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10 steps to design success

Julian Owen discusses the golden rules to consider when planning the style and layout of your selfbuild or renovation project
The success of this sustainable home by RPA Architects came down to forward planning. The earth-shelter is situated in the grounds of a listed Georgian property. A retaining wall was formed using insulated concrete formwork (ICF) as shuttering, and tied to a reinforced concrete raft, which raised the floor construction above flood levels

The inventor Thomas Edison defined genius as “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” I’m not trying to say that all architects are prodigies, however, I certainly think that Edison’s principle applies to the process of designing a building. That single percentage of brilliance is a major part of the creative process, but to achieve excellence you also need a great deal of hard work, clear thinking and good organisation.

So, what can you do to ensure your design professional comes up with the best possible plan for your new home? How should you look to strike a balance between style and substance? For a home that includes your ideal features, details and requirements, follow these 10 key steps.

1Give a clear brief

The success of any design rests on the quality of your initial brief. You are the most important contributor to the creation of your house plans, so it’s up to you to ensure you have a clear idea of what you want from the project. If you desire something that suits your lifestyle, then clearly identify what your needs are from the outset.

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About Build It

The December edition of Build It magazine is packed with practical advice and inspirational projects to help you make a success of your scheme, including: • A budget-friendly self-build home (page 20) • Underfloor heating vs radiators (page 69) • Getting lighting right (page 77) • 10 steps to self-build design success (page 81) • Does your plot have real potential? (page 96) … and more!