Designing your house is the first step of building a dream house. Consultation with the right people/professionals in this stage is a MUST if the developer is to save on important resources like, time and money when building. We all know building a house involves a lot of money. Without Proper project planning and management, the cost of building your home can unfairly go up. Proper planning before designing your house will also enable you to build a house that fits in your lifestyle, according to your financial means.
Below are important points to consider before drafting your house plans.
1. Hire the services of a Land Surveyor to Establish Actual Plot Location and Beacons of the Plot.
There are cases of people confusing their land with the neibour’s.They then go ahead and build on this wrong plot, you can imagine the headache and the loss of resources, when reality dawns on them. To avoid this massive loss, get a good Land Surveyor to locate your plot for you.
Once you have bought land or plot for development. The best time for involving the Land Surveyor is when purchasing the piece of land, so make sure before starting the design of your house, the Land Surveyor has done his part. His main mission on site is to,
- Establish if indeed the plot on the government survey map is the same one on the actual ground. The land surveyor will use his surveying equipment to confirm to you, that indeed the plot you want to construct on is yours.
- Establish the beacons of the plot, in other words the corners of the plot. Hence you are able to know the exact size (dimensions) on the ground to plan with. Sometimes the size of land on the survey map may vary with the actual size on ground. Imagine when you have designed your house only to find that it can’t fit on the ground since the size on ground is smaller than the one you adopted from the survey plan.
2. Designing your house that works with your budget.
Money is a core factor in the planning and designing of a house. What’s your financial capacity? Are you building the house using your own savings or through a mortgage? A good architect will want to know how much you are willing to spend in building the house. This will enable the architect to know the type and size of a house that you can afford. There is no need of designing a large house only for you to realize that you can’t afford it once the designs and costing have been completed.
3. What’s your Lifestyle?
Lifestyle is your way of living. The size of rooms, the number of bedrooms, and the expected number of people who will reside in the house, their occupation should be taken into account, before designing your home. It’s important that you as the owner or end the user have a rough idea of the size of rooms you want. You can buy a measuring tool and measure an existing room for example a bedroom to gauge whether you want the exact size, smaller or bigger. The advantage of measuring an existing room is the fact that you are able to visualize how your proposed rooms will look like. Using an existing room can even help you to calculate the size of furniture that may fit. Once you have a rough size of room, it will be easy for the architect to help in putting your dream home on paper.
4. Choosing an Architect.
At this stage, you take the preliminary design to a skilled and qualified architect who has the necessary skills and training in planning and designing a house. The architect will help you put the rough sketches or idea into an organized format, and in manner that is beautiful and functional. Due diligence should be taken when choosing an architect.The most important is his academic qualifications and professional experience. The best way of getting an architect is through referrals from friends or relatives. That way it’s easy for you to know his character and his professionalism.Whichever method used to choose, you should at least see his previous designs and if possible visit those construction sites also.
5. Local Authority Bye Laws.
It’s important to find out if there are building restrictions put by the local authority. You may intend to put a residential house in an area meant for commercial buildings only. Some areas also have controlled buildings. These controlled areas have one specific house plan that is used by every developer in that controlled area. All the houses look similar in design although they have been constructed by different contractors.
Most local authorities have divided development areas into zones, like residential zones, commercial zones, and industrial zones. It’s important to find out the right type of building allowed in a given zone.
In some cases the residents of an area may form an association/welfare for the area with some set standard of building to be developed in the area, they may for example refuse developments for renting, like apartments. Consult widely to know rules and regulations governing the intended area for development.
6. The topography.
Topography refers to the physical appearance of natural and artificial features on surface of an area. The Architect should visit the proposed site and establish the type of soil and topography of the land. This visit will enable the architect to know how elevate the house from ground. He will also know how to drain waste water from the house. Establishing the type of soil is important, because it will determine the type of foundation to use, when designing the house.
7. Contract Agreement.
- It’s important to have a written contract between the developer and the architect. The contract set the rules of engagements.
- It should have the duties and responsibilities of each party.
- The contract should state clearly the set of plans to be produced.
- The plans should be accompanied with a valid stamped and signed certificate of a registered architect, which is a must for plans that are to be approved by local authorities.
- The contract should clearly state
- The contract sum,
- The mode of payment and
- The payment schedule against the percentage of work done.
- The time of commencement and completion should also be included in the contract.