In our experience, homeowners approach the custom homebuilding journey in one of two ways:
Path 1: Start designing their home with an architect and wait until plans are done to choose a builder and interior designer
Path 2: Build a trusted team of architect, builder, and interior designer at the START of the architectural design phase
Most people begin this journey thinking Path 1 is the logical path to follow. Design a home then price it out, make selections, and build it. If you haven’t been through the process before, this seems to make perfect sense. Unfortunately, homeowners who follow this path end up learning that this often leads to some frustrating outcomes.
At best, Path 1 simply delays the start of construction a bit as homeowners rush to make the first phase of design selections, update their architectural AND engineering plans to reflect those selections, wait on comprehensive construction estimates from builders, and THEN work through permitting, approvals, and site preparation.
At worst, the homeowner finds out that the home the architect has designed can’t be built for their budget. This often leads to a costly architectural revision process or the heartbreaking decision to pull the plug on their dream home altogether.
We’ve seen both of these scenarios happen all too often over our three decades as a custom homebuilder. However, as more and more homeowners are learning enough about the custom homebuilding journey before taking their first step, they are choosing to follow Path 2.
They are taking the sound advice of everyone involved to assemble their dream team of architect, builder, and interior designer EARLY. This leads to the smoothest and most efficient path toward starting construction, not to mention a more collaborative and enjoyable experience overall.
With this in mind, here is what your custom builder should be tackling DURING the architectural design phase:
- Collaborating closely with your architect and interior designer
- Keeping plan development on schedule
- Providing unique design ideas based on their custom homebuilding experience
- Producing a preliminary estimate following your early conceptual home design
- Providing valuable construction expertise and insight
- Offering value-engineering and cost-saving options
- Suggesting high-performance home specs
- Mitigating potential constructability issues
- Ensuring alignment of home design and budget
- Incorporating universal design elements to allow for aging-in-place
- Providing the interior designer a clear path for tackling selections
- Facilitating the structural and civil engineering processes
- Preparing submission packages for city permitting and HOA approval
- Beginning the comprehensive bidding process
- Getting a head start on any pre-construction tasks that don’t require a permit or HOA approval
The important thing to remember is that there is SO MUCH for your custom builder to be accomplishing during the architectural design phase. Not only will your builder ensure that your design and budget are aligned, but they will also ensure that your home moves from the architectural design phase smoothly into the pre-construction and construction phases without unwanted delays. Find a custom builder who you trust to carry you through the entire process and you’ll find the custom homebuilding journey can be smooth, creatively fulfilling, collaborative, and enjoyable!