Designer/Builder, they use your collections to help create your dream home.

Once you have our house plans designs clear, we next make sure we know how to get the Best Quality.

Happy House Hunting!

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