Self-Build Expert Self-Build Expert - Practical Advice For Self-Builders

House Design

What are the elements of a good design? Who is going to design your new house? Do you need an architect?

There are number of constraints on design:

  • Standard House Types
    Most self-build package providers offer standard house designs but you need to be sure they suit both your site and personal needs. This said, most providers will either modify their standard designs or create bespoke designs. The only issue is you will need to be very clear on what you want. If you’re not sure what you want you may be best advised to employ an independent designer. But, this will come at a cost and controlling the design to come within budget may be challenging!
  • Choosing the Designer
    If you choose to use an independent designer, your choice will be critical to the outcome, since each designer will have their strengths and weaknesses, preferences and dislikes.
  • Plot and Location
    Your design needs to be appropriate for your plot, in the practical, visual and planning sense. For example, certain designs will work well on a slope, others won’t. How does the orientation of the plot and, for example, any large trees impact on the light available, etc. Furthermore in many areas, particularly conservation areas, your design will probably have to visually blend in with existing properties. Therefore, if you are planning a futuristic design, make sure this will be allowed before you buy the plot.
  • Budget
    Different designs will result in different building costs for a given amount of floor space. And, the greater the floor space the greater the cost. If working with a limited budget, keep it simple and don’t design in wasted floor space.
  • Your Imagination
    There are an infinite number of design possibilities for a house. But you will need to narrow this down to at least some basic concepts based on how you wish to live in your house. Your designer will need to know what you are looking for in your new house.

There are several professionals who may help you to design your home. Don’t dismiss non- architects out of hand. Who you choose should partly depend on the type and complexity of design you have in mind, as many architects will have experience and interest in particular types of design/construction. As with any building professional, try to find your designer on the basis of personal recommendation. If this is not possible ensure that you have a detailed preliminary meeting with them first (to see if you are at least on the same wavelength) and make sure that you see a portfolio of their work. If possible speak to some of their previous clients. Qualifications alone are no guarantee you will get the service you want.

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Burnview, Scarfskerry, Thurso, Caithness

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Area: 1¼ acre

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Area: 2/3 acre

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