Blue Designs - Architectural Designers

5 Things you Need to Know when Building a New House 

The first step in any major project is to learn as much as possible about the subject beforehand.  Building your own home is no exception.  However a surprisingly large number of people seem to think that anyone can design and build the home of their dreams!  The more you know about the planning and building process the more enjoyable your experience is likely to be.

Building your new home is very exciting, but it's routine for your builder - this is why you need to an active participant throughout the building process to ensure you end up with your dream home.   If you are unable or unwilling to make the committment, you will force your builder to make decisions and you will run the risk that your new home won't turn out the way you envisioned it or cost what you thought.

Here are 5 things you must know and take into consideration when building your new home: 

1. Budget.

How much house can you afford?

Usually a house is valued by it's location, number of Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Living Areas and Covered Parking.  However when you build your own home it has to be right. 

Before you start building your new home, run some numbers to determine whether you can afford to build the home you want.  It's worth approaching a Quantity Surveyor to get a bill or Quantities, or alternatively some of the larger hardware stores can also give you a bill of Quantities for a nominal fee.  Don't forget to add in labour costs and a contingency budget which should be about 15 - 20% of the total build cost. 

 2. Choose a good Builder.

Ask for referrals from people you know and trust. Your architect is an obvious source, but so are family, friends, neighbors, lawyer, real estate agent and others who have built projects similar to yours.   Are there recently completed or projects under construction in your area? Ask the owner about their contractor and the working relationship. When you have a good number of referrals, begin your research.

 3. Build with Resale in Mind.

Even though you are building your dream home will it appeal to potential buyers?  Don't add so many upgrades that you overprice your home for the neighborhood.  If you choose something out of the ordinary will it stand the test of time?

 4. Energy Efficiency. 

It is a reality that South Africa's coal reserves will probably run out by 2020.  The largest draw on the Electricity Grid is  residential homes.  We are all used to turning off appliances  that we are not using or lights in rooms that are uninhabited.   Most of us are now using low energy light bulbs and many of us are installing Solar Geysers and Heat Pumps.

Make sure you do your research to maximize energy-efficiency in the design of your new home. Your architect and builder can help ensure that your windows are North-facing so you get as much sunshine as possible heating your home. You'll want to makes sure that bathrooms, laundries and garages are on the south side of your home and have small windows to minimize heat loss. 


 5. Don't Forget the Punch!

A punch list is a list created at the end of construction that shows what needs to still be done or what needs to be repaired on the new construction. You and your contractor will create this list the week before closing when you go through your final walk through. 


It's a good idea to have your architect and Estate Agent to participate in the punch list because they are not emotionally attached to your home and may have a better eye for identifying flaws. 

Make sure you hold the money for completion of the Punch List back. This will allow you to move into your new home while still requiring the builder to complete the items on the Punch List.  Don't rush through your Punch List as you don't want to regret that you didn't take the time to fix problems.

Bear in mind that Water usage will also be restricted in future, this is because of the rising acid mine water and old mining dump pollution....  So it pays to install Indigenous Plants and Trees and think about putting in a Water Wise Garden

Call Claire - 082 399 0180 / 

011 025 4458

bluedesigns5@gmail.com

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