The trend now is that more and more people choose to build their own homes rather than purchase an already-existing property. This is because there are actually benefits to building your own home. One of those is that you can customize the design of your houses based on your needs and preferences. Secondly, you have complete control of the ins and outs of the design and construction of your homes. Most importantly, there is a considerable amount of savings in terms of money when you choose to build rather than buy.
Building your own custom luxury home can be a challenge, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be a worthwhile experience. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your dream materialize before your eyes. Building homes from scratch can be difficult for new homeowners, but not with the proper guidance and help from the right people.
New homeowners often make the mistake of rushing to start the construction immediately without careful planning. This is a mistake. A home is one of the lifetime investments that we can put our money into. You do not want your money to go down the drain because you failed to plan before you act. Failing to plan means you are planning to fail.
Planning is essential for the success of your project. From financial requirements down to drawing plans and specifications, everything should be visualized to ensure that everything falls within the objective.
The success of construction stages lies in proper planning. While optimism is a good thing, there is no assurance that the construction phase will go smoothly until the end. Things will go awry whether you like it or not. That is why we need to consider various essential factors to ensure success in implementing and constructing our homes. Here are the things you should know before building your homes, along with their guide questions.
YOUR FINANCIAL CAPACITY
(How much are you expecting to spend on your home?)
Knowing your expected budget always helps in the planning stages of custom home construction. While realizing your dream homes starts from the inception of your ideas about how they should look, it is also essential to only plan your goal based on the financial capacity. This way, you have a more precise objective that can be set based on your budget.
These are the following items that should be considered financially:
- Though hard to find in Toronto, lot areas- Blank areas can be purchased for you to build your dream home on. There are also instances wherein people want to make their homes opt to buy detached houses for its lot area. There are various properties on sale in the market with price ranges that may fit your financial capacity.
- Planning and design costs – It always pays to hire professionals to help you realize your goal. The planning and design process for the homes require the help of architects and structural engineers. This way, you will get the objective of having an aesthetically pleasing luxury home and structurally sound. You will be in safe hands, so to speak.
- Construction costs – The construction costs will begin with the permits and licenses needed to start your construction. Then the main objective will begin. Construction costs include building material costs, labor costs, and equipment costs. There will be added costs in some cases, especially when you intend to change during the construction stage. You will hire a home builder for the construction stage of your luxurious custom homes.
- Overhead, contingencies, and miscellaneous (OCM) cost – During the construction stages, there will be circumstances beyond our control that may cost us some coins. For example, a calamity will suddenly be struck, and it will be beyond the responsibility of the home builder. You will be forced to do repairs on possible damages. Another example would be delays caused by circumstances beyond the control of the home builders. Delays would possibly cost you some money.
Money always matters; after all, we are talking about a significant amount of investment. We should always see that we uphold a high-quality output within the fixed amount of budget that we provide.
YOUR EXPECTED OUTPUT
(What are your expectations of the architectural design of the home?
You can develop the concept and ideas that you need to integrate into the design for custom homes. You can even customize its amenities and design based on your requirements, preferences, and necessities. You will then be working with a designing team to visualize your concept and ideas, which will be put into the paper. You should hire your home builder for the design and construction of your homes. Most home builder companies already have their own architects, engineers, and designers. However, you can also choose your preferred designing firm to work your design and another home builder company to construct your homes.
Here are the following professionals that can help you with the designing stage and their work responsibilities:
- Architects – Generally, they would be the ones to design your homes. They are the ones that are skilled enough to design your rooms and spaces based on their intended purpose. Architects are tasked to design the lighting and ventilation of your homes for your comfort and convenience, as well as the circulation of your homes. Of course, you can always communicate and incorporate your ideas into the plans.
Additionally, they will also design the overall aesthetics of your home, both the exterior and interior faces.
- Civil Engineers – Civil Engineers are tasked with designing the overall structure of the house. They will be the ones to create the structural integrity of your homes. First, they calculate its weight, possible added loads/ live loads, and even the possibility of earthquakes and other calamities that may affect the structure of your homes. Next, they design your foundations, columns, beams, slabs, roofing structures, and even the load-bearing walls. Finally, they create the design for the skeletal system of your homes so that it will withstand the tests of time and the forces of nature.
Civil engineers will also be the ones that will create the estimates for the materials, equipment, and labor requirements for your homes. They also produce a schedule that will guide you during the construction stages of your homes.
- Electrical Engineers – Your homes need to be powered up. This is where the electrical engineers showcase their expertise. They will design the power supply system of your house based on the requirements. You do not want your investment to burn to ashes due to a faulty electrical system. It is best to hire electrical engineers to do the job as they are experts in electrical design and the current codes and regulations.
- HVAC Engineers – For your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system, you need the appropriate professional to design and make it work. Ventilation and air-conditioning are essential for every home, especially in Toronto, where you experience different types of climates.
- MPFS Engineers– For mechanical, plumbing, and fire safety, you also need the right professionals. They are tasked with designing a functional mechanical system, plumbing works, and fire protection systems in your house.
For the mechanical works such as backup generators, home machinery, etc., you can hire a mechanical engineer to plan for these.
Plumbing engineers or master plumbers are tasked to design the plumbing works in your homes. This includes the water supply lines throughout the building, septic tanks, wastewater pipelines, soil waste pipelines, and sewer lines. They are also tasked to design the stormwater disposal system from the roof down to the catch basins.
On the other hand, fire safety is one of the most critical components in our homes. Fire is always anticipated, especially when cooking or using electrical appliances. Fire detection and alarm system (FDAS) coupled with fire protection systems (such as water sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers) will save our lives and our property.
These professionals can usually be found in design firms. Designing firms already have the best team of these engineers to help you develop a plan for your house. In selecting the designer company, it is recommended that you check their qualifications. With this experienced group of professionals, you are in safe hands.
(Where is the right location to build your home?)
Location is one of the aspects that you need to carefully consider in building your dream luxury homes. It is easy to fall into the mistake of choosing cheaper lots to build your house. In most cases, affordable land properties have a hidden shadow lurking behind the price tags. You would not want to risk living in an not safe neighborhood or in locations prone to floods and other calamities.
It always benefits you to check the lot before you are going to make the purchase. After all, you cannot just uproot your homes and transfer them to another location if there are security issues with the address. The decision to choose the right spot is for a long time (or a lifetime). Consider the following criteria in choosing your location.
- Home Security – How close is the nearest police station? Are there any reports of crime-related violence in the neighborhood? The last thing you want to be in is not a safe neighborhood to build your homes. Therefore, it is always recommended to do a background check.
- Proximity to Emergency Agencies – Health emergencies and emergencies due to calamities tend to happen. Therefore, the location must be close to the nearest hospitals, fire stations, and rescue teams.
- Blank lots or lots with detached homes – Weigh out the pros and cons. The things to be considered are the costs and the costs to demolish the existing house. The practice for some homeowners in Toronto is buying lots with detached houses and demolishing them to build their new homes.
- Connecting Roads – It is best to build in an area where the highway is close, especially during emergencies.
- Sewer lines, gas lines, and electrical lines – These are basic necessities that need considerations. It is better to build in an area where the supply for these is present.
- Cost – Costs should always be the last on the checklist. Weigh out the other pros and cons first before looking at price tags. This way, you can be assured of the best quality of property at the most affordable price.
- Community establishments – Markets and convenience stores are essential considerations because these are where you are going to purchase your daily needs for consumption. Other stores such as pharmacies, repair shops, hardware, etc., are also as important. It is also best to live in an area where you are near community parks, amusement parks, diners, or resorts for leisure and relaxation.
The most important among the seven is that lives and resources will be secured. A location that offers security and convenience is the best choice for you. Affordable prices are only bonus points.
YOUR HOME BUILDER
(Who are you going to choose as your home builder?)
The best home builders are the ones that can get the job done at the given budget and required time frame. They will be the ones to put the drawings in the paper into reality. So it is best to select the best home builder for your custom home construction. But how are you going to choose the home builder?
It is recommended to choose local companies as much as possible. Local homebuilders can be easily background-checked. You can also quickly contact their previous clients. There is no other effective marketing technique than to present satisfied clients. It is recommended that you ask for referrals and even researches their ratings in the online community.
Additionally, it pays to inspect their capability as a contractor. The lineup of their workers should be checked based on their skills and training. Homebuilder companies should also have their own equipment and machinery that can be utilized in your project. Finally, they must have the complete permits, documents, and licenses to be a contractor.
A good home builder would be those that maintain good communication with their client. They should always be upfront with the site issues so that everything can be rectified and managed efficiently.
A contract between the two of you must be printed and agreed upon. This document will put both of you in safe and secure places. This can also define responsibilities, limitations, the scope of works, and penalties and liabilities. This legal document protects both of you.
For further guidance on how to choose the right home builder, read here.+
YOUR MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS
(How can you ensure you are choosing the suitable materials?)
Quality control and assurance are as crucial as the planning stage. The quality of your materials always affects the quality of your homes.
It is a common mistake that people often look at the price tags of the materials first before checking the quality. However, we must prioritize quality first, especially in the construction industry. It is more costly to rectify, repair, and restore construction mistakes than buy high-quality materials. In addition, there will always be an added value for cheaper materials because they tend to deteriorate faster over time than with high-quality materials.
Make no mistake, though. Cheaper materials do not necessarily mean low quality. Most home builders already have their preferred brands of materials to use. There are also trusted brands of materials that are affordable but are of good quality. It is also recommended to charge the home builders to purchase materials, but know that it still requires your approval.
YOUR EXPECTED TURNOVER TIME
(When are you planning to move in?)
Your expected turnover time always matters. This has to be the basis for the construction schedule that will be followed during the implementation stage of your home. For example, in Toronto, the best time to move into your new home is in June to September, spring, or summer. However, you will want to avoid moving in during the winter season due to the weather and the temperature.
You work your way backward from the scheduled moving date to select the best time to start your construction. You must also understand the trends and changes in the prices of materials in each season.
(What if there are delays and construction mistakes?)
Drawbacks will always be expected because nothing is really particular in this world. No matter how optimistic you are (or how religious of a person you are), things will always very likely go awry. That is why you should always prepare for the worse or worst to happen.
The thing that you should consider is who is going to be liable or responsible when drawbacks occur.
It will always be your accountability for acts of nature or Force Majeure because these things are not under the home builder’s control. However, you can always put the repairs and rectifications as the added scope of works to the home builders at an added cost. Delays caused by these calamities are understandable; that is why home builders should be given consideration for an extension of the number of days in the contract without penalties.
For delays that are caused by the contractor, you can penalize them for that. This is why contracts between clients and contractors are essential as it keeps both parties secured. By common practice, delays caused by the contractor’s negligence can be penalized to up to a tenth of a percent of the project cost. That is equivalent to 0.1% of the total contract cost penalty per day, or as stipulated and agreed in the contract.
Another important thing is who will be responsible for repairs. For defects caused by construction mistakes, the contractor will be held liable and required to repair without any additional charge. But of course, the time with which the defects were discovered matters. This is where the contract is considered. The years of the home builder’s accountability must be defined in the contract so that you would know when to call them.
There are only two things that are absolute in the construction industry, success or failure. Success is achievable with proper planning and good project management. Failure, however, comes when you fail to plan accordingly.
The success of your home construction depends on you, your designers, and your home builder. Each of you must coordinate and communicate with each other all throughout this whole journey. As the property owner, it only fits that you also want to be assured that your investment will be protected and secured as much as possible. After all, lives and resources are at stake here.
Knowing what to prepare and preparing what is needed is vital. Planning for what is required to be accomplished can, in turn, prepare you to start your construction project.