11 Steps To Building Your New Home

February 27, 2021

11 Steps To Building Your New Home

Building a new home is exciting but also daunting.

The excitement of planning a home that suits you nd your family can be overcome with the fear of making a mistake, forgetting something or just making a complete mess.

Like all things if you take your time in thinking and planning you will go a long way to having the home of your dreams.

These 11 steps will guide you through the process of building your new home that is designed to suit the needs and desires of you and your family.

 

New Home

 

#1 Sketch the Floor Plan of Your Dream Home

This is the basic vision of your house. 

You'll need to get a pencil, eighth-inch graph paper and a ruler, and get a drawing. 

What you need to do is put down basic room information and sizes. 

As a guide use your current home as the benchmark. 

Think about the additions (or deletions if you’re downsizing). 

For example 

  • Do you want an open-plan kitchen, bay windows and a porch? 
  • Would you like to turn that fourth bedroom into a laundry room and have direct access to the garage?

As you sketch your house plan, think about the flow from one room to another. 

This is the time to let your imagination free

Find inspiration from magazines, check out new homes for sale, check out Pinterest.

Consider the overall architectural design of your home. Do you want a modern or traditional, craftsman or cottage? 

New Home Plans

 

Key Aspects With Your New Home Floor Plan

So what does a floor plan show?

A floor plan is a drawing showing a view from above that’s drawn to scale. 

The information recorded shows the relationships between rooms and other elements within the space such built-in cabinetry, columns and furniture.

Dimensions are recorded to specify room sizes, lengths and height etc. 

They are the measured distance between two points e.g. from one wall to another wall or from the to a door opening etc.

Step 1. Getting Started.

Gather the tool’s you will need to get started. You will need:

☐ Measuring Tape

 ☐ Paper (graph paper if you feel you can’t sketch straight!)

☐ A clipboard

☐ 3 different coloured pens, e.g Red, Blue, Black (for first timers start with a pencil first until you the hang of it in case you need to erase).


Step 2. What to do next.

  1. Walk around the room (or rooms) to familiarise yourself with space.
  2. Using the clipboard to lean on, take your black pen and paper and commence sketching the outline of the room. Be sure to leave enough white space around the outside of your sheet of paper to record the dimensions (measurements).
  3. Show the following room elements:

 ☐ Openings e.g. windows and doors

 ☐ Positions of any fixtures i.e. fireplaces, kitchen benches, WC’s.

☐ Relationships between rooms, and label each.


Step 3. Take your measuring tape and start measuring then record the room dimensions.

As a lot of information is recorded on a floor plan, it helps to use a different colour pen, in this case use a blue pen. Generally, you need to note the following information on a plan:

☐ Wall lengths

☐ Door openings and widths

☐ Door openings and widths

☐ Any other fixed elements within the room such cabinetry, structural columns, fire-places, radiators etc.


Tips and Tricks

  • Always measure in millimetres, generally, a 1:100 or 1:50 scale is used for a room.
  • Measure the longest wall first.
  •  If your measuring tape can not reach the length of the room, place a marker such as a pen or piece of masking tape to mark where the tape measure ends and then continue to measure from that point to the end of the room
  • Record the overall dimension as well as the individual dimensions. It's quite easy to record something incorrectly by mistake, if you have an overall dimension you can work backwards to figure out what it should be.
  • It's always easier and faster to have someone assist in holding the tape measure. 
  • One can read out the dimension while the other notates it on the plan. If measuring by yourself, place the measuring tape on the floor, it is more stable that way.

Step 4. Record Lighting and Electrical Information.

Using the red pen note the locations for all of the electrical and lighting information. This includes:

☐ Light switches

☐ Power outlets

☐ Wall lights

☐ Pendant Lights

☐ Recessed light fittings

☐ Security systems

☐ Speakers

☐ Control panels

☐ Location of T.V cable

☐ Metre boards

☐ Switchboards.

Someone drawing house plans

 

Step 5. Sketch Room Elevations

Once you have recorded all of the information for your plan viewit's time to elevate up and not the heights of things.

✔ Grab a fresh sheet of paper and a black pen (or pencil for first-timers).

✔ Stand facing the wall you want to measure.

✔ Draw the image that you see onto the paper (this is an elevation).

✔ Record the position of the windows and doors etc.

✔ Draw a dimension line to indicate the heights of the following:

✔ Ceiling height

✔ Underside of cornice

✔ Door Heights

✔ Window Heights

✔ Skirting Heights

✔ Built-in Furniture Heights


Step 6. Take photographs or a video of the rooms to refer to later.

It's always good to have a memory prompt.

Step 7. Draw your Floor Plan to Scale!

Not that you have gathered all of the information needed, draw the space to scale using a scale ruler and graph paper, as mentioned previously if drawing up your whole house plan, stick to a scale of 1:100 or 1:50 for a room and 1:20 for an elevation.

TIP: Note the longest dimensions of the floor plan first and work inwards from there to record walls with door and window openings. 

Make sure you leave enough space to record all of the dimensions.

Step 8. Furniture Placement

So once you have your floor plans drawn to scale you will be able to see how to place furniture and what sizes will work best.

If you have already furniture in mind, draw the items to scale on graph paper too. 

Then cut them out and overlay them on the plan. 

This will allow you to move the pieces around freely and reposition them to see if they will fit in the location you desire.

Once you have done your sketch time for step

 

#2 Check If Your Site’s in an Architecturally Restricted Area

Some residential developments have an Architectural Review Board (ARB), a Design Review Committee (DRC) or an Architectural Review Committee (ARC). 

Its role is to maintain the character and property values of the neighbourhood.

If your new home or remodelling project is in such a development, it’s important you get the board’s design criteria before you start the design process. 

Your architect or house designer (see next step) will need to know all ARB criteria and restrictions as these are incorporated into the design.

You’ll have to submit your draft house plan to the relevant authority for review, 

The authority will evaluate your plans to make sure your home will fit the look and feel of the neighbourhood.

 

#3 Find a Professional Residential Architect or Designer

The next step is to hire a professional that will turn your sketch into a computerized blueprint that you can use to get bids from builders. 

You can approach architects or house designers for this. 

Both offer similar services and have similar skills, and both have different levels of experience, so you’ll need to phone around and find one that suits you and your budget. 

Ask for references and ask them what their process is.

It’s important you feel comfortable with the person who’ll be designing your dream home.

After engaging a professional, you’ll be invited to a meeting to discuss your sketch and vision in more detail. 

Be prepared for questions about the way you want your home designed. 

For example:

  • What sort of exterior do you want (stucco, siding or brick) and what sort of roof material (shingles, metal or tile)? 
  • Do you have any easements or setbacks on the lot or is your house in an architecturally restricted area? 

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers at this stage. The professional will help you. 

Once the main questions are answered, work can begin on the blueprint. 

Using a specialized computer program, the architect or house designer will produce a house plan that meets minimum safety and building standards, maximizes space, and doesn’t exceed your total square footage. 

The aim should be to maximize the potential of your design within the budget you’ve agreed.

Your sketch will need reviewing and refining. 

It takes a little time to create an accurate floor plan that a builder will accept, and there are bound to be changes made along the way.

A new home being built

 

#4 Find a Reputable Building Contractor

Draw up a shortlist of reputable builders, then call for estimates based on your newly created house design plans. 

While you’re talking to them, ask for references (i.e. past customers that you can call for a review). 

You may also want to visit some of their job sites to get an overview of how they work.

It’s important your house design is ready before you contact a builder. 

They’ll need a good idea of what your home is going to look like before they can give you an estimate. 

Your architect or house designer will provide you with a PDF version of the design plans, which you can email to builders.

Always check the status of a contractor’s license before you hire. Various government departments maintain databases and updates on the performance of building companies. Check these before you hire any builder

 

#5 Coordinate with Truss and Structural Engineers

The contractor that you hire will be the one who takes your custom house design to the relevant engineers for approval. 

If you are acting as the general contractor you will need to pick a truss company to acquire the truss manufactures engineering required by the structural engineer. 

Generally, structural engineers cannot do there work until they have truss engineering. 

Please note truss engineering and structural engineering are not the same.

Truss Engineering

Wooden Roof Truss

The first port of call is a truss engineer. Trusses are basically support structures that can span a large space due to their triangular shape.

In residential construction, wooden trusses are often used to support roofs because they’re incredibly strong, more economical than solid beams, and be can just about any shape. 

The truss engineer will ensure the truss in your design has the stability, strength and rigidity required to support your roof.

Structural Engineering

The second port of call is the structural engineer, who will check not only the structural soundness of your house but also the ground conditions of your lot. 

In the case of remodels, he or she will ensure the new roof, walls or foundation won’t overload your home’s existing structure.

The reports that the truss and structural engineers produce are used to get your construction permits from the local authorities.  It also gives the green light to the builder.

 

#6 Get Your Permits

Whether you’re building a house from scratch, remodelling or putting on an addition, you’ll need to get the relevant permits from your local authority before work begins.

If you don’t, you could end up with a heavy fine.

Each city, government or local council has its own rules and way of doing things, so it’s worth taking the time to read carefully the regulations in your area

 

#7 Choose Your Materials

You need to consider everything, from windows and counter-tops to doors, paint and fixtures and fittings. 

Your builder should be able to give you some advice on preferred suppliers in your local area. 

Keep in mind your budget while shopping!

 

#8 Get Final Quote and Contract for Construction

Once your permits are approved it’s time to get that final quote from the builder. 

Once you’ve accepted it, you’ll be asked to sign a contract for construction. 

This binding agreement between you and the builder will set out what you can expect in terms of performance and timelines. It will also specify the payment terms.

Make sure you understand the scope of the work to be carried out (i.e. know what’s not included, not only what is included). 

Consider having an attorney review the contract for you. 

Construction projects are long and complex, and there are many pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid.  

Having a specialist check the contract for you will give you peace of mind.

New home being built

#9 Start Building

It’s time to get building. 

How long it takes to construct your house will depend on numerous factors. 

Everything is determined by the:

  • the complexity of your house design plans, 
  • the ground condition of your site, and 
  • the process adopted by the builder:
  • from laying the foundation and 
  • putting up rough framing to installing insulation, 
  • dry walls and interior trim.

 

#10 Get Your House Inspected

Okay, your house is built, but you can’t move in yet. 

It needs to be inspected, approved and certified that it’s suitable for occupation.

Your house will have been inspected periodically during construction in line with the relevant building code and all other applicable laws. 

A final inspection is required after all the work is done. 

It is unlawful to occupy your home if you do not have a Certificate of Occupancy or a Certificate of Completion.

The final inspection of your house is carried out by a local government agency or building department. 

Note that it is your duty as the permit holder to schedule the inspection. It is not the responsibility of the builder.

Couple hanging a print on wall

#11 Move In!

The inspection is done, the builder’s been paid, the waiting is over. 

Now you can move into your custom-designed home.  

Now you can enjoy life in your new home.

 




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