8 top questions to ask before you start building!

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8 top questions to ask before you start building!

Chloe Hines Chloe Hines
Modern Houses by Architekten Spiekermann Modern
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Building a home can be one of the most daunting tasks you will ever attempt to do—and it's a process where at no point do questions, items and checklists become easy.  From the very beginning, where you're brainstorming and deciding on an appropriate architect and contracting team, to the moment of actual construction where you're picking out materials—the whole process will need 100% of your time and attention.

If you have previous experience with an architect or building team, then you are perhaps well-prepared for the experience—however, if this is your first project, then we are sure you have multiple and various questions to ask.  We have created a combined and thorough list to aide you in this process—our top eight questions to ask before building will leave you feeling informed and empowered before the building project consumes you!

What is a good design to fit our needs?

Before starting any home building project, it's good to ask yourself what you and your family are looking for and what can individually fulfill your needs.  Are you looking for a starter home—before kids? Are you looking for an established home with your family at maximum size (after kids), or are you looking for a home where you can raise your family and then stay into retirement?  All of these are things to think about prior to hiring a building team.

Another thing to consider is that the type of home you choose will most definitely depend upon which areas you're looking at for your future homestead.  You won't go into an über-modern neighborhood and start building a traditional home, and vice versa. Once you have decided what you want to build depending on your family needs, an architect should assist you in deciding if this is a good long-term decision and most importantly, investment. 

What is a building code?

There are different building codes for different types of construction projects—for residential, non-residential and even 'non-building' structures (think compost structures in your backyard as a great example here—most cities have regulations a on these.) A building code, is a set of regulations and rules that specifies the minimum standards for general construction projects.  This would include both structural and safety components in order to protect the general public health, safety and welfare of those around you.

It is to your benefit to educate yourself not only on your state's building code but your city's building code as well—however, don't feel overwhelmed.  Any architects, engineers or constructors that you hire should be able to properly (and legally) apply building and safety codes to any projects. If at any point in time you feel something is being done illegally, or incorrectly, always check with an inspector.  This is for your own safety—and you can never be too careful when it comes to your home!

Who will be responsible for my project?

As the construction project begins on your new home, it will be a headache chasing people down to find the right answers to your questions.  Make sure that you establish very early on who is in charge of which parts of your home and keep them close!  Know which days they're working and their specific shifts—keep them motivated to hit any deadlines you have and also make yourself available to answer their questions as well!

What are good sizes and proportions for rooms?

Architects and engineers will have standards of what a typical room size is—whether it's a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, or living room.  Of course, these sizes will vary depending on the overall size of your home—but a smart use of your space is one of the most important aspects of your new home.  The last thing you want is a large, beautiful home with a small kitchen or small masters' suite.

CAD standards for architects are perfect at proportions and dimensions—ask your architect or engineer what they're thinking size-wise and if you want any area of your home slightly smaller or larger—tell them early on!

If you tend to be a family that values outdoor space—then consider different home designs where the exterior is a larger part of your homes total space.

How can I maximize the kitchen's potential?

Most people will agree that the kitchen, living room and bedrooms are the three rooms that are highest on most homeowners' priority scales. These are the rooms used most often, and will provide the most function.

Maximizing your kithen's potential will not only include making it large enough, but also choosing the right area of the home, the right materials (granite or concrete counter tops, great floors) and great appliances. The kitchen is one area of your home where you don't want to skimp on costs or materials. Plenty of other rooms in your home can get the same look for less with alternative materials—an architect or interior designers should be able to show you the plethora of options you have—but in the kitchen, be smart for the long-term!

This kitchen is a great example of how both design and materials can maximize the value of your home—all in your kitchen!

How many builders will I have in my project?

The current average time of building a single-family home from start (obtaining permits) to finish (moving in) is about seven-months. One thing to consider is if you have a tight deadline and want that time shortened—then hiring more builders is one way to go.  Will this cost more money? Yes, but your home could be finished in half that time.

We want to warn you, that hiring more workers does typically shorten the overall time, but then you have more people to work around and be acquainted with throughout the building process—it's also more people that need to be on the same page. Always be informed of how many people are consistently working on your project and communicate with them on a near-daily basis!

Can I replace materials and still have quality?!

In one answer: yes.  There are so many pre-fabricated and substitute products now that offer the same quality and durability as the original for a fraction of the cost.  It is super important that no matter what your budget is, that you explore these options. It is never a bad thing to save money for use elsewhere. Both an architect and an interior designer should be able to keep your informed on such options. An architect will be useful when discussing different structural items and materials and an interior designer can help you choose tiles, woods and other surfaces (think windows and countertops) that will offer the same look and longevity for less money.

In your kitchen and exterior areas are where you can save the most money with exchanging materials and substitutes—it's worth a try!

Where can I save money without spoiling the quality of my project?!

In order to save money and keep the same function and aesthetic in your home—think about saving money in both prime areas and the lesser-known.   With kitchen appliances and materials you can save a lot of money while maintaining quality and good looks—also in guest bedrooms and bathrooms materials can be swapped in order to keep the more expensive items in your private areas.

You can also save money with landscaping and through DIY projects.  A lot of homeowners are now hiring architects and engineers to design and complete the structural base of their home—and finishing the dry wall, interiors and exteriors on their own! That takes a lot of time and as an individual you won't have access to building and contracting discounts that your team would normally have. When it comes to your home, take the building process seriously and make sure you're not skimping on the foundational items.

Modern Houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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