A new year is essentially a new beginning. As people, we hope to build productive lives and quality homes. A good house is one which is comfortable, aesthetically appealing and falls within a feasible budget. It is not an impossible task to acquire the same, rather all it requires is planning and organising. Read on to get some ideas on building an ideal house.
For right reasons
When you're planning to construct a new house, it is important to keep in mind the reasons and expectations. Recognising your reasons for moving forward with a new build and identifying your future plans helps you develop a design brief that your designer, architect or builder can turn into a workable plan. If you are unclear about your requirements, or are trying to accommodate conflicting needs, then you may be disappointed with the outcome.
In order to get it right, decide between an owner-occupier building or an investment. While this sounds simple, it is an important step with major ramifications. If you plan to live in the building, you will have certain needs and expectations, and these may be different from constructing a building for rent. Designing for your needs means different choices and spending more money as compared to building it as a rental or property for sale.
Before you start, it's always good to get some advice from your architect and builder. An architect will advise clients where best to invest in their homes and will try to recommend ways to save money and keep the job within the budget. You could also consult a contractor to get a model price on what you are planning to do.
Clarity in budget
There is a misconception that telling an architect or builder how much you plan to spend is a bad idea. It is impossible for them to advice or chalk out a good plan without knowing your budget. Having clarity about the amount you're willing to spend will allow your architect to prioritise and steer you in the right direction in terms of where your money would be best spent and what compromises need to be made.
At what price?
Be clear about the services offered and their costs, because the contractor's price covers only the construction, electrical and plumbing work, including internal doors. But, it does not include the purchase of windows, kitchens, bathroom fittings or finishing.
Do your research
It is a good idea to get quotes from different suppliers for the items that are not covered in the contractor's price. Make sure that the companies are working on a similar brief. Subtle differences also have a huge impact on the total cost. Weigh your options and compare the quotes and choose the one that offers you the best deal.
The professional's fee
If you are planning to work with an architect, speak to him or her about how their fee structure works; is it percentage-based or a fixed fee? A percentage-based fee will mean that as the budget increases, the fee would also increase. So, this is a very important to factor into your cost plan. Besides the architect's fees, you will also need to include fees for other consultants, such as structural engineers and a quantity surveyor.
Source samples of timber, architraves, floors, tiles, etc, to include on your mood board. While a lot of this can be considered interior design, your choices here will help convey the right feel you want for your home to your designer.
If you need planning permission for the work you are proposing, there will be contributions to the council. These will vary depending on the work you are planning. If you need to move out while the work is going on, for example, will you need to rent? Or will you need to pay for storage costs?
Set aside contingency
Once you have a substantial idea of what your budget is, you will need to set aside at least 10% as a contingency for any unexpected extra costs. Building projects can often run up against problems that are unpredictable from the outset.
Changes can be costly
Finally, once your project is underway, be careful about making big changes or last-minute additions. These will be things that the builder had not priced before and will add up quickly, and can lead to an add-on to the existing budget.
Consider the resale value of your new house and how you can add value to the house plans for your future. Even though you are far from having it built, thinking ahead not only improves your current lifestyle but can also result in realised gains later.
Finally, a very important aspect, the amount of light that enters the house depends on its orientation, design and placement of windows. Consider the views as well. If you are fortunate enough to have a beautiful view, then take advantage of this and plan for windows or French doors in a spot that allows you to appreciate this and provide added value.
(The author is city head - Bengaluru, SILA)