17 Steps To Building a House (Design and Cost) – Guide for Prospective Home Owners / Clients

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Building a house is a long process that involves a lot of planning in the preliminary stage of the project. Once a client has decided on building a home, they should consult relevant professionals in the construction industry that will help them achieve their goals. The building contractor is the first professional that comes in the mind of a prospective home owner, but before you consult a construction firm you have to consult two professionals – i) an Architect or certified Building Designer who will design your desired home, and ii) a Construction Cost Estimator whose role is to calculate the cost of building of a house in a specific region or location.

If you have the budget, you should allow the Architect to come up with at least two or three design alternatives. Get the input of people that you intend to stay with in the finished house i.e. your partner, kids and relatives. This input will be critical in determining the final plan that suits everybody, but remember that the plan has to be adjusted by the Architect to comply with building regulations and codes.


Where To Get Home Designs?

If you are short on ideas, the Architect can give you ideas obtained from a portfolio of completed works. You can also find inspiration from local homes constructed in your neighbourhood, works by other architects and building contractors. There are a lot of resources to find home designs, and you can find a variety of home styles without leaving your home. Just by browsing the internet on your laptop, you can visit home design websites such as Maramani to view dozens of home styles. All you need to do is choose your desired plan and get an Architect or design consultant to modify the plan to suit local conditions and regulations. The plan has to be submitted to the local building authority for approval, this is usually your town/city municipality. Every revision has to be approved by the municipality or city council. By working with a local Architect, you will not have problems in approving your architectural drawings because they are familiar with the regulations.

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Custom Design or Ready Made Designs?

A question that most prospective home owners will ask is whether to get a custom design or pick a ready-made design. A custom design is a non-existent design that has to be designed from scratch and a ready-made design is a complete design alternative available for cherry-picking by the client.

If your budget is limited, it is smart to get a ready-made design because there are no design costs involved. All you need to pay for is the house plans available in digital CAD files or blueprints. The price is way lower than a custom home. Designing a custom home is more costly as the Architect will charge you an hourly fee or percentage fee based on the contract. As an example, you can get a ready-made 3 bedroom house plan for US$250 and a custom design for US$4,000. Now that’s quite a big difference.

In terms of cost, the benefits of getting a ready-made template are clear, but if you need a unique home, you have to get a custom house plan.

What is the Cost of Building a House?

So you have hired a certified building designer to design your house, but there is one thing that you are worried about – you still don’t know how much it will cost to build your house. Architectural drawings, especially 3D models are so beautiful and eye-catching. They show the real life representation of your home in its finished state. In the process of designing your home, you got carried away by the beauty of the 3D model, and you overlooked the cost involved. Upon consulting a Construction Cost Estimator to estimate the cost of your proposed home, you realized that the cost is out of your budget and too much for you. Don’t worry, you are not alone, this is a familiar scenario that is encountered by most clients. The design process is a stage for testing the feasibility of your proposals and ideas. Your proposals are tested against a variety of feasibility assessments which will determine the success or failure of your project. The financial feasibility of your project is important if you are to succeed in building your house. If the cost is too high, you will be required to change your design plan and specifications. You may be required to change the floor and wall finishes, reduce the number of rooms, remove or substitute items that are too costly.

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Most construction projects are aborted because of lack of critical funds that are required at each stage of the construction process. Knowing the anticipated cost of your construction project in the planning stage allows you to budget the required money. A Construction Estimator (or Quantity Surveyor) can calculate the cost of building a home before construction begins. This estimating professional can find the cost of building your home from initial drawings, producing relevant cost estimates and documents at each stage as more drawings are produced by the Architect.

There are many methods of estimating the cost of building a house, but there are 4 methods used by professional quantity surveyors, all which depend on the available information at the time of estimation. The final cost document prepared in the late planning and design stage is the Bills of Quantities.

Before the project is open for contractor bidding, the Estimator will produce a detailed BOQ (Bills of Quantities) that has to be priced by selected contractors. The best price, which is often the lowest price (but not necessarily the lowest) is chosen by the Estimator, who also takes the role of Tender Evaluator in this procedure.

To find the rough cost of building a house in your town or city, multiply the Building Gross Floor Area by the Cost Per Square Metre:

Building Gross Floor Area x Cost Per Square Metre = Cost of Building

To keep track of your building costs, you have to hire a Quantity Surveyor as soon as you get the first drawings from your home designer.

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The exact steps to building a house are outlined below:

Steps to Building a House:

  1. Choose Your Location
  2. Buy Land or Plot
  3. Get an Architect or Certified Building Designer
  4. Produce Alternative Building Plans
  5. Get a Cost Estimate
  6. Compare Costs of Building Plans
  7. Get your Building Plans Approved
  8. Get Building Finance
  9.  Consider Insurance Needs for Your New House
  10. Prepare Bills of Quantities and Tender Documents
  11. Get Construction Tenders for Your House
  12. Choose the Best Contractor
  13. Preliminaries – Site Setup
  14. Start Building Your House
  15. Monitor Progress on Site
  16. Pay the Contractor
  17. Contractor To Prepare House For Handover to Client


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