Design Your Own House, Making Sure It’s Right Before It’s Built
November 12, 2013
Design Your Own House
What to do when you have had plans drawn up
To design your own house or home is one of the things that many of us would like to do at some point in our lives. The normal course of action is to find land, find and architect and head of down the dreamy path of being able to build a home that is completely free of niggles and designed solely for you own needs. There are many programs like Grand Designs where you can see some of the few that realise this dream. But what as the common mistakes people make and how can you mitigate the risks?
Design Your Own House – A Good Architect
This goes with out saying however it is surprising how many want to cut a cost here and that can bring with it a whole host of problems. The number of times I have heard builders moan about how poor an architects plans are is quite worrying. The reason you need to choose carefully is because any mistakes or errors that occur whilst building your own house that do not work in reality will be left with your builder to resolve. This can cause strains on the relationship you have with your builder as it is going to be them you are getting angry with. So before you jump the gun ask what caused the problem. If it is not the builders fault then get the architect and the builder together. Remember the architect is officially by definition a master builder.
Design Your Own House – Project Management
Now I am a bit out to town on this, the programs say employ a project manager to oversee the work and your architect should be willing to do this for a fee. However again the amount of times that I see a project go over budget, even if it is project managed, is again quite worrying. Personally if I was having a project manager I would tie their pay to how close to the budget they are. For example if they drift miles away from the budget then they ought not to be paid, however a word of caution on the same note. Clients can be terrible for asking for other things outside of the agreed specification especially when it comes to the design your own house.
Design Your Own House – Getting An Itemised Quote
This is a word of advice about how to get the right builder and avoid the job going ridiculously over budget. In the first instance you will want to find a builder who you can work with when building your own house. You probably have a few in mind. You will ask them for quotes for the work and this is a good basis for you to make a short list of those that your prefer. However some people actually go ahead and instruct their builder on the strength of this quote. Or worse still go ahead and build on the estimated cost from the architect???. Without really understanding what the quote contained. This is the NUMBER ONE reason for fall outs and running out of money.
Design Your Own House – What Is The Number One Reason For Fall Outs?
The number one reason for fall outs is things not being included or PROVISIONAL SUMS. These are basically allowances for items and most of the quote can be made up of provisional sums. I have seen and heard of provisional sums for one item being £0000’s out from what was allowed and it does not take many of them to suddenly catapult a project from being affordable to utterly ridiculous. I have also seen people try to create your own house because someone started building on the strength of an architects ESTIMATED COSTS. It seems ridiculous to write it but it happens don’t be one of the few who get caught up in the dream of create your own house and miss the detail.
So how to avoid them. Personally I would allow the builders to price in their usual fashion so you can whittle it down to a couple that you like. Choose based on whether you think they can deliver on the quality and price you were expecting. Before you instruct the builder I would do some more leg work. I would invite the builder to see you for a second time to discuss the design your own house with them. Let them know that you have created a short list and they are down to the last two. However make it clear that before you proceed you want a more detailed quote, to remove most of the provisional sums.
Design Your Own Home – Create a List
Love them or hate them I do not hear of people doing this! Ask the builder to send you the items they have allowed provisional sums for. In the meantime write yourself a list of the things you want and what they are. For example a builder will make a provisional sum for a staircase in most cases it will be based on the least expensive. However in your mind you have the vision of an handmade oak staircase, so think of the big ticket items. It also rears it’s ugly head in smaller items like sockets and lights. A builder will make a provisional sums for one light per room. But in your mind you have 12 ceiling spot lights planned in one room?? so the think of everything and make your list covers everything from staircases, floor finishes, lighting to sockets, light switches and kitchens.
Design Your Own House – What’s Next
When you have your own EXTENSIVE list for the design of your own house, you can cross reference this with the builders. This is likely to throw up some other items you had not thought of. What you need at the end of this process is an extensive list and a full specification of what you want. This might take a few weeks but when the design your own house is your dream then it will be worth it ten fold in the end. You will need to forward this list to both builders and ask them to provide you with a full and detailed quote NO PROVISIONAL SUMS. You may even offer to pay for their time as this is going to take them quite a while. Think about it if you were asked to work a couple of days for free would you?? Maybe you could offer them £300-£500 to spend the time doing this. That way even if they do not get the job they have covered their time.
Make it clear to the builder that you are wanting them to agree not to go over budget and make sure everything is agreed up front. The more time you can spend doing this will make the job easier and the builder grateful you did.