How to Design A New Home to Build

Although building rather than buying a new home can be a more daunting and lengthy process, it ensures you have more control. You can guarantee that design, layout, and finishing is just what you want and there is more opportunity to incorporate whatever sustainable and efficient features you can. 

In as much as you will be starting from scratch, this ability to customise your home to perfectly match your needs and lifestyle is more than enough reason for most homeowners to seek out the services of new home builders in WA

Create a brief

You will likely have seen other homes and developed a good idea of what you would want for your dream home. Most people will have seen many homes but rarely encounter one that perfectly satisfies all their needs and desires. Hence the preference for building a home that will be customised to meet these expectations. 

Creating a brief or wish list of all the features or details that you would want in a home is a good first step towards starting your build project. You need to identify your preferences and prioritise them in terms of needs and wants. This is important as your budget and other factors may limit how much you can include in your design, so it is a good idea to establish the must-haves. 

Consider the lifestyle you lead now and what you would want to enjoy in your new home. Also, think of future costs like utilities, and what you can include in the design now that would make your home more efficient. Give as much consideration to your outdoor space as you do to the interiors. 

You can even compile images of properties whose design features you like and also list items that you feel should be avoided. 

Set a budget

Setting a budget will be important in determining what you can and cannot afford to include in your home design. You need to establish how much you can raise to buy land, design the home, and build it. 

Remember there are also other associated costs for such a project including council fees, stamp duty, bank fees, and consultation charges. Always provide some allowance as a contingency as much of the time you will be working with estimates and not precise figures. 

Most people will finance their building projects through a combination of savings and borrowing. You can typically take up a mortgage to finance your land purchase and a construction loan for the build. House and land packages offer a convenient way to bundle both borrowings. You can however apply for each facility separately, depending on your need. 

Consult with your bank or a credit provider to find out how much you qualify for. Use this amount and the savings you wish to allocate to the project as your budget. This will give you a more realistic idea of what level of home design you can afford to build. Your builder will take into consideration your budget when creating a design that fits your needs and desires. 

House and Land Packages

House and land packages are a convenient way to build a home as they provide prospective homeowners with access to blocks of land available for purchase that come with tailor-made home designs suited specifically to those sites.

It is an easier option for first-time home buyers, and investors as the financing needed to purchase the land and build the home is packaged together. The package is often highly affordable and executed by a volume builder. 

All you have to do is look at the locations at which such packages are available and choose the block of land you find best suits your needs. You then need to look at the range of home designs offered for that land and pick what you like best. There may be a selection of standard and customisable designs to choose from. 

Once you have made your selection and made whatever tweaks to the design that are permitted by the builder, you can then proceed with arranging for financing. A mortgage is typically granted for the land transaction while the build is financed by a construction loan that is drawn down in stages. 

Buying land

Many homeowners will opt to start by buying land at a location they want and later choose a home design for their build project. If you do not already have land, you will need to start by identifying what community you wish to invest in and the size of land you will need to accommodate your design idea. You then need to consider your finances and consult with your lender or finance broker to figure out how much you can raise to buy the land you want. 

If you want to start the construction of your home soon after, factor this into your budget. Once you have established your budget, you can then contact a land estate agent who can help you find the land you want in the location you desire. 

As part of the sale, you will obtain the Section 10.7 certificate of the property. This is a zoning certificate that will provide valuable information as to what you are permitted to do with the property, the property’s history, bushfire and flooding details and planning material. These details are material to the design phase. Once you are sure the land is suited to your purpose, you can proceed with settlement. 

If you already have land to build on and there is already a house or other structure on it, you will need to have it demolished. You may need to make a demolition application and process other paperwork with the local council for this. You can hire a licensed demolition contractor to obtain the necessary permit and clearance certificate, clear out any asbestos, and demolish the structures. 

The Design Process

If you prefer a total custom-built home, you choose to start the design process by either first acquiring the land and thinking of what kind of structure to build, or begin with a home design idea and try to find land that will accommodate your desires. 

If you start with the land, you can factor in whatever zoning conditions apply to the land, its size, slope and other conditions when designing the house. After you have considered the land aspect, you then need to think about what you want. This brief will guide your designer when coming up with concept ideas for the design. 

You can start with your current accommodation or a house you have admired before as the basic design and add features you like and remove what you do not like. Try to incorporate what you feel best suits your needs and lifestyle. It is all about creating a home that gives you satisfaction and you will be happy living in, day in, day out. 

To get this process started, you will need to choose a designer and share with them your brief so they can gain a clearer idea of what kind of home design you are hoping for.

  1. Finding a designer

Most home designs come from building designers or architects. Both are qualified to design homes. Building designers tend to be more popular as their services are more affordable. 

When looking for a designer, you can start by seeking referrals from family and friends. You can also do your research on local builds that are similar to what you hope to accomplish or even look up options online. 

Once you narrow down to a few viable options, you can get in touch to ask about their portfolio of work and credentials. Ensure they are suitably registered or accredited, with good experience in handling build projects similar to what you want. Where possible, visit homes they have completed and talk to their previous clients to better gauge their professionalism and conduct. 

Talk to the designer to get a feel for how they interact with clients and choose the one that you feel most confident will fulfil your wishes. Ensure that there is mutual understanding and acceptance on what level of client involvement can be expected. Your designer should also have good knowledge and familiarity with local planning and authorities. 

  1. Site analysis

Once you have engaged a designer, they will need to conduct a site analysis. This will give them a chance to carry out an analysis to ascertain how well the design you eventually settle on will work in that environment. SWOT analysis is typically applied here, with factors such as climate, soil type, infrastructure, views, ground slope, and bushfire risks often considered. 

They will use this analysis, the brief you provide and consultations to get started on concept designs. Note that by this time a design contract should have been signed with an agreement on fees. If by this time you are not satisfied with your interaction with the designer, you can likely switch to another choice.

  1. Concept Designs

Taking inspiration from the brief you provide detailing your wants and information gathered during site analysis, your designer can begin developing concept designs. These basic designs will need to suit the environment of the building site, provide a good idea of the layout and space that will be utilised, and what kind of overall aesthetic will be achieved. 

  1. Design development

Once you have reviewed the concept designs, choose the one that is closest to what you want. This will be used alongside further consultation to develop the preliminary layout. Your designer can also make additional consultations with builders to get a good estimate as to how much such a build will cost and ascertain if it is within the budget you have set. It is also important to discuss the project with the local council to ensure it does not bring up any serious issues that might impede getting approvals and permits. 

The use of technology like CAD programs can help in better visualising the layout and spaces being allocated for each room. You can even include furniture to get a better idea of how large a space you are dealing with and if you should consider making adjustments. Even without CAD programs, you can use scaled cardboard models to accomplish the same and identify potential problems that will need to be resolved. You can also use these techniques to plan for the external and internal finishing, and design the landscaping. 

  1. Final design

This is the stage at which we arrive at the final design and the client signs off on it. You will need to have agreed on all aspects including construction system, materials, layout, room sizes, finishing, appliances, and landscaping. You will also need to have settled on other systems like heating and cooling, lighting, and rainwater collection. 

In consultation with the construction team, your designer will also be able to give a more accurate estimate of the cost of the building project. Here you can compare this against your budget and if it surpasses it, make amendments to the design to cut back on expenses. When making such changes, focus on aspects you can postpone without adversely affecting your comfort or quality of life. 

  1. Approvals

Once the final design is approved by the project owner, the builder can submit these plans for approval to the local authority. The design will need to comply with relevant planning codes for the authority to approve. Once planning approval is granted, construction approval is thereafter sought, though in some cases both can be applied for at the same time. 

14 Jul, 2022