[This is the Special Report 37 in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Our
electronic products download immediately to your computer upon
This report is guest authored by designer Dale Booth of Tucson, AZ. A
coauthor of a recent self-contracting book, he has been filmed in our
Ten Commandments DVD 1c where he reviewed house plans with a design
client. Ten pages, revised with new reader comments, web links, and suggestions.
- Common design mistakes
- Accessibility standards
- Budget and lifestyle
- Saving money while adding features
- What a complete set of drawings includes
- Study plans for rough cost estimates
- Stock plans
- Design software
- Engineering tasks and costs
- Converting ArchiCAD plans to PDF
Excerpt from Report:
"...Before we get into the details and process of Better Home Design let me share an editorial I wrote several years ago.
Confessions of a residential designer.
have been in construction for 30 years and designing homes most of my
life and as an independent professional for the last 15. And
owner-builders have been my greatest joys and my worst headaches.
of the toughest things I need to do as a designer working for you, the
owner-builder, is figuring out what you really want and can afford.
is the easy part of a custom home designer's job, communicating your
needs within a realistic framework is the hard part. Typically the
prospective owner-builder has defined their goal of building their own
home without having all the information necessary to make good informed
decisions. Sure, your buddy from work watched a special on cable TV
about saving a ton of money and you saw an infomercial for a good
reference book about doing it yourself, but are you ready for the
reality of home construction?
Sample Reader Comment Excerpts:
FROM: Chad from Clinton, UT
is an engineer in Ogden who designs the plans and stamps them. I wish
we had done that, because we had them drawn up and had to pay an
engineer separately. You can also check out some local places and see
if you like any plans that they have and then just choose one of them.
I think one is called Creations West, but I am not sure. It definitely
would have been cheaper. No matter who you use, go visit a bunch of
model homes and find a style that you like and fits your family and
budget best. Then you can use that floor plan to start making changes
and get ideas. Hope this helps. Valyn
FROM: Darrel from Plain City, UT
SUBJECT: House Design
We had a recommended design firm do our
design. We asked for accessibility standards and understood that it
included engineering and MEC check. In our first meeting we
specifically asked to minimize hallways and to fully utilize space. The
house ended up too large, we had to eliminate hallways, it did not meet
accessibility standards. I had to get my own engineer and spend $300
for engineering and still am working on a final MEC check. Currently, I
am trying to refine the design with a local architect. It took me a
month to get the files from the original firm so I could get the
non-structural changes that need to be done, done. My experience
hopefully is not typical, but it is a cautionary tale. Good luck.