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  • Writer's pictureArcht. Ilmi Dissanayake

Don't Start Your Dream House Project Before You Read This

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

In this article you’re going to learn the important steps that will save you a lot of money, time and headaches when building your dream house.


1. Budget


First and foremost, decide on the budget that you are comfortable spending for your house.


Because the size of the house depends on your budget. Bigger houses cost more. If what you really like to have exceeds your budget, you may end up having a big, yet unfinished house that you cannot immediately occupy.



Instead, if you are tight on a budget, you can build a small house, fully finish with nice materials, fully furnish, and quickly construct and start living there.



2. Requirement


Be clear on what kind of spaces you want in your home such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, how you need to have your living, dining spaces, whether you have special needs like a pool or a terrace.



If you have a spouse, it is very important that you speak with them about what they prefer. If you have kids, grown up kids, or any other family members like parents who will live with you in the long run, you definitely have to have that discussion with them to find out their ideas and expectations from the house. This is because what they prefer might be a bit different from what you prefer.



Once you communicate your requirement to your Architect, they do the design based on that. Unless you first had that discussion to find the needs of other family members, they might come up with different requirements after looking at the design.

This is not going to help your Architect. Because then the Architect must go back and forth doing the same things all over again. It’s also going to waste your time and money.


So be upfront with your Architect. Talk to others who are going to live with you in your house. Get their requirement as well from the very beginning to be clear on what you want in your house.


3. Pictures


Now you have the budget and your requirement cleared up. It’s time to look for images.


Find images of house designs on the internet, the work of Architects.



One very good website for Architectural designs is archdaily.com.


Go through the images and collect what you like.


What we are trying to do here is to get a basic idea on what kind of aesthetics that you like.


Always stick to one theme. What you wouldn’t want to do is selecting images of all kinds of styles. For instance, modern house exterior images and the interior images of Victorian style, with rustic designer furniture.



You wouldn’t want your house to look like a combination of bits and pieces of everything. It does not look nice. Always settle down for a single theme. Help your Architect understand what you like and what you don’t like.


4. Architect


Everything for your house starts with the Architect, not the engineer or the contractor or anyother professional. You don’t have to worry about them just yet. The best person who can helpyou materialize your ideal home is always an Architect. Not any other decorator, draftsperson or any kind of other designer.


Only an Architect can understand your requirement and have the ability to design spaces that can serve you even better than you expect, by thinking things through.



For instance, you may not know what the spaces in your house would be like, what they

provide. But just by describing your ideas, what you want in your daily life, what other family members want, and showing the pictures that you have collected, your Architect can understand your needs. Then they can design the spaces to provide for your needs in the best possible way.



But there are so many Architects and how do you know which one would give you the best solution?


It depends exactly on what YOU want.


Look at their previous designs. Go to their websites or find them on social media platforms and go through their house designs. See if their design sense matches what you like. Look for the special values that they are delivering. Is it cost-effective design? Is that something you want? Or regardless of the cost, are they very efficient in delivering a project? Do they do energy-efficient designs? Are they concerned about the environment through sustainability aspects? Is that also something that you would value?



If you’re looking to build a house that would make you healthier and help you be at peace of mind, you can check our website and schedule a free call with me.


See what makes them special in their work.


It is important to find someone who’s willing to listen to your ideas and be flexible a person that you’re comfortable expressing yourself to.



Because communication from the very beginning is the key in realizing your dream house. Just tell them everything you want, from the start. It’s as simple as that.


5. Architectural Brief


Once you select an Architect, they’re first going to prepare the brief for your house. Tell them your budget, your requirement, and show all those pictures that you collected. Pictures always make it easier for you to convey your ideas to the Architect.


Here the Architect will tell you the spaces that you want to include by looking at what you expect from your house which is called Architectural Brief.


For example, if you would like to be closer to nature, they may suggest to include an indoor garden/ a courtyard/ or a green terrace.



For instance, if your requirement exceeds your budget, your Architect will also tell that to you. They will give you solutions on how to optimize the space, maybe by including convertible spaces or flexible furniture. If you must reduce the number of rooms or bathrooms, they will also explain that to you.


So here what we do is analyze your requirement and budget to arrive at the brief which is a list of all the spaces that you will have in your home. It includes the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, how many attached bathrooms, the number of parking slots, how you would want the living, dining and kitchen arranged, whether you want it to be single-story, or two-story, etc.



Help your Architect by always being sure of everything that you want from the very beginning.


7. Design


Now your Architect will begin designing the house.



During the designing process, they will let you make design changes. When you see the design, plans and 3D images, there could be certain things that you would want to change. Let your Architect know and they will do revisions for you.


The Architect will also look at the government regulations, local codes that are relevant for the area and apply them to the design.



It is very important to that you never make design changes when you start constructing your house.


Let’s say, your house is under construction. You just want to shift one bathroom from its location and attach it to another bedroom. Now you will not only be moving the space, but also moving the plumbing work, the electric conduits with it. They need to be re-connected to the already laid out grids. You have to refill the existing drop for the bathroom and then drop the floor again at its new location. All of these changes cost you extra money, extra time, and result in material wastage.


This is why you have to always be sure of everything you want and freeze the design before construction.


6. Other professionals


When the designing begins, your Architect will look for other professionals that are needed for your project.



i. Structural Engineer


You need a structural engineer to design the structure. They are the ones who do load

calculations, decide the column locations, sizes of beams and columns, foundation and all of that. They make sure that your house does not fall off, have cracks or have any other defects so that you can feel safe inside it.



ii. MEPF (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection) Consultants


Mechanical and Plumbing

Mechanical and Plumbing go hand in hand, for a house, this is done by a mechanical engineer. They are responsible for the heating and cooling systems, refrigeration and plumbing work of your house.



Electrical Engineer

An electrical engineer would calculate the power demand for the house and do the electrical design.



If you're looking to build a smart home by automating everything to control through your smartphone, then you need to consult an ELV (Extra Low Voltage) Engineer.


Fire Protection

For a house, the fire protection system is also designed by the mechanical engineer or you can assist a FLS (Fire Life Safety) Consultant for this.



Cost Consultant (Quantity Surveyor/ QS)

A cost consultant is the one who prepares the Bill of Quantities (BOQ). It shows a complete list of everything that is required for building your house. Every material is included in quantities, such as how much cement and sand, how many bricks and also the labor rates. Afterwards the QS will price the BOQ and this gives you the exact price estimate to construct your house.



They will also prepare the contract document that you will need to sign with a contractor


Architect acts as the team leader of your project and will coordinate all these consultants, so you don’t have to worry about it.


8. Contractors


To build your house, you need to find a contractor. In order to get it built exactly as in the

design, it is very important that you find a qualified contractor.



This is a subject area that most people fear. Most people believe that signing a contract would cost them more money but in reality, it’s vice-versa. Your Architect helps you in this process as well. I’m discussing this in more detail on our next blog article, so make sure you read that to find more information.


9. Construction



You can begin building your house after selecting a contractor. You have to pay between 20- 30% of down payment for the contractor to start working.


Then you pay them as the building is getting built. In a proper contract, even after the building is fully completed, you don’t pay the contractor 100% of the project cost, you will be keeping 2.5% to 5% as a retention amount. We are keeping this as a security. When you start living in the house, some defects can show up such as some lights that don’t work properly or some cracks that have come up on walls. The contractor will rectify all these defects within 365 days’ time period, and you will be releasing the retention only after that. Your Architect will help you in identifying these defects as well


These steps may look a bit complex for you, but they give you an understanding of what

happens in the project from beginning to the end. You’ll know what to do and what not to when making decisions. If you hire an Architect, there’s nothing to worry about as they will walk you through every single step from the initial discussion you have, tell you exactly what to do and what not to, until you get your dream home built just the way you want.

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