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Dream Home Design | Simple Steps To Do Things Right

We all would want to have a dream home design, right? Of course, every self-builder has individual expectations and ambitions in terms of the final result of their Self Build project. Unfortunately, the process of designing what you can call a dream home is very demanding and challenging. Why? Well, since it is a crucial stage that is responsible for making your vision a reality.

Before starting to create your project brief you need to think simply: “Why?” Why do you want to build your home instead of buying it directly from a mass home builder? Every self-builder reasoning can be different. Some of them want to build a safe and joyful environment for their children. Others may want to build a house to then sell on, to gain maximum profit.

Throughout the whole project, it is important to remember ‘why’ you want to build your own home. Doing this will help you get through the most challenging moments. There will be a lot of them.

The Main Dream Home Design Process

At first, in order to create a dream home design, we need to answer this question: What is a brief and what is it used for? The brief sets out all of the crucial requirements for your project and needs to be created before you engage with your design team. It’ll help you obtain accurate fee proposals from your design team and will be an evolving document throughout the project life.

Forthwith, the first thing you need to include in your brief is the basic room information and room sizes. It is helpful to use the measurements of your current rooms, as long as they meet your expectations. While the second aspect you need to consider is your building flow – the layout/structure of the internal rooms. Below are the other key dream home design elements.

1. The Actual Budget 

To begin with, your budget is one of the most crucial elements of the brief and something that is often kept secret from all but your partner. The amount of money you can afford to spend on your project determines the architect’s design significantly, so it is important to set the budget as accurately as possible.

You must also consider how you are going to manage the cash flow throughout the key stages of the project, but we will go into this further later in the article

2. Lifestyle Consistency 

It is important to make sure that it will be consistent with both your own and your family’s lifestyle. For instance, if you need an open-plan kitchen connected to the dining room so that you can cook while spending time with your family and entertaining guests. Or a sheltered seating area outside with a gas fire pit and BBQ, so that you can enjoy BBQs with friends and family.

3. Architectural Style

The next point that you should include in your Self Build brief is its architectural style. Do you want a traditional or contemporary house? Also is there any exceptional element of the landscape close to your house that you want to see from your bedroom window? Maybe you just want to position the house to receive the optimal amount of sunlight.

4. Heating And Energy 

Two important elements of your Self Build brief would also be the heating strategy and how important the home’s energy efficiency is. Do you want to build a low-energy house and focus on the form of renewable heating, or is this not a priority for your Self Build?

During the process of assessing the energy performance of your proposed home, your architect will need an energy consultant or Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) designer. At this stage, all the construction elements of your Self Build, from the wall build-up to floor make-up, will be added to the location and heating sources.

More so, in order to estimate the overall performance of your building. This will help to predict the heating demand and costs for your home.

5. Project Scale And Timeline

Last but not least, the next element to consider is the timescale for your Self Build. It is advised to focus on the starting date of your project rather than its deadlines. That said, read here for more advice regarding setting timescales for your Self Build. We would never suggest setting the move-in date, as an important birthday or worse Christmas Day!

Where Do You Look From There?

After completing the optimal brief for your Self Build, it’s time to look for the right people to help design your dream home. Before you start your Self Build project, it is crucial to make sure that you have sufficient funds. Speaking to financial professionals will help you organize the sale of your existing home, or/and take out a mortgage, and set the budget for your Self Build.

Therefore, avoiding any unnecessary stress. Generally, we often advise our clients to consider appointing a quantity surveyor. In fact, appointing this specialist should be treated as an investment. Particularly, by doing so, most savings can be made throughout the construction process. And, once you are in your new home, the end results will repay you many times over.

Moving on, once your finances are in order you are ready to look for a plot for your Self Build. You may appoint a land surveyor to assess the plots you like. Suffice it to say, in order to choose the one that suits you best. Eventually, it can greatly help you to confirm the boundaries of your plot. As well as the connection to basic services such as drainage, electricity, and water.

Who To Involve In Your Dream Home Design

Markedly, an architect/architectural designer/an architect’s technician needs to be involved in each stage of your project. It is essential that an engineer is also involved. But, it is important also that your appointed architect fully understands your lifestyle and preferences. So that your vision for your dream home design is achieved.

In addition, a structural engineer is also required for your Self Build as they play a key part in the design. Not to mention, they are most likely to be involved with the construction teams. A structural engineer is needed in various stages such as at the detailed design stage. As well as during the process of acquiring a building warrant approval.

At Eli Group Designs, we always suggest getting a soil investigation study completed on any site you are looking at or have purchased, as soon as possible. An engineer will dig some trial pits around your plot. And then, they assess the quality of soil and its bearing capacity. They can also carry out a porosity test, which involves filling a large hole in the ground with water.

Learn More: How To Prepare A Self-Build Brief In Detail

Usually, this can be done a number of times. Then, thereafter, they’ll start measuring how long it takes to sink into the ground. If the water does not drain away it means that you will not be able to use standard drainage solutions. Be that as it may, depending on the difficulty of the project and any contentious planning issues, you may also need a planning consultant.

You may want a quantity surveyor to assess the detailed construction cost. It is worth considering employing a heating engineer to develop a heating design. If you decide not to take the full self-build route a project manager will need to be appointed. After choosing the right team for your Self Build, it is time to go on to the key design stages. These are divided into four main areas.

Including the:
  • initial design,
  • planning stage,
  • building regulations
  • production or construction drawings.

At Eli, we have crafted the presented stages to give the self-builder exactly the right amount of information and assistance to get the required approvals. After your planning approval is granted, it’s time to move on to the building regulations certification process. At this stage, you will be involved with your architect, engineer, energy assessor, and building regulations certifier.

Last but not least, the production or construction drawings stage is often missed out by self-builders in order to try and save costs. However, if you want to be a typical self-builder you need to make sure, that you can provide a contractor with as much information as possible. It will let them build exactly what you want and eliminate grey areas.

At this stage, you will work closely with your architect, engineer, SAP assessor, contractors, and CDM co-ordinator. In the beginning, you need to decide which procurement route you are going down. Is it going to be a full Self Build, is it going to be project managed or are you going to appoint a main contractor?


As a rule of thumb, it’s quite vital to remember to secure your latent defects insurance policy, prior to starting any work on site. This is a 10-years insurance policy that insures the building for the next owner. Whereby, if the next owner requires a mortgage, you must have a latent defects policy to finalize the deal.

Fortunately, if you get this before starting the construction process it could cost as little as £2,500. However, if you apply for it after you have started digging the foundations, it may cost even up to £20,000! After you go through all those stages you are ready to start building your dream home design project.

So, are you considering building your own self-built dream home? If so, you now have a few steps to consider before you can kickstart your dream home design project. Otherwise, you can also download this eBook for free — it’s more on the introduction to self-building — so that you can gather more details from other professionals.

Other More Related Resources:
  1. Get Some Advice On How To Find A Perfect Plot
  2. The Topmost Tips For Financing A Self-Build Project 
  3. Gather More Information About Appointing The Right Team
  4. Learn Whether You Need A Quantity Surveyor Or Not
  5. Get More Advice On Choosing A Self-Build Architect 

Whatever the need be, remember that Eli Designs Limited has got your back always. We are a group of design architects and home builders based in Nairobi, providing complete design and construction services for commercial and residential projects. All you’ll need to do is just Contact Us and then let us know how we can sort you out. We’ll be more than ready…

Finally, you are also welcome to share some of your additional thoughts, suggestions, opinions, or even contribution questions (for FAQ Answers) in our comments section below this blog article guide. Not forgetting, you can also reach out to our team of Web Tech Experts if you’d like to partner with us. Or rather, to have a feature of your business, services, and products.

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