The Building Secret: Part 1

How to get the Best Home Design

— By Joh Domingo, Building Buddy

There are many choices and options in house plans designs when you decide to build your dream home. A careful balance has to be maintained between:

  • Your budget
  • Best use of your land
  • Space requirements
  • Home design
  • Builder Selection
  • Inclusions & Specifications
  • General quality workmanship.
It is good if you can discuss this with someone who can guide you through the pros & cons as you fine tune the criteria you will use produce the most desired outcome for you.
Give us a call, we are always happy to talk to you . . . 1800 710 102

Each of these items above are important on their own, but together they will help eliminate mistakes. It is important to balance the key issues and meld them into an effective balanced package that represent the optimum blend of all your requirements.

Understanding How the House Design Process Works

There are a number of ways new home buyers have traditionally selected their home designs.

Project BuildersProject Builders are Home Builders that build a set-range of House Plans Designs, with a limited set of design modifications. There is a widespread perception that Project Home Builders design and build the majority of Homes in Australia. They have a smaller market share than is commonly realised. The perception has probably come about because many Builders with display homes are assumed to be Project Home Builders. This is not the case at all. We define a project builder as someone that is building more than  80 standard home designs from a set range.

Design Builders Design Builders will design and build a home to your specifications, sometimes using and modifying a design they have previously used or built. Design builders operate as quasi project builders in that they often have display homes, and use salespeople as design consultants. Design Builders are more numerous than Project Home Builders, who often start out as Design Builders, and along the way accumulate a few standard house plans.

Contract BuildersContract Builders simply contract to build YOUR home. Contract Builders will sometimes offer House Design Advice, but primarily direct you to a home designer of your choice.

House DesignersHouse Designers are professionals that will design a home for a fee. House designers will always work from a brief that you provide. Everything depends on these instructions, and a poorly thought out brief will generally result in a poor home design and/or frustration and wasted money and effort.

Self-designed or Owner Designed Homes. This process is very common. Most   custom home design originate from a compilation sketch a customer has created using ideas from many different designs. An Owner Designed Home will general be realised with the help of one or more of the previous methods: A project Home Builder may be able to modify one of his standard designs to resemble the owner design, a design builder could flesh out the meat on a bare-bones owner supplied sketch, or a contract Builder could engage an affiliated designer to give form to an owner‘s House Design.

In each of the previous scenarios, the result depends entirely on the clarity with which the Owners were able to convey their desires to those that ultimately gave technical form to their dreams.

A vital step is providing the design brief and providing a wish-list of inclusions and budget. The success of the project ultimately revolves around the design options that will be produced from these notes. However, everybody has the start somewhere, so a designer needs to have inbuilt processes in place to allow modification to the design brief because incorrect instructions or information is a waste of time and money. It is better to modify the design as you go than to persist with a design brief that won’t work.

What Happens with the House Design Brief?

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

If you approach a Project Home Builder, they will use one of their standard designs, modify it until it resembles what you are looking for, and then present that as a modified standard design. Sometimes this will work if the design is similar, the salesperson is competent and the company accepts the design modification costings.

If you give it to a Design Builder, they will provide you with a very rough estimate of the costs involved in building the home. If this figure is in your budget ballpark, they will probably want a preliminary deposit to do proper construction plans. They can then prepare a proper cost proposal. It is not a bad process if you are entirely certain what you want; because you will pay for the work whether you use it or not. If you don’t know precisely what it is you want, you probably will not want what results that eventuate from an imprecise brief.

If you give it to a Contract Builder, he will ask for more details, perhaps arrange for you to meet with a Building Designer, so that they can provide a proper cost proposal. If you proceed along this path; make sure your designer has an inkling of current building costs or you may end being the proud owner of a home design, you can’t afford to build.

A Building Designer will draw what he believes you want. Often, they will prepare a preliminary sketch to evaluate your response and 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. Be sure that the designer is able to quickly calculate estimated building costs before you proceed further than the preliminary sketch stage because you may be wasting money on a design that will never be built to budget.

Although very little comes at no costs whatsoever, if you are unclear about the desired result, or even what you are looking for, you could be wasting money? This is not uncommon. Anecdotal evidence suggests that 8 of 10 Custom home designs never get built because of budget constraints. Not everyone is always dead certain about what they want, and sometimes a couple could have conflicting ideas and preferences.

That is why Building Buddy have a low-cost option to clarify your design ideas and obtains reasonably accurate build cost estimates before you commit to wasting money on a design that will not work.

Our approach is different and revolutionary; but only because people don't realise there should be a proper division of labour in the House Building Industry: Builders should Build the Homes; Designers should design homes people want; Draftsmen should prepare the working drawings; and Customers should only spend money on work that benefits them directly, and not on speculation.