Houss   The new way to design your home
» Tell your friends about Houss
 
 

Show us:
Have you just finished a new build or renovation project?
Do you live in a creative, unique home?

» Share your project, we want to see it

 
 
 
 
6 Steps to Planning a Successful Building Project »
 

There’s a strong temptation to dive straight into the construction of your new home. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be done, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way if you haven’t done some essential planning up front. Each design professional and contractor runs his or her business in a different way, but homeowners usually need to follow the same steps to get to the construction phase. Put in time on the front end to ensure that your home will match your vision in the end.

Here are six crucial steps to help you plan for a successful home build, and the reasons they're so important for any project.

1. Choose a design professional

To create a plan and detailed scope of work, most people hire either an architect or interior designer, and sometimes both. Every company does things a little differently, many designers will offer advice on structural work as well as assistance with material and color selections. Architects may take on a wide range of work, or work only on floor plans and approvals, and leave the details of the electrical plan, baths and kitchen to another designer. Selecting a design professional usually starts with an in-person meeting, which can take a few weeks depending on how many companies you are interviewing. This is your opportunity to understand the services that each firm offers and make sure they match up with what you are expecting. It’s also critical that you have a budget for your project in mind that you communicate clearly to the firm you hire, so the design can align with what you are planning to invest.

 
 

2. Create a plan

After choosing an architecural and or design firm, it's time to start making a plan. There are usually at least two and sometimes three good ways to reach your design goals. The plans are called schematic designs; they usually involve a rough layout of the floor plan and some simple views of the exterior elevations. It takes time for the design professional to work these out, and then usually another week or two for the homeowners to consider them and make decisions. If the project is larger or the homeowners want additional changes made to the schematics, this initial design phase can take months.

3. Interview contractors

Contractors are frequently brought into the process once a final schematic design has been selected. Usually there is at least a general idea of how the home will look from the outside, a dimensioned floor plan and some preliminary material selections. With this much information, it’s possible to provide preliminary estimates of cost. At this point, some clients prefer to get a third party company involved that specialises in accurate cost estimation. Contractors are often asked to estimate the schematic design as part of the interview process. It may take a couple of weeks to set up the interviews and generally at least two to three weeks after interviews to receive the estimates. Altogether it could take four to six weeks to interview candidates and receive estimates. After that you may want to call references, visit jobsites or do additional research before making a decision about the contractor you will hire.

4. Go shopping while others are engineering

Love to shop or hate to shop? This may determine whether you enlist a designer to help with your material selections. Even those who like to shop may be overwhelmed by all the options and want professional input. Do not underestimate the number of things that need to be selected, from doorknobs and windows to countertops and light fixtures. To really keep a handle on your project cost, it’s best to select every last thing ahead of construction. This will allow your contractor to tell you the prices for what you’d like and properly schedule material purchases based on lead times.

Allow yourself one to two months to choose everything. While you are shopping for tile and hardwood floors, your architect or designer will finalize construction drawings, work with a structural engineer on how the project will be built and put in the details required for approvals. If it all goes well, you will work on this step and the previous one concurrently and finish at the same time.

 
 

5. Get your approvals

Depending on the scope of your project and where it’s located, approvals can take a day, weeks or even months. You should have some idea ahead of filing for approvals about the length of the process, which will allow you to identify a likely start date for your project. If building in a gated development, properties will most likely also require aesthetic plan review and approval. Council approval and plan review fees can range from a few hundred Rand to thousands of Rand, depending on where you live and how big your project is.

6. Ready, set...

With the plan submitted for council and or aesthetic review approval and material selections made, your contractor will be able to finish up pricing and write up a contract for construction. If the selected materials cost more than the budget allows, there may be a round of “value engineering,” which means changing scope of work or materials to reduce cost. By the time the contract is signed, your contractor will have identified the longer-lead items (like cabinets, windows, doors, tile and sometimes plumbing or electrical fixtures) and may even have them on order ahead of the start of construction, depending on the timing of your project.

By the time all of these steps are complete, it may be four to six months or even more since you started talking with design professionals. The planning process can be lengthy, but each step you take will put you closer to starting your project with a clear vision of what’s to come. That investment of time on the front end means your entire construction team - design professional, contractor and you - can start the project on the same page with a clearly articulated plan. That makes it much easier to say, “Go!” without any hesitation.

 
 

Need a professional? »
 
 

Architects

 
 

Interior Designers

 
 

Contractors

 
 

Green Product Suppliers

 

Information you provide is used to improve the content we provide on Houss. Please be assured that we will never sell your personal information to any other company.

Powered by: Century Property Developments

  Visit the Century website