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Who Will I Engage To Design My Dream Home?

Once you have decided that renovating your home is the right solution for you, you will want to find the best/right person to help you design the most useful, cost effective, and beautiful home renovation. The right person will help you navigate through the many challenges of designing a home and help you create your dream home.

In this article I will outline 4 different approaches you can take. You can:

Design it yourself

Engage an Architect

Engage a Building Designer or Drafter

Engage a Design and Construction Specialist

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options.

Designing it yourself

Designing your own home can be fun and exciting, if you have the basic skills and tools. You will need a plan of the existing home drawn to scale, some skill in drawing or in using a computer drafting programme, and some knowledge of construction.

You need to know how a floor is constructed so it is properly supported, how a roof works, and how walls are used to support both.

It is a real advantage to know optimal room sizes and proportions, where stairs work best, and how large windows and doors should be for ventilation, light, and aesthetics.

Knowing about load bearing walls will save you engineering costs.

Engaging an Architect

Architects are trained to design buildings and often architects specialise in larger commercial projects. Many are not experienced in home design. Find an Architect whose projects you have seen and admire.

Architect designed projects tend to cost a lot more than conventional projects because of the cost of building unusual details. Many Architects are not familiar with building costs, as their focus is on the design. It can be disappointing if the building quotes are received and they are outside your budget.

A good Architect should have excellent knowledge of construction and provide a practical and aesthetically pleasing plan, which is the best option if you want an iconic design or a particularly difficult or complex building.

Architect fees can be as much as 10% of the building cost if they also manage the build.

Engaging a Building Designer

Building Designers, like Architects, are trained to design buildings. They should have a working knowledge of construction, but I have seen many plans where it is obvious that the designer has little idea how a building is put together making construction difficult and costly. They are not expected to have the imagination or design flair of an Architect.

Most will simply prepare drawing as per your instructions, without questioning your ideas.

Designers and Drafters tend not to be familiar with building costs as that is not their focus or experience.

Engaging a Design and Construction Specialist

A Design and Construction Specialist will have good design flair, and also be familiar with building techniques and construction costs. They can produce a realistic budget before proceeding with detailed plans and costly approvals.

Many Design and Construction companies will include the design cost in the overall cost of your project.

Because they also build the project they will accept full responsibility for any design challenges that may arise, avoiding complex and costly discussion about who is to blame for poor plans.

During the design process you have the opportunity of deciding whether you enjoy working with this Builder and whether you want them to build your project.

If a Design and Construction specialist is the preferred option, check out some of their projects before committing to a design.

Choosing the right designer for your project is one of the most significant decisions you will have to make with your building project. It is well worth investigating the options and making sure you choose the person who best understands your situation, listens to your concerns and offers helpful suggestions.

– Roman Pazniewski