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The Importance of House Plans: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: May 16, 2022

Getting a floor plan right before the build is super important to us as interior designers. Why? Because not only does it give you an overall depiction of the layout of a house, it allows you to plan your whole home, room by room...

House Plans and Interior Design - The Dream Duo

At HAAUS Design, we have collaborated with clients who have had an excellent set of plans and we’ve worked on a small number of builds where the plans have been nothing short of horrendous, meaning that things have had to be changed while the build is taking shape - definitely not ideal!

We can’t stress enough the importance of including quality plans drawn by an experienced architect, building designer or draftsman within your budget. The key difference between an architect, building designer and draftsman is the education and training. An architect is a trained, accredited and registered professional whereas a draftsman and building designer are trained professionals.

In our experience, there are amazing architects, just as there are amazing building designers and draftsman. Our advice? Spend money on quality plans and look to save money in other areas throughout your home (see our quality fixtures at an affordable price blog) but don’t ever choose an architect, building designer or draftsman purely based on price. The planning of your home is one of, if not the most, important part of your overall build process.

Choosing the Right Architect or Draftsman

When choosing your architect, building designer or draftsman, ask around and speak with people who have actually gone through the building process. Our experience is that it’s not always the person with the highest degree that is best for the job, often experience within the field is more appealing.

By utilising someone who has experience designing homes in your council area, they will know regulations, council guidelines and details specific to your build location and can make suggestions based on these. It can be very costly going back and forth for council approval if you are using a designer who does not know the guidelines - we’ve experienced this first hand and can tell you, it can be COSTLY!

Recently a client asked us to help them as they were struggling to achieve the look they wanted and were finding massive mistakes in the plans after the build had already started. The client explained that they chose to go with a particular draftsman as one was $6,000 and the other was $15,000. Of course, human instinct, they opted to go with the first as it was cheaper on paper. However, in the long run, it ended up being a very costly decision. There were so many errors in the plans our clients had purchased, that it ended up costing them thousands of dollars to correct the mistakes during the building process.

What it Feels Like to Get it Right

When you get your planning right, the whole build/renovation experience is so fulfilling!

For our next project, #HAAUS3, we worked with Shay and Dave from SDC building Design Kiama. The whole process was nothing short of amazing! When looking for a building designer for this project, we ensured that we asked around. We spoke to people who had used SDC Building Design themselves and then we booked in a first consultation. At this consultation, we ensured that Shay and Dave were aware of the guidelines in our local council area. Something that was extremely important to us knowing that it can be quite tricky to have plans approved. We also asked to have a look at some of SDC’s previous work and from this alone, we were sold. We knew immediately that this was the team who we wanted to design our home. They absolutely nailed our brief and designed a home that is out of this world! This experience has totally transformed our personal views on building and design.

When designing plans, whether they be for a renovation or a new build, planning well will generally avoid circumstances which are distressing and can have a long-term financial impact.

New Build and Renovation Planning Top Tips:

Here are our key tips to consider when planning:

  • Always work with an interior designer before you draft your dream home. Interior designers will look at all the elements of a build and will tailor their package to suit your budget. While an interior designer may seem costly, their fees are usually offset by the money you save using their tips and trade partnerships. Interior Designers will also usually also have excellent working relationships with a range of architects, building designers and draftsman and will be able to point you in the right direction.

  • Ensure your interior designer is not receiving ‘kick backs’ from recommending someone and if they do receive some sort of compensation, ensure they are transparent with you. Also ask your interior designer if they have used the person they are recommending themselves. The team at HAAUS. only recommend people who we have personally used in our own builds. This way, we can always attest to their work.

  • Ask if your designer can provide a walk through of your home in 3D. Although it will be at an added cost, the benefits far outweigh the price. A 3D walk through will help you gain an overall feel of your home.

  • Choose an architect, building designer or draftsman from word-of-mouth and reviews. Ask a number of people who have recently built or renovated who they used to plan their home. Ask lots of questions so you can make an informed decision.

  • Ensure your architect, building designer or draftsman know your council area.

  • Have a budget ready from the initial meeting and ask your designer to plan within this budget. There is no use spending time and money on a custom design, to then find out you can’t even build or renovate because you don’t have the funds.

  • Be planning obsessed! Have an idea of exactly what you want and show your designer pictures if you can - Instagram is your new best friend!

  • Building variations can be costly and you want to avoid them. The more time you spend planning your home equates to less building variations.

  • Think about ceiling heights before you meet with your designer. We don’t like building anything with ceilings under 2700mm as it can feel enclosed. If you increase your ceilings, you must increase your door heights. Of course this is an added expense but it is something we would recommend you seriously consider as it isn’t something you can change down the track.

  • Choose your appliances before you finalise your plans. You need to ensure there is adequate space for your fridge, washer, dryer etc. You don’t need to purchase appliances before your build. Instead, take model numbers to your appointments.

  • Do you want polished concrete floors, micro-cement, engineered or timber flooring? This should all be considered during the planning process.

  • Consider where furniture will be placed, where TVs will be on walls, access to power points. Think about what pendant lights you’d like to go in your kitchen area, bathrooms, bedrooms etc. We like to consider all things, right down to the finer details like where we will put our Christmas tree come December.

  • You also need to think about heating and cooling as provisions needs to be included in your plans if you are having a ducted system in you home.

  • We always ensure when working on our design that toilets are not put in direct eyesight of the door. This is a huge no no! No one wants to see the toilet when walking down a hallway. Instead, have a beautiful vanity as the first fixture you see when entering a bathroom.

Finally, align yourself with people who will get excited about your project! People who are passionate about what they do will inately strive for the greatest results and have the projects best interest at heart.

Here at HAAUS. nothing excites us more than new build and renovation planning - we LOVE it! Reach out, we would love to hear about your next project.


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