The first steps when planning your home

Don't rush into designing your house all at once. These tips will help you take your time at each step to make sure the details are exactly what you want, eliminating stress and potential regret down the road.

The first steps when planning your home

1. The first, basic step

Layout of space can begin with a series of very informal module or "bubble" sketches. Each module represents a particular use of space. The more of these diagrams you draw, the nearer you are likely to come to sensing the best floor plan. You should also make a point of visiting and examining the general layout of as many homes as possible.

2. Going into detail

A sketch of floor plans, with rooms in approximately correct proportion, follows the space ­layout. With such sketches, details of regular patterns of personal movement can be ­discerned well enough to reveal defects in the location of doorways.

3. Dealing with regulations

For final plans or working drawings you will need a diagram of each elevation, and a plan of each separate floor. This is usually drawn in a 1:100 scale. If you are on a small block of land, you will need a site diagram showing the house, with distances from boundaries and building lines marked. This is usually drawn as a 1:500 scale plan. To show the authorities how the house is to be built, one or more cross-section drawings will be needed to show internal details such as framing, supports and thickness of materials.

Depending on the complexity of the project, you may also be required to show an electrical wiring diagram, engineering drawings, contour diagrams, drainage diagrams and detailed drawings (usually 1:20) of any unusual joinery or structural work. Have as much detail as possible on your plans to avoid delays in the approval process and to make the sequence of building clear when construction starts.The final plan will need to be approved by your local council prior to the start of building work. You may have to comply with owner-builder requirements which could involve compulsory insurance of the project.

Follow these basic steps when planning your dream home and you will save yourself stress down the road.

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