Designing a True Custom Home

7 Steps

Designing a true custom home with a design professional.

1. Get Inspired

Planning your new home is the most critical moment of the process and the most fun. Capitalize on the magical inspiration every project needs to make a house a home!. Write it all down; keep a scrap book, bookmark pictures in books and magazines, search the internet, take pictures, whatever your preferred method. Then review your inspirations with your Designer to consolidate the ideas into a cohesive design.

2. Find a scheme

Your Designer will work through several schematic design concepts to find the scheme that best fits your needs. Design concepts can be freehand sketches or AutoCAD drawings to capture the essence of a plan under consideration. They can be as simple as paper napkin sketches or professionally illustrated drawings. All are valid tools and each serves the purpose to convey a concept. This can typically take about 1-3 weeks.

3. Reality Check

Now that all of your ideas and dreams have been put to paper, it is time to get the project cost estimated. Your Design Professional can coordinate the professional services of a Quantity Surveyor (QS) to estimate the construction cost and feasibility of the project financially.  The QS will produce a report that outlines all the trade categories for the project and what it will cost to build each component of the building in today’s market. This report will set the budget for the project and how much it will cost to build before moving forward into more detailed drawings. This process should take about 2-3 weeks.

4. Design Development

This is the phase of the process where dimensions are added to the drawing, zoning bylaws are reviewed to ensure everything fits. Your schematic design will be developed into a dimensioned and professional drawing. With a conceptual design roughed out, scheme chosen, a theme decided upon and problems on the site ironed out, all the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together in this step. This stage should take approximately 2-6 weeks.

5. Construction / Building Permit Drawings

The design drawings are now developed into a fully detailed set of plans that can be submitted to the city or district for building permit and used for pricing (Tendering). This should take 2-6 weeks.

6. Tender Process

The tender stage involves issuing the project out to several general contractors (GC) recommended by your Design Professional to obtain pricing to build the project. It is typically recommended that you receive quotes on the cost to build from three GC’s. The selection of your GC will be based on price, references, and recommendations by your designer. This can take 4-6 weeks.

7. Construction Management

Once the job has been awarded to a GC and construction begins management is one of the most crucial steps to ensure the design concepts are built properly. Use the skills and years of experience of your Designer to help guide the construction process. This can be achieved with weekly meetings on site with the Client, Contractor, and the Designer to work out problems that arise. A small investment of time will ensure all the design details are met and will lead to a lifetime of happy surroundings.