Architecture
6/Oct/2022
6 minutes

Designing Your Self-Build: Our Design Teams Advice & 5 Tips

Despite the idea that you need years of experience as a construction professional, or you should have designed a house previously, neither are true. Any ambitious self-builder can create the home of their dreams with the right design preparations in place and knowledge to overcome potential hurdles.

Self-building a home isn’t always a straightforward process but by taking the time to carefully refine the details of its design, you’ll be half-way to success.

In this article, we take a look at some key architectural designer’s advice for designing a self-build and why finding the right architectural designer is important.

Begin With Self-Build Research

There are a wealth of self-build resources out there covering everything from building regulations to gaining planning permission and everything in between. However, many self-builders get tied up in looking at the bigger picture and forget the smaller, imperative details.

A self-build project requires research, and a lot of it. We’ve put together an insightful blog based on the topic of research for self-building your own home, however, if you’d like an overview, here are the crucial considerations:

  • Speak to people who have completed a self-build project – this will give you the opportunity to ask questions about the process and learn more about what you may have previously overlooked.
  • Attend any events about self-building that you can – there’s no better way to carry out research than learning directly from experts in the self-build sector. At these types of events people are always eager to discuss their own plans, again this is a good opportunity to meet other self-builders and learn about the process.
  • Utilise as many online, quality resources as possible – the internet is a treasure trove for researching just about anything, including the process of building your own home. We’ve included some useful resources below to help you along the way.

You can also register with your details to download our exclusive Christopher David Design self-build guide, it includes everything you need to know about designing and building a home. You’ll also find additional insights and tips to ensure a successful self-build project.

Prepare A Good Design Brief

Self-builders often find that they have multiple ideas for their dream house but struggle with creating a design themselves. Not to worry, as this is where your architectural designer will step up to their role. Of course, before your chosen architectural designer can get to work drawing up your self-build design, you will need to prepare a good design brief.

Creating a design brief is an important part of the preparation as it gives a clear idea on the scope of home you’re planning on building. A crucial component of the success of a self-build project, your design brief will be ever-evolving as the project takes place but it should cover the basics as a starting point.

Your design brief should include but not be limited to:

  • Your reasons for building the home and what you envision;
  • Practical information such as the number of rooms in your home;
  • Your preferred architectural styles for the project;
  • An insight into your lifestyle and how you will live in the house;
  • Must-have features you’d like to incorporate;
  • Details of any sustainable energy features.

We also advise that you:

  • Include images in your design brief, these could be taken from magazines or printed;
  • You include information about your wish list as you may have to compromise to keep in budget;
  • That you are realistic with your budget and upfront about what you think is possible.

Be Realistic About What Your Budget Can Build

Once you’ve accounted for the cost of land along with paying the professionals who form your self-build project, you will have already accounted for a large portion of your budget.

Being realistic about how much your dream home will cost you is key to success.

Many self-builders naturally go over-budget, particularly if their project runs over the anticipated completion date. However, you can still be thorough with your budget and plan each stage of the build carefully.

When designing and budgeting for your self-build, it’s important to research (again). You will need to search around for the best prices for construction materials along with accounting for the size if your property and its costs as a result.

We advise looking up self-build projects that have been completed in the local community and where possible getting an idea of how much they cost to build.

Once you are clear on the costs involved in similar self-builds, you can budget as realistically as possible for your own.

Remember: You Can’t Include Everything & Compromise Is Key For Successful Design

We don’t want to take the fun out of building your own home, but it’s important to remember that you can’t include everything.

Your money will only go so far, therefore it’s important to think logically about what features to include in your design.

If you envision a home with state-of-the-art sustainable energy features AND an en-suite attached to every bedroom, you may be welcoming stress.

Rather, compromise is key. Even if you’re building a family home that requires a specific layout and lots of space, you can still be realistic about what’s achievable.

Looking at what is achievable on both a structural and cost-related scale is going to save you a lot of stress and make your design vision far clearer to the designer involved.

Work With A Reputable And Experienced Architectural Designer

Finally but certainly not least, it is SO important to work with an architectural team that is trustworthy with an impressive portfolio to back them up.

Outside of all of the intricacies of building your home, it is a good idea to choose your designer of choice carefully.

Your architectural designer should be able to take your design brief and draw up the design you have envisioned with confidence, accuracy, and flair.

Below, we’ve included signs of a good self-build architectural designer to keep in mind:

  • They will ask you questions as they want to know everything that’s important and beyond;
  • They will want to offer some advice on important aspects of self-building such as gaining local planning permission and finding suitable land;
  • Their portfolio looks professional and includes details of previous self-build homes they’ve worked on;
  • They share your excitement and want to work with you!

Meet Christopher David Design: Self-Build Design Experts

Our team of Surrey-based architectural designers are very well experienced across residential self-builds and we have a large portfolio to demonstrate this. We have worked with many clients to help them create the home of their dreams to a budget that is realistic and within a considered time frame.

Self-building requires organisation, expertise, and visionaries. We consider ourselves to fit all three of these prerequisites and many more. With our talented architectural designers by your side along with our access to skilled builders, contractors, and craftspeople, we’re able to offer the most stress-free approach to self-building.

Register your details below to speak with one of our designers about your project today. We’re excited to help you complete your self-build.

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