By now, the impacts of COVID-19 and the rollercoaster of coming in and out of lockdown has affected all of us. These protection measures are definitely necessary, however they can be particularly frustrating if you happen to be in the middle of building your dream home. Needing to have lots of different people like builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and bricklayers all on-site definitely gets tricky, not to mention having access to all the materials your tradesmen need!
However, this seems to be our new way of life for now, so all we can do is try to make the best of it and protect our families and communities. Fortunately, construction is still being allowed to continue, so there’s no need to put your grand home plans on the backburner.
Display homes and selection centers may be shut but we’re here to take you through some useful tips, guides and tools that you can use to keep your homebuilding dream alive – no matter how difficult it may seem!
1. Choosing the right people for your job
So, you’ve secured your finance and you’re ready to start the journey of a lifetime – building your new home! The first step you’ll need to take is choosing your builder, and architect, and these important decisions can really affect the success of your entire build.
Choosing your builder
It’s vital to choose a reputable, experienced and honest builder for your project if you want it completed on-time, to-budget and without any major complications. If you’re building a custom home then you’ll probably be putting the building contract out to tender. This process will enable you to meet a selection of potential builders so you’ll be able to gauge their work ethic and communication style, see their previous work and be provided with their quotes for your build. Designers and architects can also recommend builders that they have previously worked with.
If you’re renovating, there will be builders available in your local area that can take on your project. You can find them on Hipages, a trusted website that connects you with tradies to make your renovation simpler. A good way to test a builder’s reliability is to see if they’re a member of the Housing Industry Association (HIA).
Choosing your architect
When it comes to choosing an architect, here are six easy tips to follow:
- Do research online and create a shortlist of your favourites
- Look for a style match between your perfect style and their previous work
- Meet with your top candidates for a chat about your requirements
- Assess their previous work
- Look for their soft skills – their communication style etc.
- Discuss the budget with them upfront
- See whether they have experience with your local area (this will help you during the DA process if they know the area and are familiar with local council requirements)
2. Love your location?
One big decision you’ll have to make if you love the location you’re in and want to stay is if you should renovate your existing home or knock-down and rebuild.
Here are some questions to hopefully help you make your decision.
- Is knocking down and rebuilding in your area even an option under council requirements?
- How extensive of a renovation does your house need?
- Is the orientation of your existing home preferable or would it be better if it was switched?
- Have you done a real estate value check? Does your existing home style sell well in the area or are people wanting newer homes?
- Have you done due diligence with your existing home? How structurally sound is it?
- Do you love the original character of your home or do you want an entirely new style?
Choosing a new location
There are so many factors when it comes to choosing the right location for your build. You should be thinking about whether the location is desirable for your own family, as well as its potential resale value down the line.
Is it close to schools, shopping centres, public transport and main roads? Is it near parks and community spaces? What’s the average house price in the area? Will the style of house you want to build fit in with the kind of people who want to live in the area?
You’ll also need to think about how long you plan to be in the home. Do you plan on being there for five to 10 years? Or do you plan on being there for the remaining duration of your life, in which case you’ll need to consider accessibility requirements?
Building a home for your lifestyle
The layout you choose for your home will vastly depend on your lifestyle, needs and the kind of feel you want your home to have. Here are six tips for making sure you choose correctly.
- Know your budget and don’t blow it if possible
- Know your land, and speak with your builder if it’s an ‘awkward’ block
- Make a wish list – think about your existing home and what you wish you had 4. What fits your lifestyle – single or double storey? Open plan or segmented?
- Give yourself enough space to live and grow. With urban lots getting smaller, consider making more of your space by adding a basement
6. Look at homes online to get inspired and find layouts you like
Choosing your homes exterior
Understand your style
Take some time to get to know your own personal style before trying to choose exterior materials. The PGH Bricks website has loads of inspiration for different home styles, or you can take the quick, easy and fun PGH Style Quiz to get to know what your dream home might look like.
Handy tips & tricks
Take the quick, easy and fun PGH Style Quiz to get to know what your dream home might look like.
Consider your location
When choosing your exterior, you’ll also need to consider the area your home is located in. For example, if you choose to go with a brick exterior, then bricks are graded according to different conditions, and your home’s location will impact the grade of brick you need to buy. The design possibilities are limitless when it comes to brick, so turn to PGH for advice on how to choose the right brick size, colour, texture and feel for your desired home look.
If you’re looking to go with cladding for your home’s exterior, then this can bring a number of benefits like energy efficiency, noise reduction, and a lessened impact on the environment. Check out the amazing options that Hebel has for home exteriors and download their Designer Range Brochure for some serious inspiration.
A tile roof
Choosing a tile roof gives you total design control over the style of your home, allowing you to choose from a huge range of colours and textures that can really tie your project’s exterior together. Monier has it all laid out for you with eight stunning tile design styles to be inspired by, ranging from the Hamptons to Urban Australia. You may also want to consider a solar roofing option, which can seriously maximise your home’s look, potential and environmental sustainability.
Use the iDESIGN tool by CSR
If this all sounds a little complicated and overwhelming, you can use the iDESIGN tool by CSR to build and visualise what your home will look like from the outside. This tool is perfect for when we’re going through lockdowns and restrictions, making access to the experts difficult.
Choosing your homes interior
Your home is where you spend the most time (especially during pandemic lockdowns if they are to continue!) so it’s vital to create a home interior that you love.
Besides choosing colours, textures and fabrics that you love, there are so many features you can add to your home’s interior to make it pop, such as cornices. Gyprock has amazing plaster building solutions that can really impact the performance and comfortability of your home, as well as taking your design from simple to visually stunning. Gyprock products can also be used to enhance your indoor space with a variety of decorative features such as bulkheads and coffered ceilings, niches, alcoves and dropped ceilings.
With so many people at home these days, it pays in productivity to build your home with products that promote sound segmentation. If you’ve got a teenager studying in one room, kids homeschooling in the other and you trying to work in the office, every little bit helps.
Hebel’s PowerFloor has the feel of a solid concrete floor with superior acoustic performance and thermal insulation properties. It’s the perfect base for any floor covering, including timber strips, tiles or concrete, so whichever look you decide to go for, you can keep your home soundproofed with PowerFloor.
A vital component: insulation
Last but definitely not least, you can’t forget about making sure your home has adequate ventilation and insulation. Not only does this mean you’ll be comfortable with the temperature all year-round, but your home will also be protected from excess condensation which can lead to mould growth.
Bradford insulation and ventilation products offer Total Home Comfort, so you can work with your builder to ensure your family stays healthy when they’re at home. Learn more about Bradford’s range of products and how they can provide Total Home Comfort.
Finishing touches and moving in
Once your home is built, you can start placing the finishing touches with furniture, decor and, finally, moving in! Moving house is a great opportunity to sort through all your belongings and get rid of the things you don’t need, meaning you’ll be settling into your new home with a clean, cutter-free slate.
Then, all that’s left to do is relax and enjoy!