The key to getting the design of your new home right can be described in one word – communicate. You can argue that you are not an architect, a draftsman or a builder. For most of us that’s true but nevertheless, if you don’t get involved, if you don’t communicate, decisions may be made and action taken which you may later regret. You may argue that you don’t know how to get involved. Well communicating is simple. Talk to the professionals involved in your design. Never stop talking because communication is what can produce the best result for you.

One very important fact to keep in mind is that the design of your new house is not just things like the number of rooms, the size of those rooms and how they relate to one another; it is also the quality of the materials. Of course you want the layouts and number of rooms to suit your needs and lifestyle. But do make sure that the design also covers the quality of the materials to be used.

Remember too that the design of your house includes the design of the land on which your house will be built. How much outside space do you need and want? What do you want to be able to do with this outside space? If you are keen on helping the environment there are many things you should consider in the design of the building and grounds before you go ahead. The ideal water tank for all your gardening needs is a perfect example. Being able to trap rainwater plus grey water from your house can all be planned in the design stage. Your garden will thank you for it and you’ll save money.

But who will create the design?

The architect and builder are the two pillars upon which your house will be built. The architect creates the design and the builder turns the design, the plans, into a property. Both are vital to the success of your project. In this case we’re talking about the design of your new home and thus about your architect. Let’s assume you know nobody in this type of business. How do you find the right architect? And just as importantly what do we mean by the ‘right’ architect?

There are a number of things to do and just as importantly, not to do when selecting an architect. There are different ways to find the architect who you think will produce the best design for you. Ask people who have recently had a new home built, particularly if their style of home is similar to the one you are keen on. Who did they choose? What were they like? Would you recommend them?

Of course you can simply interview a number of architects. Draw up a list of questions and contact architects taking notes about their replies. You could telephone them or send them a list of questions. Any architect who wants your business will be happy to oblige. It’s like an audition process where you are looking for an architect and testing the so-called various applicants.

Don’t do these things

But there are things you should never do when looking for and selecting an architect. You should never work with somebody you don’t like. ‘Getting on’ is important with such a massive investment as a new house. You should never under or over-quote to your architect. They must know exactly how much you can spend. Remember that their fee is part of your overall budget.

You want an architect you like, has experience and recommendations, is a good listener and communicator and who is good value for their fee. With the right choice of architect you stand an excellent chance of getting the design of house you want and need.

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