Many new home builders are well versed in the house building juggernauts on television that are The Block, House Rules and Grand Designs. The drama, sweat and finished products make for high rating television and has prompted many everyday Australians to build, renovate or do a sneaky online design of their ideal dream home. But what steps do you need to take to start making this vision a reality? Read below for some the preliminary stages and issues that you should address before you commit your time and money toward a house building project.
To architect, or not to architect?
Cost wise many people find that they are drawn to a draftsperson in order to get their home designed (pun intended). Yet architects themselves will of course propose that you’ll get what you pay for and encourage you to engage their services to get a higher performing house that saves you money in the longer term. In many instances this will be the case, however there is a limit to what you will receive for a higher price tag as versus what you actually need in a dwelling. Therefore, the best spent money will be on a professional that is not only qualified, but the most experienced in the type of build (or aspects of one) that you wish to achieve. Without a word of mouth recommendation, this can represent a lengthy initial process to find a professional that best suits your needs, but worth doing to find an expert that’ll communicate with you efficiently and peacefully in order to realise your dreams of a custom designed home.
As general guidance, a tricky site, unorthodox design or location that’s subject to unique weather conditions can be an early indication that an architect will be a better choice for you in order to deliver long term liveability and performance. Similarly, if you have your heart set on cutting edge green building technologies, or a strong preference for the creation of an affective space, you should think about an architect. Like all high end purchases, there can be ways to save money such as seeking a freelance architect or a younger architecture firm. And if you have useful skills yourself, perhaps propose some sort of partial contra agreement where parties exchange services as part of ‘payment’.
In short, you need it. A qualified design team will ensure you meet the requirements but be aware that your dream home will need to abide by relevant State Government Building Regulations for basic safety and amenity standards. As a part of this you’ll also need to provide foundation data such as soil tests before your plans will be approved as they determine how to plan for and appropriately construct the foundational structure your house. There’ll also be local council laws to adhere to and potentially heritage overlays that existing structures should consider. Finally, there’ll be mandatory energy ratings that your new house will need to deliver.