Why can't we find the perfect plan?
What is it about an architectural design that makes it suitable, a perfect fit for you and your family?
How can it be that with tens of thousands of house plans on bookstore shelves, on the Internet, and in project home builder's display homes, that you still haven’t found a plan that suits your needs? After all, it’s not that you aren’t going shopping without a list. You know your requirements; 25 squares, four bedrooms, two and one half bathrooms, a family room with a fireplace, a front porch, a home office, a working kitchen with an island bench. It’s not that your list is so different from your friends and co-workers.....
The missing main ingredient: You, the client.
The person that designs an off the shelf plan has never met you and does not know your tastes and needs. Moreover, off-the-shelf plans can't take into account the nature of your site or the climate in your region. Many people who purchase off-the-shelf plans eventually decide to hire an architect or building designer to at least make modifications.
Before beginning the conceptual design phase of your project, we determine how your family will use your home in your "day-to-day" life. Spending ample time in the planning stages of your new home only enhances the overall design. Families are as different as their interests, so living spaces should reflect how a family interacts with those interests. Specific and personal details are what "make" your custom home a perfect fit.
Missing ingredient: Your budget.
It is fair to say that project homes, where the builder may have already built 10 houses all the same, work out cheaper than a custom designed home on a square meter rate basis. The builder can generally work to a tight margin as he has an exact idea of what his costs are. However more often than not, the off-the-shelf designs don't take into account the furniture placement (and more specifically YOUR furniture). This often leads to unusable space within the design THAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR! Designing a slightly smaller, but more usable home for your specific requirements can often save you thousands.
The initial thought process is most important before any "designing" actually begins. If you are working within a tight budget, it is especially important not to cut corners on your design. ebs will help you avoid costly mistakes and assure that the home you build suits the way you live.
Can we build up? Do we spread out? Do we step down with the block? Where is the pedestrian and vehicle access? How does the site drain? Where does the sun shine? Where do the prevailing winds come from? How can we design for maximum energy efficiency? What are the relevant authority requirements for your site? All these questions and more form part of our research of your site.
Disadvantages: The builder generally owns the license to the copyright for the design, and you are limited to building with that builder. Your home will be assembled from a limited array of standard features. Although you may request some customisation, your house will not be a custom home. It is likely to look very similar to the other houses in your development. Your builder may refuse, or charge highly for, any changes that are not on the established list of options.
Hire a Building Designer
Another cost-saving alternative is to hire a Building Designer and preferably a member of the Building Designer's Association (BDA) to design your new home. Building Designers don't have the same licensing requirements in Australia as architects, and their fees are usually much lower. Nevertheless, building designers do hold professional certificates which demonstrate that they have completed course work and achieved experience in the field. My father always used to tell me that experience is the best teacher!
To be a member of the BDA, we must demonstrate a required level of professionalism. We must also partake in a professional development program, ensuring that we have an extensive knowledge in such things as new products and materials, current authority requirements, and we are constantly improving our knowledge base and professionalism.
Advantages: Building designers usually specialise in private homes - not office buildings, shopping centres or other public buildings (although they can design these too). For this reason, a building designer may actually have more experience designing houses than some licensed architects. A good building designer can create a customised home tailor-made for your family.