I really wasn’t going to include a page on house design because we bought a house that already exists. Although we did not have the luxury of specifying the design, we were lucky that we found a house that had everything we needed and most of the things we wanted. So, when it comes to practical advise on the actual construction of a house, I have none to offer.
However, because what we wanted originally was to build a house rather than buy one already built, I spent a lot of time poring over house plans and studying construction materials. All that information, I can share with you.
First of all, you will want to read the National Building Code. It applies to all structures, including residences except “traditional indigenous family dwelling costing not more than five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) and intended for use and occupancy of the family of the owner only” and only when it “will not constitute a danger to life or limb of its occupants or of the public; will not be fire hazard or an eyesore to the community; and does not contravene any fire zoning regulation of the city or municipality in which it is located.”
Any architect worth his license should know that there are basic things that need to be followed. In case you have doubts about whether your chosen architect really knows what he is saying, better be armed with information.
Normally, the architect will have his own engineer and construction team so you won’t have to trouble yourself with all of that. What you need to discuss with your architect is the budget, what you require and how you want your house to look. How many floors? How many bedrooms? How many toilets and baths? What about the basic design — country, modern, traditional, native? Do you have ecological and environmental concerns such that you would rather not use certain kinds of material? If you need inspiration, check out the following sites:
- House Plans
- Global House Plans
- Architectural Designs
- The House Designers
- Cool House Plans
- Design Connection
- House Plans and More
- Design Basics
- Architectural House Plans
The list is by no means comprehensive but it’s a good starting point.
Understand that what you want will have to be weighed with a lot of things. The size of the lot, the terrain, the location as well as zoning ordinances (and even the developer’s rules in case you’re building a house on a private subdivision) will all affect the design of your house.
Once your architect understands what you want, he will prepare preliminary drawings. How many times the plans will be revised at this stage depends on how long it will take to get you satisfied.
Note, too, that the house plan is rarely part of the construction cost. So, take that into consideration.