Q: What is the process of building a new custom home?
A:   Steps:

  • My initial vision for the external design, internal design, and location
  • Don’t forget the energy requirements of the home (interior and exterior)
  • Think of privacy, security, and protection from natural disasters
  • Landscaping ideas
  • Financing and a buffer of about 15% (if needed)
  • A basic understanding of what you need for a Building Permit before the construction can begin. Here’s a simplified checklist:
  1. Architecture
  2. Civil Engineering
  3. Structural Engineering
  4. Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineering
  5. Energy calculations
  • Can my architect or engineer support me during the permitting process?
  • Can my architect or engineer recommend a trusted contractor?
  • What if the contractor has questions on the architecture and engineering plans to build the home? Will they be available for clarification? 

Read the following article for more information on how to build a new home.

 

Q: What are the pros and cons of building a custom home?
A:
Pros:

  • Your vision comes to life
  • The home fits YOUR needs and not the other way around. This goes for each member of the family as well as the interior and exterior of the home.
  • Scope for future remodeling and addition not only for the family but also for a higher return on your investment or additional income from a backyard home/ADU 
  • Energy and maintenance expenses are predictable
  • Location of your preference

Cons:

  • The effort and investment to build to your needs
  • Managing the project (it doesn’t always have to be hard though)
     

Q: How to save on the cost of building a new home?
A:

  • Area of the lot and the home
  • Requirements of the land in case of a gradient or type of soil
  • Home plans that apply cost-saving methods such as Value Engineering to save construction costs
  • Efficient Use of Building Materials
  • Low Maintenance Design
  • Lower Energy Bills
  • Choosing architects, engineers, and contractors wisely - it’s a good idea to divide the project into two major phases of pre-construction and construction. Hence, one consultant for each phase is ideal in terms of management and cost.
     

Q: Are you aware of the homeowners' guidelines and fees?
A:
Every residential area has its rules and guidelines which should be reviewed before committing to a design for your new custom home. If you haven't done this yet, ensure that you do this step before you start the construction phase of your project. A building permit set will help you at this stage.

The relevant local fees include a planning commission and building regulation fee. Some residential areas require a mitigation fee too. Make a list of all the local fees to pay them to avoid interruptions or delays going forward.
 

Q: Do home designers and builders provide a warranty?
A:
Professional structural, civil, and foundation engineering firms provide some warranty. It is worth your while to look this up before signing up an engineering firm for your new home.

Q: How to build a new home that’s energy-efficient?
A:
It is recommended that you look into energy-efficient appliances that help you save on maintenance costs in the long run. Browse the modern smart insulation options available in the market to get started. One can make the windows and doors highly insulated to control heat movement and set up a solar energy supply where it is relevant.
 

Q: What do I need to know about building my home on a hillside?
A:
The design of a hillside home must overcome 2 major obstacles - an amplified seismic hazard and constant, yet unpredictable soil movement. It is recommended that you get clarity from your engineering firm on the following variables to know what’s relevant to your home and how it is addressed:

  • Slope
  • Soil conditions
  • Seismic design category (SDC) of the site
  • Rainwater channeling to mitigate the effects of soil erosion
  • Retaining walls
  • Architectural features of the house

Read the following article for more information on building a hillside home.

Sources/References:

*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with members of Design Everest.

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