New homes on the flat
Given Christchurch’s mostly flat landscape you would think everyone would be experts at designing good simple houses that work well. It’s not always the case though, and the city is full of examples of poorly-designed houses that repeat the same problems over and over again.
Often the first mistake is assuming that you’ll be able to choose the perfect home out of a catalogue. Every location and every family is different, and you’ll get so much more out of your home if you invest in a design that is tailored to suit the way you want to live on your chosen site. Even a relatively low-budget home will benefit hugely from good design, as a creative approach can open up possibilities you’d never considered. So read on to find out how you can ensure your new home is everything you want it to be.
What should you think about when selecting a site?
There are properties available all over Christchurch, but whether you’re looking at a new subdivision, a section in an established neighbourhood or a lifestyle block on the outskirts of the city there are a few important factors you should consider when selecting your site.
- Ground conditions – whether your site is TC1, TC2 TC3 can have a significant impact on how much of your budget needs to be spent in the ground. If you’re in a rural area your site probably hasn’t been classified, so you may need to obtain geotechnical advice to determine what foundations will be required.
- Minimum floor levels – if you’re near rivers, streams or the coast there can be strict minimum floor levels to protect against inundation as a result of severe weather events and sea level rise. Even if you don’t think you’re in a low-lying area it pays to do your research to see if there are any restrictions that could affect your project.
- Services – where are connections to power, water, sewerage and stormwater, and is there anything you will need to provide on-site? In established areas there is sometimes a requirement for rainwater storage tanks to minimise the demand on council infrastructure, and on rural sites there may be no piped services at all.
- Subdivision covenants – are there any rules that apply to your subdivision, and will these affect your plans for your property?
Secrets of good design
- Orientation – position the rooms so you’ll have just the right amount of sun where you want it and when you need it: sun in your bedroom in the morning and the living areas later in the day, warmth in winter and shade in summer. With careful site-specific design it’s all possible.
- Create great outdoor spaces – think about all the areas you will be living in – not just the interior of the house, but also how you can create useful, sunny and sheltered spaces between the house and the boundary. These spaces will define your outdoor living, so it’s important that they’re designed carefully too and are not just what is left over once the house is in place.
- Sustainability – It’s not only about what’s good for the environment; the best homes use sustainable design principles that require minimal energy input to create comfortable spaces for you and your family all year round. It’s much more cost effective to design a home that works from the outset than it is to fix one that doesn’t.
- And most importantly, make it about you and your family. Don’t settle for a generic house design when you could be enjoying living in a home that is perfect for you.
How can we help you?
First and foremost we’ll listen to you describe how you want your home to work for you – is it a family home, a place to entertain or a comfortable home for your retirement? We’ll involve you in every step of the design process as we come up with a unique design that suits your lifestyle.
We have experience
We are specialists when it comes to residential design, and know what it takes to get it right. We will produce a clear and detailed set of documentation that shows your builder exactly how your new home is to be assembled, minimising unanticipated issues on site.
We’ll build relationships
We have strong working relationships with many of the best local consultants including structural engineers, land surveyors and landscape architects. We know what skills will be required to complete your project, and can put together an appropriate team to respond to its unique challenges.
The construction phase of a project can be the most stressful. We find the best way to manage this is to pair clients with builders who they will relate well to so they can maintain a positive working relationship right to the end of the job.
Wondering where to start?
Call us now to arrange a free consultation to discuss your project – we’ll meet with you in our office or on your chosen site, and you’ll leave with a clear understanding of the process we will follow to bring your dream home to life. To help prepare for our meeting you can download our Guide to Writing a Brief which will help us understand exactly what you want from your project.