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Your Building Style

You have chosen the right site for your build or figured out which part of your existing house can best be added to or changed.

The next set of decisions you will have to make involve design.

What drives your desire to build a new home, renovate or add onto your existing home? Do you long for a villa-style home, or a modern Mediterranean mansion? Is more space your overwhelming priority?

When planning your project, talk to all those involved and make sure that your home will meet the needs and wants of your whole family, not just now, but in the future too.

The best place to start is with a list

Write down your must haves: these are things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, north-facing, space for a home office. Next write out your wish list: this would include extras that you would enjoy like an outdoor entertaining area or a swimming pool. Your lists can help you prioritise your needs, while staying within your budget.

When you’re working on what you want for the exterior of your home, visit showhomes to get some ideas. Future-Proof Building has numerous showhomes around the country, click here to see where they are. If you’re thinking interiors, another resource that is now available to all, New Zealand-wide, is the GIB Living® website which offers both practical advice and design inspiration to help you get the home you really want with some fantastic interactive tools and resources.

Consider your future needs

During your planning, consider how long you will live in your new (or newly altered) home. If you have a young family, thinking ahead to when your children are older and need more space for studying, cars or private space. Might you need to accommodate an elderly parent?

Housing needs change over time. It is important to take steps to ensure the design of a home will meet everyone’s needs over their lifetimes, no matter their circumstances. This means your new home can become an asset for a lifetime, rather than just a phase.

Create a brief

Once you have compiled your list of needs and wants, they can be put together with your budget into a document called a brief. This is a helpful starting point in discussions with a professional designer or builder.

Why use a designer?

An architect or architectural designer can add value to your project well over and above the cost of their fees. Their training allows them to consider your ideas and come up with distinctive and innovative solutions for you that can be built on time and on budget. It is important that you thoroughly discuss the range of services each offers to be sure that you will have the right support throughout the whole building process. Some design and build companies have architectural designers in house and can manage the entire design and build process for you from start to finish. They can create a design unique to you or modify existing plans to your requirements.

Make a short-list

How do you choose the right architect or architectural designer for you? One place to start is with your preferred architectural style.

  • Pick a few buildings that you like around town. You should be able to find out who the designer is by searching council records or simply asking the home owner.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends or relatives.
  • Check out professional industry associations such as NZIA and ADNZ
  • Browse the page of designers in your area on fpb.co.nz

Next, call each firm on your list, describe your project and see if they are available to take it on. If they can, then request information on their firm’s qualifications and experience.

Once you have reviewed the material you should be able to narrow your list to two or three firms or designers.

Make your selection

Arrange to meet with each designer; this is crucial as you will be working with them for a long time so you need to feel comfortable with them. Make sure you are happy with the way your designer communicates and their alignment with your personal values (by jan). Ensure you know who will be working on your project and that you clearly outline your budget and timelines. Finally, ask for references: it’s invaluable to hear from someone who’s been there, done that, how the whole process went for them.

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Find out what you can do to be Life Cycle Costing savvy in the articles linked below.


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