AVOID THESE COMMON BUILDING BLUNDERS
Building your dream home is a massive undertaking. To avoid things going wrong, it requires loads of planning and prep. On the flip side, it’s a fantastic chance to create a custom space that supports your current lifestyle and allows for whatever the future has in store. Here are our top tips to help bring your dream home to life.
It’s ALL About Design
No big project succeeds without careful planning. Taking the time to consider your needs and wants is the first significant step in creating the right home design for you.
To lay the first brick in your journey, visit a few display homes or open houses to get a feel for some aspects you might like to apply to yours. Then, sit down with your loved ones and ask yourselves some questions about your habits and lifestyle:
- How long do we plan on living here? – Will it be before we have children, or during and after into retirement? Let your answers guide you regarding space requirements: bedrooms, living areas, study and kitchen.
- What sort of storage space do we need? – Factor in both indoor and outdoor storage: cupboards, spaces for larger items like gym equipment, a second/third/hobby car, caravan and music equipment.
- What space best suits our lifestyle? – Think about where you spend most of your time; hanging out in the lounge room, or congregating in the kitchen? Do you enjoy eating and relaxing outdoors? Make sure your house design accommodates your living habits.
Now you have a rough idea of what your house plan might look like, it’s time to switch your sites to your lighting requirements. You’d be surprised how many people forget about this vital aspect of their home until they’re already at the building stage. Or worse – until they’re settling into their new home, cursing the lack of task lighting above the kitchen sink.
Think About Your Lighting Needs
Three categories of home lighting contribute to the overall look and feel of your home:
- Ambient – This lighting illuminates the entire room, for example, a central ceiling fixture.
- Task-related – This lighting helps you see the detail of what you’re doing, for example, LED downlights over kitchen benches for dinner prep.
- Accenting – This lighting highlights special features in your home, such as art or photographs.
When creating your home lighting plan, keep these categories top of mind. Your best bet is to opt for a mix in each room; if you need some inspiration, ask an electrician for expert advice (see our tips on hiring the right experts below).
One more thing: when you’re shopping around to find the right lights and light switches for your spaces, be savvy and buy ones that won’t date quickly. A switch range like VIVO gives you the flexibility to colour customise your rocker switches as design trends change. You can also incorporate a variety of electrical functions like USB chargers, TV connectors and a Bluetooth sound system.
Opt For Energy Efficient
With ever-increasing power bills, it makes sense to ensure your new home is energy efficient. There’s an array of products on the market to help you make sustainable choices. Here are some examples:
An Energy Monitoring System
This nifty gadget does all the hard work for you. It monitors your gas, water and electrical usage, as well as how much power your solar panels are generating (because it’s great to have those too). That way, you can keep track and avoid bill shock. You can also review your usage history, and adjust your habits to take advantage of solar power during the day, or cheaper tariff rates.
Time and Dimmer Switches
These switches are all about making your life easier and saving you a few dollars in the process. Time delay switches are the ultimate in ‘set and forget,’ and can be programmed to turn appliances on and off at specified times. Think TVs, computers, outdoor lighting or watering systems. Similarly, dimmer switches allow you to reduce power output by dimming lights when you don’t need them at full strength.
Installing lighting sensors means they only switch on when they detect movement and turn off when they don’t. They work well outdoors, in hallways, walk-in-robes, kids’ rooms and bathrooms.
Hire The Right Experts
You’ve planned your dream build down to the details – now it’s time to bring it to life. Choosing the right experts will make the experience a positive one.
It’s essential to do your due diligence and hire licensed and well-regarded designers, builders and contractors. Research them online, interview them and speak to people who’ve built with them. At the same time, check they’re up to scratch with their professional memberships (such as Master Builders Association or the Housing Industry Association), and codes of conduct.
One of the most critical contractors you’ll hire is your electrician. So, it’s good to know it’s one of the most regulated industries in Australia, and they have to prove full compliance with their state or territory’s electrical legislation.
Here are a few tips when hiring a sparky:
- Ask to see their electrical licence. You can also check with your local authority that their license is valid and registered.
- Choose a local sparky. That way, you won’t be charged for travel time – plus it’s nice to support your community tradies. A friend or neighbour may have a good recommendation for you.
- Get at least two quotes. Then, compare to ensure you’re getting a good deal. The quote should also cover travel, labour and
When the job is complete, ask your electrician to provide documentation that confirms what work has been done. In some states, your electrician will need to generate an electrical safety certificate for all installations. Ask your electrician if this is the case in your state to be sure your work is safe and compliant.
While it can be a long and sometimes stressful process, building the home of your dreams is also one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences.
Best of luck in your building journey!