So you are thinking about building your dream home? Here is a summary of a few crucial aspects to keep in mind in the early stages of building your home.


Before the home building journey can start you and the designer will need to set up a brief. A brief is what architects use to sum up the requirements that the design must fulfil. How many bedrooms do you need? Will the bathrooms be en-suite? Open plan living and dining, single or double garage. Every project has a unique list of requirements it needs to fulfil and by giving this good thought before you start can go a long way in the initial phase of design.


This is the first question I usually receive from clients – How much will it cost? Doing a bit of research before you start your building quest can go a long way. Phone your friends or family members who have built or ask an architect or builder to give you an idea of what the going rate is. By using the brief you communicated to your architect, the designer can start giving your list a spatial quality and this can be translated back to the price per m2 giving the budget. If the budget is very tight the designer can use his skills to double the use of certain spaces to maximise its value.

Having a clear budget of what you’re going to spend beforehand will limit the amount of scope creep (changes, continuous or uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope). The budget will also guide the scale and scope of the project.


When are you are planning to start your project? How long do you plan to build and by when do you want to occupy the space? The programme is a timeline used to guide the project’s development. This schedule of future events will help manage expectations, cash flow and limit frustrations so well associated with construction. The timeline of your building project will be dependent on a few factors such as:

  • The complexity of the site. Is it a flat, easy to build area in a gated community or is the site on a wooded mountain peak overlooking the sea?
  • The budget
  • Your team. Are you managing the project? Or will you be appointing a project manager to facilitate and manage the programme?


You get two types of clients, the I-can-design-and-build-myself type and the client who sees the value of a good team and who appoints an architect to facilitate the tender process and guides the client to form the right team for the project. Building a home is not easy and by using the right team you will save money, stay on budget and finish on time. The team for building a home will have to consist of an architect, engineer, building contractor and if the budget and scale of the project deem it necessary, a project manager.


If you’re reading this article you probably have a good idea of what your dream house is going to look like. When planning your new home start gathering images of spaces you enjoy and this will guide your designer as to what style you enjoy and what aesthetically pleases you. Have a look at Houzz for inspiration or start gathering ideas on Pinterest.


Making your home energy efficient and green has become very easy and will save you money in the long run. When designing a new home it is important to incorporate energy-efficient systems such as solar geysers & greywater systems. The architectural designer can also design your home to allow for passive cooling and heating by orientating the dwelling correctly and by designing the windows and doors correctly.


A good home is designed with its context in mind. The context is the immediate location of your site. If your site is in the countryside close to agricultural and rural buildings the architect can draw inspiration from its farm-like setting, drawing inspiration from its surroundings as to allow your new home to fit nicely in its new setting. When shopping for a building site make sure to look at its orientation -North facing sites are ideal in South Africa.