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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > January 2019 > Part 2 The Design Stage

Part 2 The Design Stage

In the second instalment of our groundbreaking new series, editor Chris Bates explains how the design for the Build It Education House evolved – and the lessons we learned along the way

Self building represents your chance to create a value-for-money home that’s perfectly tailored to your household’s needs, in a location that works for you. If you’re at the start of your journey, your biggest concern might be whether you have the practical skills to realise a scheme like this. But the truth is, the secret to success lies in the very early stages of your project. If you can find a good plot and get the design right, then you’re probably at least half-way there.

Over the course of designing Build It’s Self Build Education House, a couple of things have stood out. Firstly, communication is key. You need to have a good rapport with an architectural team that understands what you do and don’t want from your new home. And that principle stretches to all the other parties involved in getting your scheme realised – from the structural engineers to planners, surveyors and suppliers whose input will shape the design. As the process evolves and you finesse the initial drawings, you’ll also quickly find that the devil is in the detail. The technical phase can be intensive, but stick with it and keep maintaining those communication channels, and you’ll reap the rewards. Here’s how the plans for the Build It Education House developed.

Setting the brief

Every self builder wants to start their project offon the best possible footing and, unsurprisingly, getting the brief right is a crucial step. You’re commissioning a bespoke home designed to suit your household, so you need to give your designer a clear picture of what will work for you.

That doesn’t have to mean delving into the minutest of details – once you’ve identified a plot, often the best place to start is with list of priorities for your scheme, including how you want to live, key features you can’t do without, niceto- have elements and absolute no-nos. This information will help your designer understand where you’re coming from, and they can then add their flair to your ideas.

Our full brief for the Build It House was too detailed to reproduce here. So here’s an overview of the headline considerations we had in mind prior to our first meeting with our designer, Opinder Liddar from Lapd Architects:

● We want to demonstrate that it’s possible to create an interesting bespoke home on a compact plot.

● We envisage a four bed design that represents good value for money for a high-performing home.

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About Build It

Build It is Britain’s longest running self build magazine. Each issue is packed full of inspirational and informative readers’ homes, as well as expert advice on issues from budgets and planning to project management and design. This month: - Adding space & value to your period home - 10 must-see timber frame homes - The benefits of serviced plots for self builders - Stylish stoves & fireplaces