Ready to build your dream home, but not sure where to start? There are production homes that you can purchase, or you can hire a contractor and build your custom home. This is where you have to balance costs against your lifestyle. A factor to consider is how your lifestyle will change over the years. Most families have children while living in their house. The children then grow up and leave home. A production house may be able to have changes made during this process. A custom house can be built with the future in mind.
The following is some information that will make it helpful when making the decision to build a production house or to build a custom one. You will want to do your research and weigh the pros and cons on what type of house suits you. Either way, you want to hire a professional to walk you through the process. When choosing the professional ask others whom they worked with and how they felt about the experience. Word of mouth is the best recommendation. You can also contact the better business bureau to get suggestions on whom you want to hire.
Choosing a Production or a Custom House
When building a custom home, you will need to hire an architect. They charge a percentage of the cost of the home. This fee is the base charge. They may be more fees for additional drawings or if you have the architect handle ordering materials and administering the contract. With an architect in charge your house can be designed the way you want it plus it easier to make changes as needed.
Hiring a Professional
You can also hire a designer builder. The design builder handles the entire process of building a custom home. In the construction industry this is a project delivery system. The designer built house has one person responsible for everything from the contract to the completion of the house. This minimizes risks for the owner of the house. In the past there was one person responsible for the design of the house and one person responsible for the building. Having more than one person in charge can cause things to slip through the cracks without realizing that it is happening.
The building of the house is led by a professional sometimes it is the general contractor. Other times it may be an architect or engineer. Some design builder firms use professionals from all aspects of the project. It can also be a team venture with both the general contractor and the designer working together on the project. Which one you choose should be the one you are comfortable with as you will be working closely with them as they build your dream house.
When using a general contractor as the lead on the building of the house they work with the owner. They also work with subcontractors. While they are working with others, they are solely responsible for all the work being done. The subcontractors are responsible to the general contractor and the general contractor is responsible to the owner of the house. The owner has to deal with only one person which makes building the home much easier. The architect would be considered an employee of the general contractor.
When the architect is the lead on the project they work with the owner and hires the other professionals as needed. But it is the architect who is responsible for all the work. The architect starts as the designer and ends as the site supervisor. They make sure they complete the house according to the wishes of the owner. Once again one person is responsible for the work being completed on the house. In this case it is the architect.
Understand the Construction Methods
Using a design build construction method, the owner develops a project design and encourages the joint venture to design, build, and sometimes finance projects by architects, engineers, and builders. This approach encourages teamwork between designers and entrepreneurs at all stages of the process and can lead to better integration and a more profitable project that is less prone to delays. The owner deals with the design and construction approach on a project-based basis, without worrying about which party is responsible.
There are pros and cons of using the design build approach. Those against it say that the contractors often decide on things outside of their area of expertise. Those who advocate the approach feel it saves the owner time and money. This approach brings all the people responsible for the building of the house together at the very beginning of the process. It is the beginning of the process where the savings are to be found.
Another place where the owner can save money on buying the land where the house is to be constructed. You can find a lot where utilities are already in place. You may have to pay a little extra, but it will give you peace of mind to know that the lot has already been approved for construction. If the lot does not have utilities, you will have to go through the approval process. The person you hire to build your house can help with this process. They know how to find all the information that you will need. They get all the permits needed prior to the building of the house.
One decision that you will have to make is how you want your house to sit on the land. The designer can help you with this. You want the windows to face the south. This is because they can receive the most sun in the cold weather. You want to have the correct size and type of windows that are suited to the climate where the house is located. You can add a floor that can store the thermal energy, so it radiates through the house during the night. Then in the summer you can place awnings over the windows to protect the hose from the sun.
The floor plan of a production house is designed with growing families in mind. It is not designed where future changes can be made. They are also not designed with doors and hallways wide enough to allow wheelchairs or a walker. Designing you own home can allow you to make small changes that will create a house that you can live in forever. You will want to think about all the possibilities and design a house that suits you.
Production homes often have the same floor plan. The builder of production homes does not know what needs you have.
These houses are built with a flexible floor plan. They are cheaper than custom homes. In production homes you give up ease of living for the cheaper price. In these types of homes end up with a lot of wasted space.
Ventilation is another factor to take into consideration. You can decrease your utility bills with the proper ventilation. If you create a wind tunnel that lets cool air flow through the house it will lower your cooling bill. Another strategy is to use reflective surfaces near the windows. They let light bounce into the interior of the house. This eliminates having to turn on the lights more often. Many production houses are not designed with energy savings in mind. This could make it expensive to run in the long run. You may have to spend more money in the beginning, but it will save you money in the future.
The builders of a production house can save money on materials because they can get a discount by buying in bulk. You may have to pay more for materials on a custom home they can design it to be energy saving. While you are paying more for the materials, you will save money in the long run by paying lower utility bills. To increase the savings in utilities you can build a house with solar panels. It is possible to have a house with no utility bills when you add the solar panels.
Understand the Rules of Building
You will also need to know the local building codes. Building codes do not change fast enough to keep up with changes in technology or changes in the climate. It is possible to build a house in line with building codes yet not be energy efficient. Production houses do not exceed the building codes. A custom house can be designed to exceed the building codes by making it energy efficient. The custom house can be designed to withstand changes in the weather such as tornadoes or hurricanes. Additional shoring can be added to make the house stronger in the case of strong winds.
You may not build a custom home for the price of a production home, but you will have the house you desire. You can still economize by changing some rooms. What drives the cost of the house up is the kitchen and the bathroom. You can make some changes to these rooms therefore decreasing the cost of building the house.
While a custom house can be the house of your dreams, it is not for everyone. Custom homes are the normal in wealthy populous areas such as the Mid-Atlantic. In the mountain regions production houses are most common. The decision on whether to build a production house or a custom one depends on what you want. If you want a house that is cheap to build or one where you do not have to worry about designing, then a production house is the right one for you. If you want a house that will serve generations to come a custom house is the one you should build.