Owner Builders and Design
One area that is often overlooked and certainly not required from an Owner Builder Course perspective is the area of design.
Whilst a true design course will take several semesters of study, considerable research and a large amount of experience through exposure, owner builders, as relative novices can still contribute significantly to the design of their project.
After all, no one knows your requirements, the needs of your family and likes and dislikes better than you.
In many cases you will have lived in a house that has features your like or do not like, things that work for you and you family and things that do not. You will have seen house that have the features you want and designs that are pleasing to your eye.
This of course is the best place to start. We suggest to each of our owner builder students that you keep a diary or portfolio of thins that you see and like. These images could come from your travels, flicking through magazines, visiting display villages etc.
Even with all my experience I still keep a portfolio of new designs, trends, contemporary design elements, current colour pallets and finishes.
Owner Builders who are armed with this information, have it recorded in an efficient manner and know their own mind are well placed to start discussions with their Building Design professional. Remember, this could be an architect or a qualified building designer, largely dependent on the type, size and complexity of construction.
Whilst this information is important, it still an absolute must that owner builders try to develop a grasp of design, even at a fundamental level.
Whilst not mandatory, our owner builder courses provide our students access to important information that allows them to develop basic understanding, knowledge and skills in the area of design.
An understanding of basic design criteria is explained and we cover important areas of developing a layout which considers energy efficiency, (thermal, electrical and acoustic) as well as the general feel and composition of rooms which flow, interconnect and provide areas which accommodate the needs of the occupants.
Our owner builder students will be introduced to the requirements of compliance with covenants and local legislation including setbacks, land coverage ratios and building height restrictions.
I am posting this blog to get our students thing about design and the impact on their owner builder projects.
As we continue with the series of blogs, we will cover the areas of design in more detail with each individual post covering a specific topic.
I encourage you to enter into the discussions and post about your owner individual owner builder experience.
Remember, for our NSW Owner Builder students, the communications unit of competency requires you to participate in the forums or the blog topic posts.
Whilst this is a completion requirement, it is also a great way to engage with your fellow owner builder students and share experiences that are relevant to your projects.
Happy Owner Building,
Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.