A house becomes a home when it is filled with character, memories and little things that make it unique. A home is not just about the square feet and number of bedrooms. The journey of building your dream house takes you through a route of rediscovering yourself, what you want from life and how you want to live it.
The dreams aside, building your house could also be nerve-wracking. From finding the right land to build it to finding the right builder to construct it, we are all caught between choices and compromises.
But like famous designer Kevin McCloud once said, “ Building your own home is about desire, fantasy. But its achievable; anyone can do it”.
All it takes for you to accomplish this dream is careful planning, scheduling and above all, patience.
To get you started, here we have a chronological order of how things should be done while planning for your dream home.
1. Know What You Want
Whether you are building your first house or the second, there is definitely a reason why you are doing it. For most of us, a home is a culmination of our hopes. It is a place where you showcase to yourself and others what you are.
Initially, there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself. It is imperative that you have a clear idea of the functional and personal flair you seek in the house.
The beauty of a home doesn’t just confine to its decor; it starts with house plans. To work that out, set goals on basics like
- What kind of house you want,
- How big it should be,
- Where you want it to be and
- How much you can afford to spend on it.
It is easy to get carried away when you see a new photo in a magazine or random home designs. Figuring out these first will help you go after what exactly you want.
2. Plan a Budget
Whether you are building yourself or assigning work to a team, it is essential that you have an estimate of how much you can spend on it. If you don’t have land already, you need to include the cost of purchasing the land also in this.
Once you have a gross estimate you can manage to spend, it could be further classified into smaller categories. For example, you can split the prices into the following.
- General civil construction
- Labour cost
- Flooring Materials
- Electrical wiring
- Lights and Fixtures
- Paint and Decor
Such details could be worked out only in the later stages, but it would help you if you have a basic target, so you know if you are spending beyond the estimate.
In case you are contracting out the work to someone else, you will also have to include their charges. With a budget, you will thus be able to discuss with the builder in detail how much they are charging for each division.
3. Finding the Property
Finding the right locality to live in could set the course for your entire lives. Brisbane has many beautiful localities to choose from. Suburbs like South Brisbane, Dutton Park, Corinda are all on the rise in the real estate market.
You might be buying vacant land and building the house or buying a house and renovating it; in each case, there are a few points to keep in mind when you are investing like accessibility and transportation costs of materials.
The community infrastructure is another thing you need to research when you are buying property. If you intend to start a family there or are moving in with one, you might want to check for schools and other utilities nearby.
4. Finding the Team
Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of house designs available on the internet. You might be capable of designing the house yourself. However, there are some professionals who have better knowledge and experience at it.
The two most important roles are played by the architect and the builder. Architects can put your ideas of the perfect home into something even more remarkable than you thought it could be. A builder could create your dream into a reality.
It is best to get the plan of the house finalised before you choose the right builder for it. Other than these, you can also direct on specialised designers like a landscape architect, interior designer, and even kitchen and bath designers. It ultimately depends on your budget and requirements.
While choosing the architect and custom home builders Brisbane has to offer, ensure that they have a good track record. You could even see their previous works to make sure that you have found the right person to deliver what you are looking for.
Always ensure that all the teams are effective on communication. A bad rapport could turn out to be disastrous between any two parties. It could lead to unnecessary delay in completing the work and even result in financial damages.
Signing a legal contract with all the teams would ensure that you are on the same board with things.
Once you have hired the architect, the first thing is to get the plan ready. Now for this, you need to communicate with the team what exactly your requirements are.
You will have to consider the general requirements set by the local authorities to get permits. You will have to make compromises, but acknowledge that it is only for the good in the end.
It is essential that you appreciate the original ideas put forward by the architects. If you let yourself consider them instead of blindly saying no, you might realise that it is much better than what you had in mind.
You might have to rework on the plan several times, but settle only when you are sure that you have got it right.
6. The Practical Budgeting
You originally had a budget planned in mind, this is where the real cost estimation happens. It might vary depending on the area of the house, the location including any transportation charges, delivery charges etc.
You can invite bids from multiple builders at this stage. In a few cases, the builder would source the materials themselves. You can choose the right team for you on who offers the best value for the budget.
When both you and the builder has agreed on the estimate, decide the terms for signing the construction contract.
7. Loan and Insurance
If you had bought the property, you might have already started the process. If not, this is the time to apply for a construction loan.
It is also important that you take out construction insurance before you start with the building. There are different types of insurance that you will need to have.
- Insurance to cover against any unforeseen loss from damages like fire, flood, vandalism, etc.
- Insurance provided by builders against any accident at the construction site. Make sure the builder you hire is ready to offer this.
- Insurance for worker’s compensation. Depending on whether the builder is hiring workers or subcontracting them, you or the builder will need to take this one.
Once you have the plan ready, you should apply for the local authority sanction to start building the house. It is imminent that you do this to avoid any trouble with the law in the later stages.
A building permit is usually acquired from the department of housing in your locality. You will need to provide the required documents, architectural drawings and details and pay a small fee to secure one.
Depending on the type of construction, you will need to comply with the building codes and zones to procure this.
A few mandatory permits include
- Water permit
- Electrical permit
- Septic Tank permit
- Mechanical Permit
Again, in a few cases, you might also need to obtain permits for fire and safety and an environmental permit.
Today, architects and builders do offer to help you with the process of obtaining this permit. You need to discuss this with them whether they provide the services or whether you need to do it yourself.
Till now, you are in the planning stage of your house. After this is when the real process of building your house happens.
Not everyone is familiar with the stages of construction. Of course, there are experts among you who can build a house all alone. However, for those who are still in the blindside of it, it is wise to know what is happening to be able to oversee things.
Here are the different stages involved in building a house.
1. The Foundation
The most important part of any building is its foundation. The first step is to mark out the outline of the structure and excavate earth based on the foundation you are using. It will also depend on whether you have a basement or not.
The type of foundation for the building is determined by the kind of soil in the region and other geographical aspects. A structural engineer decides the thickness and size based on the load and the height of the walls. The foundation could either be done by pouring concrete in a mould or using a block foundation.
2. The Floor
The next step is to set the base of the building floor. These are either done with concrete called the slab on grade or with the wood called the pier and beam floor.
At this point, it is necessary to make sure that the plumbing lines are placed accurately, as once the slab is poured, it is difficult to change them.
3. The Walls
After the flooring is set, you mark the wall lines leaving openings for doors, windows, and other openings. If it is done with wall framing, the frames are done first. A few areas require earthquake proofing, so special metal straps are using at the joints to provide resistance.
Metal straps are used to brace the walls in the exterior and are nailed in place.
The other kind of walls is the laid out with bricks. It is held in place by using mortar.
4. The Roof
There are truss roofs and slab roofs to choose from. For truss roofs, the frame with the rafters and joists are installed first. You can also get prefab trusses that are ready to install. It is also an option to leave space for an attic in the roof.
The slab roofs are done by setting frames and pouring concrete like the floors. You would need a structural engineer to decide the reinforcement and thickness of the slab.
You would also need to install a water and moisture barrier on the roof. The type and method of fixing it will depend on the type of roof again.
For the exterior, there are a wide variety of materials to choose from. A few include metal sheet panels, tiles, shingles, etc. Choose from these depending on the weather, cost, and durability of the product.
5. Plumbing and Wiring
The exterior is done after the roofing, and you have to start with installing the pipes for the plumbing.
Along the same time, it is also wise to set up the wires for heat and air conditioning.
Depending on the climate of the region, you will have to install insulation for heat also.
6. The Inner Walls
Now is time to separate the rooms inside. Wall panels made of gypsum or wood are kept in place after leaving a quarter inch above the floor to avoid moisture getting on from the floors. You could also choose the wall material from many recyclable and upcoming trends in the market. The doors for the inner walls are also installed now.
7. The Ceiling
After the wiring is in place, the next step is to proceed with the ceiling design. You will have to leave outlets for light fixtures and decide on the type of ceiling from the many available in the market. Gypsum board, plywood panels and lumber are few of the conventional materials used for ceilings.
The bathroom and kitchen plumbing fixtures are installed at this stage along with any other accessories required. It is also time to fix the light fixtures, sockets, install heaters and anything else to finish up the electric wiring.
9. Cabinets and Wallcoverings
It is time to get to the decor part. If you have planned to do any cabinets as a part of the structure, you should do it at this time. It includes kitchen cabinets, closets, wardrobes, etc.
You can also get to the fun part of picking the wallpapers and choosing the trims for the inner walls. Painting, if required is also done now.
The last part of the building work is to install the flooring. If you are going with carpet flooring, remember that you need to install the baseboards first. Apart from that, you can choose from a variety of materials according to your taste.
This article covers the necessary steps of how to build your house. To make it your home, you can either let the interior designer do the magic or do it yourself. It is in fact, the best part of the whole run.
So take a deep breath and enjoy the journey of building your house.