Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Designing and building a new home comes with some level of excitement. But what may seem nice in your mind or on paper doesn’t always translate well in real life. That’s why you need to ensure everything is planned thoroughly to prevent major mistakes that can cost you even more time and money in the future.
Here are 8 of the most common building design mistakes you need to avoid:
- Putting the plan before the land.
- Thinking you can do everything yourself.
- Not choosing the right consultants.
- Lacking distinction between needs and wants.
- Forgetting to consider the building orientation.
- Poor planning of space.
- Missing permits or approvals.
- Not expecting things to go wrong.
This article will outline how those mistakes can lead to poor building design. I’ll also explain how you can avoid them while designing and planning your future home.
1. Putting the Plan Before the Land
Looking at different building plans and layouts can be exciting, but don’t let your enthusiasm override the experience. There are various things – for example, lot size, landscape condition, block orientation, and the surrounding views – that can turn your plan upside down.
Most architects recommend that future homeowners consider the land before creating a design. It’s easier to make a new building plan that suits your land than forcing a pre-existing design to be built on an unsuitable lot.
Save yourself the trouble and be patient. Wait until you’ve chosen your lot before choosing your dream house design.
2. Thinking You Can Do Everything Yourself
You may be the king or queen of DIY, but you must understand that you cannot design and build a house independently. The scope of the project is too large for it to be a one-person show.
And no, doing everything yourself will not help you save money. This is a common misconception – many people think they can save a few extra bucks by doing everything themselves. In reality, you’ll be more likely to make major mistakes. This also means that you’ll end up spending more money somewhere along the line hiring a professional to fix those issues.
To make sure your home designing and building process goes smoothly, you’ll need a group of experts to help you. This may include designers, architects, contractors, and more. Their skill sets, expertise, and experience will translate into better quality and higher efficiency. This, in turn, means less stress for you and fewer costly mistakes.
3. Not Choosing the Right Consultants
One of the most common mistakes people make is forgetting that having the right consultants is essential to any home-building process. Having a team of professionals with the right expertise will help the process go more smoothly.
Insufficient research and rushed decisions will only leave you with a team of incompetent consultants that don’t understand what you want or need.
Make sure to do your due diligence by getting information about your prospective consultants. This includes:
- Asking for referrals.
- Researching their reputation.
- Reviewing their portfolio and previous work.
- Comparing quotes.
- Checking online reviews.
- Speaking to previous clients (if possible).
This information will give you insights into their work style, the quality of work they provide, and many more. Once you’re armed with everything you need, you can move on to choosing the right consultants to make up your dream team!
4. Lacking Distinction Between Needs and Wants
Having complete creative control when designing and building a home can be exciting. However, forgetting to define your needs and wants may result in some serious problems – especially for your budget!
Sure, you’d love to have a spacious home gym or two gorgeous, complete kitchens. But do you really need them?
Getting caught up in all sorts of ideas and features can quickly result in a messy building design – so be careful not to get carried away.
Not sure where to draw the line between your wants and needs?
Before you start designing your property, write down five things you absolutely need in your new home and five things that would be nice to have. Then, discuss them with your consultants, and don’t be afraid to make some compromises along the way!
5. Forgetting To Consider the Building Orientation
Another common mistake people make is forgetting to consider the building or block orientation.
Orientation essentially means what direction your house is facing. It seems like a simple, inconsequential thing. However, it can make the difference between a nice comfortable home and an unpleasant place to live in!
Think about the direction of your rooms and windows. How much sun will they get throughout the year? Maximizing sun exposure and natural light can help you in the lighting, heating, and cooling department.
Lighting accounts for 25-30% of your electricity bill, while heating and cooling take up around 43%. So, planning your house’s orientation properly can also help you save thousands of dollars in the future.
6. Poor Planning of Space
Poor planning of space is a common problem people stumble upon while planning their building’s design.
Using too much or too little space can spell trouble.
You can’t use every single inch of space in your future home to place your furniture. You’ll also need space for sitting down, walking, working, and more.
At the same time, leaving empty, undefined spaces scattered around can break the building’s design flow and make your home seem messy.
7. Missing Permits or Approvals
It’s easy to get carried away with all the glitz and glamour of designing a home. After all, who wants to worry about bureaucracy when they can create lovely design mood boards instead?
That said, getting all your permits and approvals on time is essential for the entire project. In the best-case scenario, missing or late paperwork can result in a fine or delay the project. But in the worst-case scenario, missing permits can result in a building prohibition order.
That’s why, as boring as it may be, obtaining all the necessary permits and approvals is important to the successful completion of the project.
Your consultants should be able to advise you on which permits you will need and how you can obtain them.
8. Not Expecting Things To Go Wrong
It’s foolish to think everything will go smoothly all of the time. Even the best-laid plans made by the most professional team of consultants can go awry. So, you must always be prepared if things go wrong.
You might encounter errors and mishaps from time to time – and that’s okay! When that happens, remind yourself to calm down and ask your consultants for some advice on how to move forward.
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