To borrow the words of Ezra Pound, 'A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit'. This is a dream shared by every aspiring homeowner. But building such a structure can hardly be considered a simple task. If you are planning to build a house of your own then you too must already have encountered some of the hurdles on the way in trying to realise your dream. However, you need not be alone on this. A number of experts can and will help you to give shape to your dream project if you only allow them to do so.
Though such assistance comes at a cost, it is wiser to receive this support and build a structure which you and your family members will be able to enjoy for a long time. One of the very first specialists you will have to seek help from is an architect. But to derive maximum benefits from their expertise you too will have to be duly prepared. Be ready to ask specific questions and if you are wondering about the queries to put forward, follow our suggestions closely. Good luck and read on!
Describe your requirements in great detail and if you have built up an image of your future home, do not be shy to narrate it to your architect. Is it better to go for contemporary design or a half-timbered country cottage? Express your preferences in clear terms and see if a building like that is possible within your specified budget on a plot you have chosen.
Do you plan to use this as your permanent residence or holiday retreat? A permanent residence may require more elaborate arrangements than a house you are going to visit infrequently. Thanks largely to its scenic surrounding, this house, stylised by Interdesign Interiores, fulfills the requirements of a family home and weekend getaway. Without very specific reasons it is unlikely that you will require a multi-storeyed building for a family of four. But keep provisions for future expansions in your design.
Find out the steps that are going to be followed in the course of construction and how you could be of any help during the entire process. If your architect boasts of thorough local knowledge ask them about the various building permissions and authorisations that would be required during the development phase. Find out how many of these responsibilities need your intervention. Seek your lawyer’s opinion on this. Be clear about the estimated time frame within which this project is to be completed.
Check if your architect is ready to help you visualise the completed project. This is generally done with the help of rough sketches, fully developed building plan, 3D computer aided design and small-scale models. Try to understand the building plan as thoroughly as possible. Your future convenience is depended on it. Because, in a month’s time that simple line drawing will reveal itself as a house you wanted for yourself. Finding flaws with the structure then may not be of any help.
This is a very important yet frequently ignored topic. Often it is discussed as an afterthought when it is too late. Find out how you can make your building eco-friendly and sustainable. What is the scope of including ‘green’ building materials like mudbrick, strawbale, timbercrete, recycled wood, timber and bamboo? Check how you can install solar photovoltaic panels or tap wind energy. See whether building a structure with green roof is possible? What changes can you bring inside your home to create a more environment friendly and comfortable living condition?
It is quite possible that you are in love with an expansive looking interior fitted with all kinds of modern facilities. But the truth is space comes at a premium, particularly in cities like Singapore. So the available plot size may not be sufficient to build such an expansive interior. Under such circumstances, find out the sacrifices you are expected to make and for which parts of the building. Maybe you can build a bigger size master bedroom suite and have a couple of smaller rooms as secondary bedrooms. Perhaps you would not require such a spacious hallway after all. See what alterations you can make in the interior to turn your small rooms into a stylish space.
This is one area where repeated renovation is extremely difficult. So, along with your architect, you need to scrupulously plan for this space. Courtesy of some ingenuity, even a small kitchen occupying only about 10 sq metres’ space can look anything but small. Modern kitchens come fitted with custom cabinets, storage units, certain appliances and accessories. Find out which of these are indispensable and identify the ones which you would hardly need. Eliminating the inessentials beforehand will be helpful in creating a roomy kitchen. Try to have big windows for an airy kitchen full of natural light. It is hygienic and helpful to build a cheerful atmosphere.
Ask your architect about the person who would keep the channel of communication open during the project. An ideal person would be someone who already has some knowledge of the project and can effectively keep in touch with the architect. Also learn more about the team who would assist you in giving shape to your dream. If possible have a talk with them in person and express your support and appreciation for their hard work. Be available to assist them as and when such a need arise. Like any other important task the success of this project would heavily depend on the success of this teamwork.
See where you can save money without causing any damage to the structure. Perhaps there is a portion that you can develop later on without sacrificing the aesthetics of a building. Or, maybe you can choose certain building materials that are considerably cheaper but will not be detrimental to the quality of the structure. Sourcing materials from local suppliers can save money and time. Try to make maximum possible usage of every square inch of available space. Seek suggestions from your architect about various possible ways of doing so. With these pointers in mind, set out in the task of building your dream home!
For the perfect final touch, see our tips for selecting a beautiful façade colour for your home.