Top Tips for Designing a New Home
When you're building, it's worth taking time to get the design right.
If you're building a new home, you'll need professional advice. Use this checklist for guidance in your dealings with your architect and/or builder.
- Get to know the site - its climate, landforms, waterways, soil types etc. will all influence your design.
- Contact your local council to find out about planning guidelines and requirements in your location.
- Design to catch the sun - by orienting your main living areas and biggest windows north, you'll maximise the amount of sun that gets in. If you spend time on the site, you'll get an idea of the sun's path and whether there are any other buildings or other features that will cast shadows.
- Design to minimise your home's impact on the site - a home that has a smaller `footprint' and doesn't require earthworks is likely to cost less.
- Design to avoid waste - by designing to be economical with materials, and by re-using or recycling wherever possible, you may be able to reduce your building costs and save on landfill fees.
- Think about the future and how your needs might change while you're living in the home.
Low additional cost
- Install far more insulation in your ceiling and walls than the minimum Building Code requirement.
- Choose materials that aren't toxic to you or the environment.
- Get professional advice: a designer or architect can save you money by coming up with a design that uses materials efficiently, is energy efficient, and is appropriate for your site. A home that you see in a magazine might not be suitable for your location.
- Install solar water heating.