1 DEFINING YOUR REQUIREMENT AND BUDGET
A lot of us have been thinking and daydreaming about our future homes for years. Get a pen and paper and start writing what you need in your home keeping in mind your budget. You need to know how much you want to spend on your house, and this number should never be a secret, I’ve come across a lot of clients who think they have to give a lower price than what they actually want to pay thinking they are tricking the consultant for their own benefit, but the only person this will harm is you. This goes back to choosing a trustworthy consultant of course which we will cover in point number 2. Your budget will define how much area you can build which will also defines how the consultant will design your villa.
When thinking about your requirements think about your lifestyle. In Studio D04 we like to let our clients take us on their day to day routines, where they sit as a family? Where do they like to host people? Do they host different genders at the same time? Do they have concerns of privacy from each other? Do they want to sit in their living room while seeing their kids play outside, or do they want access to gardens from their bedrooms for zen reading times?
The earlier you know exactly what you want in the house the easier the process will be for you and the consultant, the possibilities are infinite, and your home defines how you will live in your future, so take control of it.
Make a dream house board, save pictures of how you imagine your home will look like, how you would like your living room to be. Stick with one style, as these will be inspiration pictures that will drive the design of your home and the more variety you have the more confused you and your consultant will be.
2 CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONSULTANT
This is the most important step in this whole process. It’s your first real step, your first commitment into your dream home project. It’s like choosing your life partner, yes it is that important. What is important in a marriage? Trust, love, and respect, exactly the things you should be looking for. You need to choose someone you trust to execute your project to its full potential, a lot of your savings is going into this so it needs to be in a trust worthy hand, someone who will try to make the most of your money's worth. Choose someone who has the same taste as you, ask yourself do you love their work? You have to make sure both of you have the same mindset before making this marriage. Last but not least, respect, this is a very essential part of the relationship as you need someone who takes your requirements and fulfills them and doesn't force you into decisions you don’t want. Someone who respects your needs and takes on your comments to achieve a final result you both are in love with, it’s a process and it takes time to find the right one, but once you’ve settled, this should be a start of a beautiful relationship.
3 TRUSTING YOUR CONSULTANT
What’s the first thing you hear from friends and family when taking advice regarding building houses? Don’t trust your consultant! He’s lying to you, he will steal your money. Of course this might be very true if you did step 2 without your full research. If you made the right fit then you need to trust that the consultant will always have your best interest at heart. There is not gain for him/her to harm you in any way. On the contrary as a consultant we always want to keep our clients happy, satisfied, and comfortable, like any other consultant their happiness is our happiness. As Architects we want to maximize the potential of what this house can be for you, how to build and design something that will make you live your best life. How to avoid discomfort in living, how to never have the “ I wish this wall wasn’t there” situation, or why is this switch here. There are so many factors in a house that you wouldn’t think about but would aid you in easy living.
4 TAKING EVERYONES OPINION
This perhaps is the most important step that would take your house from taking 2-3 years to design to 1 year. I can’t stress this enough but DO NOT CHANGE YOUR MIND. This is why Step 1 : defining your requirements is very important prior to starting, once you start changing your mind after approving things project delays start, choose something and commit, commit, and COMMIT. There are so many details and drawings produced to make sure your house is perfect to the last level, moving a wall could mean having to redraw 15 drawings, some changes might seem simple to you but are much bigger than what they seem, there are so many factors in play in such project, you have structure that defies the spaces, that defies the Mechanical systems the piping the water, the flow of spaces, the circulation, I could go on forever. Try making your changes in the very early stages. Also, the people living in the house are whose opinion is the most important, I have come to notice that a lot of people like to share the layouts with their siblings, cousins, friends, and start taking in so many opinions that are conflicting, which starts confusing the owner. Everybody lives differently, everybody's preference is not the same, you will never get everyone’s approval on something, YOUR opinion is the only one that matters, try not to have too many cooks in the kitchen.
5 CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR
Once all the drawings are ready, make sure your consultant tenders your villa to enough contractors of different ranges, share a contractor if you have someone in mind, if not make sure they suggest people they have worked with. Once the prices are out, the more detailed the tender package was, the more you defined exactly the type of paints, tiles, sanitary ware, you will notice there won't be a huge difference in the prices you receive when the consultant details almost everything in the villa it leaves very little room for the contractor to play around and cheat you with the prices. This is when it’s time to evaluate! Grading, the consultant's job is to evaluate the tenders, grade them based on quality of work, price, and financial status and some other factors. All these evaluations come up to a number out of 100, or however the system your consultant chooses to use. Make sure before signing with your consultant that evaluation is within their scope. Once you have the grades, it will be easy to decide with which contractor to go with, the usual most recommended will be the middle range people depending on your budget and capabilities.
6 DEALING WITH THE PROJECT LIKE A WAR BETWEEN ALL PARTS
It’s not a fight, and no it’s not a war. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be present, available, check up on your villa. All those are very important steps in building your house, be the present authority. But everyone is there to do their part, there is no point in conflict and fighting, you should all have a homogenous transparent relationship of having each other's backs, to have one front in front of outside suppliers and contractors. Because those people will try to make you doubt each other throughout the process, but believe me, once the trust goes the three ways, the project will have a smooth journey and you will have to deal with less problems. Each project comes with its shares of challenges and difficulties, but having a good team and relationships with your consultant and contractor you will sort them out in the least problematic way with least losses of time and money. Stay away from the blaming game as much as possible and know your rights. Read all agreements and contracts well before signing them. Make sure the contractors have your best interest in mind.