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Where do I start when designing a house

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  • designing a house, architecture, DIY
  • Posted date:
  • 27-07-2021
Where do I start when designing a house

Have you considered: Where do I start when designing a house? We look at the stages to complete when planning a new home build. 

What Does The Planning Stage Include?

During this stage, you will work closely with your designer or architect, and at this time, the planning department begins to get involved. You require planning consultants to discuss any dire issues with your construction site or the detailed design proposals made.   

You may want or need to work alongside a few other specialist teams, such as an ecologist, an arborist, a contractor, and a flood consultant. Take your time to look at all the relevant planning policies of your local area or area of your plot. For example, is your chosen land or plot a conservation area, a green belt or are you planning exceptional architecture that you can pin under Paragraph 55?

Your designers and architects will updates all the sketches and drawings from your initial design stage plans and use them to create 3D rendered models to give you an idea of what the house will look like on your plot site alongside the materials you must purchase to get started.   

It would be best to consider appointing other consultants for any particular planning policies or providing outside advice on aspects of your building project. Your design and access statement is a key document that goes alongside the general planning application. The paper form is around 10-15 pages, highlighting essential policies, the overall design layout ethos, planning precedent, access and all crucial requirements of your property site.

Where Do I Start When Designing A House

It is best to visit any neighbours you have in the surrounding land of your plot before you finally submit your planning application. Discussing your vision plans and collectively agreeing before seeing them on your planning portal is essential for eliminating any future legal disputes.   

You can submit your planning application online in your planning portal, and your planning authorities will later register your plans. After a short amount of time, your neighbours will briefly see it and have the option to make comments or send their objections. However, others will submit supporting plans and documents relevant to mining, transportation, education, and ecology during this design process.   

What Does The New Build Planning Stage Include?

Once the neighbours receive notification and consultees respond to your plans, this is your opportunity to speak about your instance to planners. 

By around the eighth week of your planning stage, you will receive a determination from your planning department; these can be positive or negative. If you receive less than 6-8 objections, your application and ideas will be passed on and dealt with by the planners.   

Any more objections and the case are then later reviewed by a different local committee, adding around 4-6 weeks onto the determination date. 

Should your final response to the instance be negative, you will receive additional time for reviewing the documents before getting the chance to appeal your decisions with the government or planning department.   

Overall, expect the planning stage to last approximately eight weeks up to four years, depending on how many objections you receive overtime. You can finally move on to the next step in the process after getting the approval you seek.

Things to Look For When Designing a New Home

Look for any building code or zoning restrictions, as design work doesn't get to start until all limits are identified fully in the pre-design stage. 

Look for things such as how high your custom self-build property can be, whether or not you can build on the floor zone or plot you have selected and if there are any environmental limits or features on the land available. Find out what they are so that you can avoid them at all costs.   

Find the budget of the land you have chosen. You'll discover extensive fundamental databases of numerous past projects and their overall cost. Your designers and planning consultants will work closely with you, the client, to accurately estimate the cost or budget of the home layout and floor plan your design on the plot you select based on multiple details like the size and complexity.

Work out whether or not you have any aesthetic goals, as this could determine the level of labour required for all groundwork builders and the budget. 

Decide whether you want something more traditional or more contemporary and modern, what furniture features you desire that could affect the building plan or alter the designs. It helps get your designers and architectural professionals to get gears moving and start creating.   

Figure out where the sun sits for most of the day and where the most affected areas would be; this will allow you to figure out whereabout you want certain rooms to be in the house. For example, do you want your bedrooms to face the sun or be covered by the shade?   

Things to Look For When Designing a New Home

Think about your sustainability goals, should you have any. For example, how thick do you imagine the walls being or whether or not you would like your roof to integrate environmentally friendly solar panels?     

Find out how private the lot you've chosen is and if there are any adjacent homes you must be aware of. Consider neighbourhood sensitivity, not just concerning the final building of your custom self-build project but also the overall style of the house you intend to develop. 

Does it match the surrounding homes? Would the type you want accurately suit everyone around? Is the exterior and interior design family-friendly for neighbours or guests who wish to visit?

Steps to Designing a Self Build House

Steps to Designing a Self Build House

Develop a Design Brief

Initially, you want to strive to develop a design brief. The design brief is not a static document, as the purpose of the brief is to be continuously refined and evolve as the design plan changes and developments occur. 

The brief covers numerous aspects of your project. For example, ways to maximise the natural light, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms you desire, any sustainable standards that you deem necessary, the levels of insulation that you like or suit the climate of the area your plot is. 

If your property is anywhere in the UK or Scotland, you will likely want plenty of insulation.

Analyse the site

Next, it's essential to analyse the site thoroughly; this will play an enormous role in the final design. You should address these elements:

Orientation: For sitting solar panels or passive solar gain, and any south-facing elevations you desire, this is a crucial aspect to analyse. Consider whether or not you require screening to keep out noise and protect from traffic.   

Proximity: Ensure that you plan your house in a place that does not intrusively overlook your neighbours or any neighbouring buildings when designing your dream home. The most suitable distance between your and your neighbour's windows should be around 12m and up. Living room windows should be at a distance of 21m.    

Access and Car Parking: Assess whether there are enough spaces available to you and your neighbours for parking. The average three-bedroom house requires at least two viable areas.   

Views: Consider the views you desire most for your bedrooms and living room, arrange them according to the crucial rooms and take advantage of this during the planning and designing stages.   

Trees: Trees can contribute plenty to the overall visual appeal of your property or home, especially if they are in the right places and are well-established. Assess whether or not you can remove them if they restrict you. If not, you may be able to find a way to incorporate them carefully.   

Plan your Building Footprint

Establish the level of accommodation that you require for the building style you have selected.   

Your designers can sketch out plans using the original home design and site plan, adapting it carefully with the help and influence of your analysis. Working out how your rooms connect and flow from one space to another is crucial to consider. 

The final sizes of the rooms you need can be adapted and influenced by elements you have analysed and noted in the project brief and, overall, the size of the site.

Plan your Building Footprint

Consider Planning Restrictions and Budget

Once your final design is developed to the fullest, it will give you an initial impression of the home you will work on for the next few weeks, months or years, depending on the size of the job.   

The final thing to consider is the relevant planning requirements your local custom self-build must comply with. If your site falls within a location of green belt, there may be a few restrictions to think about.   

When you have fully addressed how you will tackle these areas of restrictions and checked all schemes closely against your initial brief draft, you may review your costs. Your design professional can then carry out your budget analysis before submitting your planning application. You don't want to go through all the trouble of receiving all those positive reviews and get all the necessary permission needed, only to find out you don't have enough money to afford to build what you planned for.

Are you considering building a house in Bedfordshire or the surrounding areas? Our chartered civil engineer specialises in construction project management, offering project management throughout all stages of the process. 

Alexander Project Management work with construction companies and individual home builders throughout Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.