Gilbert + Burke Blog

Custom Home Construction and Remodelling Tips

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For your home to be the best fit for you and your family, it needs to be built in your dream location. For some, that’s in a remote area—a luxury cottage destination up north perhaps. For others, it’s a family home in a suburban area, or a downtown home in the heart of an urban jungle. Before you get started on designing and building in your chosen location, there are a few considerations to take into account in the planning stage.

Location 1: A remote, natural paradise

In a more remote location, often construction is affected by the environmental and access complexities. The crew may need to source highly specialized equipment (such as cranes, or heavy-duty machinery) to mitigate challenging terrain or access points. For example, if the home/cottage is designed to sit on an island, barging and water transportation solutions will need to be considered.

You and your design-build partner should do some research into the natural and government imposed restrictions before the build. You may not be able to build if the setback from the water won’t accommodate it. The local building codes, or zoning laws will enforce strict guidelines on whether you can build vertically, use particular construction methods or materials, or exceed a certain amount of square footage. Particularly for cottage builds, it's incredibly worthwhile to hire a design-builder that specializes in this type of home. As you can see, there are ins-and-outs that can add time, budget and complexity to a cottage build. A professional will know what to look for, and be able to navigate the issues if they arise.

Location 2: A family-friendly suburb

If you’re building a custom home in a suburban neighbourhood, it’s important to note that your home will cost more than buying from the builder. There are savings to be had when building multiple homes at the same time. However, you’ll choose floorplans, features and materials from whatever the subdivision’s builder is offering you. Your home will only ever be “semi-custom”, restricted to what’s available, and the builder’s style.

It’s important to budget for the cost to develop on an empty lot and access to the lot and materials. Also, in a suburban zone, you’ll have to adhere to municipal regulations that could affect your design—talk to a design-builder that has experience in that area and knows the issues and how to mitigate them to save you time and money.

Location 3: A vibrant urban jungle

In a populous urban area, the most complex issue to navigate and plan for is the density factor. It’s difficult to access the property and excavate while keeping it secure and undamaged (or looted). Design-builders will often budget extra time and money in this case. However, trade contractor rates are far more competitive in cities, so you may end up saving money over a cottage country build.

Similar to suburban zones, you’ll also need to carefully research and consider building codes and regulations set by the municipality. There will be legalities that restrict how high you can build, how big the structure is, and how far you need to be setback from the street, etc.

Whatever your dream location is, you can design a home that fits. Just make sure to plan properly for the variances that come with your chosen location.

 

Thinking of building a new construction home? Check out Building a dream for your new home: One-of-a-kind design.

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