Step-by-step: From start to finish of your custom home…
Every home design starts with a free initial consultation that gives us a chance to get to know each other. We’ll discuss your ideas for your new home and most important of all; I’ll answer all of your questions. Designing and building a custom home is a highly collaborative process. During this initial meeting, we can both decide if we’re a good fit and will be able to work well together on this most important project.
BUILDING SITE EVALUATION
If we decide that we want to work together, the next step is to evaluate your building site if you already have one. I’ll design a home that’s perfectly suited to your property. There are many things that I need to take into consideration during the design process, including:
• Allowable Building Envelope
• Lot Size and Shape
• Site Grading
• Driveway Location
• Position of the Sun at various times of day
• Neighboring Homes and Properties
If you haven’t already purchased a property, I’ll help you select one suitable for the home that you want to build. Many people buy a property and then discover that their design options are limited and/or construction costs will be much higher because of the lot they’ve chosen. There’s no charge for this service, and it could save you thousands of dollars and a great deal of frustration and heartache.
After the initial consultations, it’s time for a frank and honest discussion about your overall budget. The last thing we want to do is design a home that is out of your budget range. Because we design and build homes, and have extensive product knowledge, we can create the most cost-effective designs to stay within your budget.
Once the initial consultations and budget discussions are out of the way, the really exciting part of the process begins – we start to design your home. At this time, we ask for a deposit of 2% of the overall budget for the project. Of course, this deposit will be credited in full towards the cost of your home.
Now we start to have some fun. We will be asking you hundreds of questions, starting with the type of home you would like i.e. Bungalow, 2 storey or Rancher, and what kind of exterior design do you have in mind Craftsman, Cape Cod, Contemporary or Southwestern, etc. We can show you samples of all the various architectural styles to assist you. Do you want 8, 9, 10 ft. or vaulted ceilings? What about a pergola or courtyard?
Next, we will compile a list of all of the rooms you want in your new home and ask about things such as a built-in dog wash station, a wine room, walk-in pantry or a steam room, a sewing room or a home office? Then, we create a rough zoning or bubble diagram to decide on room placement. Rooms are represented by bubbles that can be moved around until we’ve created a general layout that you like.
Once the room placement diagram is completed, we go through each room and flesh out the minute details. Would you prefer a Galley kitchen, an L shape with an island or a different configuration? What size should your great room be, and how do you plan to furnish it? Were you planning to have a soaker tub and walk-in shower in your Ensuite? His and hers closets? Now’s the time to start planning for everything that you wish to have in your new home.
The information we gather about your building site, budget, tastes, and lifestyle is used to come up with a basic conceptual plan. The conceptual plan shows:
The conceptual design gives you the opportunity to see what your house will look like for the first time. It’s important that you’re happy with the concept, and there are usually numerous re-designs before we move on to the next stage which is the Preliminary Design.
The preliminary drawings are much more detailed than the conceptual plans and are drawn to scale. All dimensions are marked on the drawings. Room sizes are exact, and all the locations and sizes of the windows and doors are clearly shown. All four elevations (sides) of the dwelling are shown and, there are 3D views and colour renderings of the exterior. It’s still not too late to make changes, and revisions are expected at this stage as well.
Once the preliminary drawings are complete, the design department will add all of the details necessary to determine the exact construction costs.
SPECIFICATIONS AND PRODUCT SELECTION
The hallmark of a custom home is not just a custom-designed plan – it’s also the selection of the dozens of personal touches that make your home truly yours. You select the specifications and finishing touches that go into your home with our design professionals’ help. We’ll go through every detail with you to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want.
We start with major specifications like exterior finishing, roofing materials, flooring, cabinets & countertops, windows, concrete or ICF basement walls. Minor specifications like interior door styles, baseboard and casing styles, and fireplace finishes will be finalized as we go through the design process. Our designers will be there to help you every step of the way.
PRICING AND BUILDING CONTRACT
Once the major and minor specifications have been decided upon, we can provide you with an exact price for your new home. This price will not change unless you decide to make changes to the plans or specifications. Our building contract is very detailed to avoid misunderstandings, but it’s still easy to understand. We believe in complete transparency.
Our construction drawings contain an incredible amount of detail, and we’re very proud of them. They include all of the information needed by the tradespeople, developers, inspectors, and engineers involved in the construction of your home. The specifications included in your construction drawings are those which you selected during the design process eliminating confusion, mistakes, cost overruns and delays.
BUILDING PERMITS AND APPROVALS
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in any new home construction. Before we start to build your new home, we have to get approvals from the governing municipality or city. We ensure that your project meets all zoning, environmental, engineering, and access requirements. We prepare and submit all documentation required for the Provincial Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) and New Home Warranty registration, construction insurance, and workers’ compensation. We worry about the thousand and one small details, so you don’t have to.
Once the building permit is issued, we’ll begin construction on your new home. We work with some of the very best craftspeople and project managers in the business. You’re welcome to visit the job site any time to watch your dream home come to life. If you can’t be here, we’ll provide you with photos and videos at various construction stages.
It takes between 6 and 7 months to build a typical home, but the construction time can be affected by things like the complexity of the project, site conditions and weather. We have completed a new home in as little as nine weeks, but that’s not the norm.
NEW HOME TURNOVER
Finally, the big day has arrived, and it’s time to hand over the keys to your new home. We give you a guided tour to ensure that everything is up to your standards. You will have many questions, and we’ll be there to answer them for you and show you how to use the many features in your new home. We want to make sure you love your new home!