What Your Home Builders Can Do for You

Building a new home is one of the major steps that a person does in his life. Although celebrities could buy houses from a single paycheck, for most of us, it may require our entire life savings. Because of this, it is very essential that we choose home builders that are highly skilled and has…

Building a new home is one of the major steps that a person does in his life. Although celebrities could buy houses from a single paycheck, for most of us, it may require our entire life savings. Because of this, it is very essential that we choose home builders that are highly skilled and has a vast experience in this field. You do want your dream house to come out perfect, right? Here is a list of what your home builders can do for you in planning your house.

# 1: Home builders can help you adhere to local requirements

Different locations have different requirements, make sure you do your research and find out the requirements in your chosen location. Your home builders can help you plan out your house so it would adhere to your local area requirements. The requirements may range from types of building materials, wings, façade style, hot water systems, and many more. There are often referred as “design guidelines” or the “covenants” for the estate.

# 2 Choosing the floor plan

Most people want a big house with big garden, however if your space and finances only allows you less than what you expect, it does not feel bad about it because bigger is not always better. Think of what matters to you most, a garden where you can relax or more house space where your family lives in.

Check your home builders' floor plans and have him help you decide what's best for your space. Remember that a good design feels great to live in, holds value better, and does not waste space.

# 3 Find your house's perfect fit

Your house should fit well on your block; this means that the distances that you have to leave between your site boundaries and your home should be proportionate. Do not worry because your home builders can help you and do this work for you.

Work with your home builders on choosing the floor plan that can make your home more comfortable and you will not have to splurge extra dollars for heating, lighting, and cooling.

# 4 Getting warranties

Your home builders can help you get the most value from your money by giving you an advice regarding the warranties of the materials and services you paid for. Warranties are very important because this can ensure you that your dream house is built with quality in mind. Materials and services with warranty may cost more, but this could save you a lot of money in the future.

Your dream house could materialize with the help of your home builders, tell them how you want your house built but do keep an open mind for their suggestions as well. After all, they know more about building houses than everyone else.

Getting Planning Permission in France, Understanding the French Planning System

The French Planning Structure The planning system in France is organized at both a regional and local level. The Mairie should be able to provide you with most of the documents you will need including building permission applications and information on the local planning zone of the property. Note that planning rules can be very…

The French Planning Structure

The planning system in France is organized at both a regional and local level. The Mairie should be able to provide you with most of the documents you will need including building permission applications and information on the local planning zone of the property. Note that planning rules can be very localized so do not take it for granted that you will be able to convert or extend a property because some one else close by has done something similar. It may well be that their property is placed in a different planning zone.

The Code de l'Urbanisme

Strictly speaking anyone who wants to construct a building, over 2sq / m to be used as a dwelling or not, whether with foundations or not, should obtain planning permission and there are a number of different permissions available depending on the exact type of work you want to carry out.

The first thing is to make sure that you know what permissions (if any) come with the property you are buying if you want to alter or extend it. It is not a good idea just to take an estate agent or sellers word for it that you will be able to convert or renew your potential purchase. Unless they are able to produce at least a Certificate d'Urbanisme (outline planning consent) then it should not be automatically assumed that you will be able to carry out the alterations you want.

The Certificat d'Urbanisme – Outline planning / agreement in principle

The application form for a Certificat d'urbanisme can be used in two ways to obtain different types of information:

Informative (certificat d'information général) An informative request simply establishes the existing planning status of a building. For example when a building is classed as agricultural or as habituation.

Operational (certificat opérationnel) An operational request is a request to carry out work “an operation” on a building for example change a barn into a house.

The Déclaration Préalable – for minor works

This is the form to use for such things as applying for a Velux window or a new door or window opening or for work that only alters the façade of a building and not the volume or structure. Also this is used for any new building that will create between only 2 and 20m² SHOB ( surface hors uvuvre brut ) gross floor area, walls over 2m high and swimming pools less than 1.8 meters deep between 10m² and 100m². This form also includes a demolitions section which avoids the need to submit a separate Permis de démolir (see below).

Loft conversions may require either a Déclaration Préalable or a Permis de Construire depending on the particular circumstances and it is best to ask at your Mairie what permission you would need.

Regardless of the size of the project, there is no legal requirement to employ an architect to submit a Déclaration préalable .

The Permis de construire – Building Permit

Withoutafter the proposed alterations are completed a house has a SHON (net habitable space) of 170 m² or less then the law states that a request for a building permit ( Permis de construire ) must be transported out by a qualified architect registered in France, who will prepare all the drawings and documentation that is required. The details and registration number of the architect is required together with his / her signature on the application form.

When to use the Permis de construire

  1. Use this form for buildings that create over 20m² SHOB gross floor area.
  2. Work that modifies a load bearing structure or the building façade eg new openings when also accompanied with a change of use.
  3. Work that creates new openings or increases the size of an existing opening in an exterior wall when accompanied with work that also increases the volume of a building.
  4. For swimming pools less than 1.8m deep and over 100m² and all swimming pools over 1.8m deep.

The Permis de Démolir – Demolitions Permit

A demolitions permit must be submitted before a building may be demolished. It should be noted that once a building is demolished a new building permit will be required for any new building to be erected in its place. As after the demolition the land will be considered “without construction” if the land is in a zone non-constructive even though it held a building before the demolition new permission for a building will not be granted.

Planning Approval

Once complete, if all responses from the parties concerned are favorable and the Mairie is in agreement then permission is granted.

Finally – Some things to be aware of:

a) Purchasing property close to a working farm. It is very difficult to obtain planning consent in order to convert a building for habitable use or extend it if you are within 100m of a farm.

b) If you buy a property that is listed (classé) or that is within 500m of an historic monument your application will need to go before the Architectes des bâtiments de France who may impose special restrictions.

c) In a designated national park area there will also be restrictions on whether and how you can make alterations to your property and these can be very strict.

SPANC (Service Public d'Assainissement Non-Collective)

At the moment the French authorities are trying to bring drainage systems in all departments up to european norms. This means that if you apply for planning permission in an area not on mains drains you will be asked for a certificate of conformity for your septic tank. If you can not produce this, then as part of your planning application you will need to submit a study for the installation of a new septic tank (Etude de faisabilite de mise en place d'un systeme d'assainissement autonome). So allow for the étude and the installation in your budget.

Two Month Third Party Notice

Once planning approval is received, a notice should be displayed on the property for two months informing third parties of the application. Third parties can then view the dossier at the Mairie and may object to the application. The objection can only be held up if the application is contrary to planning law (it should not be because it will already have had approval by the planning authority). If after the two months nobody has expected then work can start.

Duration of Permission

Usually construction must be started within three years of approval for a Permis de construire or it will be deemed to have expired. There is no time limit on the completion once the work has started.

All of this may sound a bit daunting but if you would like to carry out some external alterations on a property (even just adding a velux window) and if you speak some French then the first step is to ask at your local marie wherever there would be a possibility to carry out the alterations you want. They will have a local map showing constructible zones and be able to tell you what the local planning rules are. Alternately you could contact a local architect who should be prepared to discuss your requirements informally and give some advice free of charge. It is not advisable to just go ahead and carry out external alterations without the correct permissions as though they may be no immediate repercussions problems which will certainly arise when you come to sell the property and you do not have the correct paperwork.

My experience is that the french planning authorities are very reasonable to deal with and by following the correct procedures you should be able to enjoy a beautiful permanent or holiday home here in France. So happy house hunting!

Environmentally Friendly Architectural Home Plans

Building an environmentally friendly home is a must for many people these days, not only do we want to be kind to our environment during the building process but we also want that to continue after we move in. Including environmentally friendly items in your architectural home plans is far easier that you might initially…

Building an environmentally friendly home is a must for many people these days, not only do we want to be kind to our environment during the building process but we also want that to continue after we move in. Including environmentally friendly items in your architectural home plans is far easier that you might initially think.

The seating and design of your home is key to the environment friendly home, ensuring your architectural home plans include climate sensitive design where the position of the home is optimized to benefit from heat absorption from direct sun and minimizing exposure to harsh winds. These two things alone can have a major impact on the heating and cooling efficiency of your home.

Once you have the orientation set then the materials you will use to build your home come into play. Concrete and brick are known for their high thermal mass which means that they absorb heat during the day and release it at night, having a concrete foundation and block walls will greatly ensure the climate control of your home, if you do not wish to build your entire house in block, possibly include a few feature spaces that will benefit from maximum sun exposure in your architectural home plans.

Installing solar panels in your roof will also ensure you gain maximum benefit from the sun and this then flows through savings in heating and power and if you team your solar panels with a heat recovery ventilation system you will maximize the climate control in your home.

Water efficiency can also be taken into account when you are designing your house, installing a water tank is a great idea if you are able to accommodate this on your property and there are many stylish designs available so you do not have to be stuck with an eye sore. Installing water efficient appliances and fittings will also greatly benefit the environment. Ask about low-flow showers and ultra-low flush toilets and the use of gray water for irrigation.

Power is something that is not often thought of during the building process however including energy efficient ideas in your architectural home plans that will ensure that when you are living your home you are not having to turn lights on unnecessarily due to an area not having enough natural light because of poor planning. Installing energy efficient lighting will also help and with the progress in design there are some stylish options to choose from.

How to Choose the Best Contractor for Your Home Additions?

Is your family outgrowing your present home? What can you do to make your family more comfortable and accomodate all your valuable furnishings and other home accessories? The answer is simple; Make your home more spacious by adding rooms and renovating existing spaces. Home additions and renovations are the only intelligent and inexpensive solutions to…

Is your family outgrowing your present home? What can you do to make your family more comfortable and accomodate all your valuable furnishings and other home accessories? The answer is simple; Make your home more spacious by adding rooms and renovating existing spaces. Home additions and renovations are the only intelligent and inexpensive solutions to expand your living spaces. Although remodeling a home is cheaper than buying a new home, there are certain things you should consider when planning renewating your home.

How to Plan Home Renovations?

Renovation is simply not about adding an extra bedroom or converting your attic, it is more than that. Any changes and additions to your existing house means, long-term changes that will affect your daily living. Therefore, home renovations should be planned and executed wisely. Here are some tips to help you

• Enlist the help of an expert contractor who has the experience of providing home additions and renovation services.

• Consider whether you want to renovate your home to increase its value or you intend to do it for your personal use.

• Determine what the exact changes you want in your house, how many rooms you want to add, etc?

• Determine how much you are willing to spend or stretch your budget.

• Ask for home improvement ideas from your contractor.

How to Choose the Right Contractor?

Once you have determined and planned what to do, the next thing is to find the best contractor who can execute your home remodeling plan. There are different types of contractors who specialize in different disciplines. Therefore, you need to make sure to hire an expert in home additions rather than just a general building contractor. The best way to find one is to locate them online. Your choice of contractors should be based on the following aspects

• Quality: One way to verify the quality of your contractor is to read reviews of their customers, company profile and history, their recent projects, their track record, etc. If possible, pay a visit to the site where they are carrying out their current project.

• Work: Find out wherever your contractor has the ability to provide customized services to meet your specific requirements.

• Delivery: Find out from their track record, how efficient they are in delivering timely and quality services. Check whether they deliver what they promise.

Important Things You Must Know About Home Additions:

Although remodeling of your home may not involve major constructions like a new house would need, yet there are four important things you need to know if you are planning home renovations

1. City Restrictions and building requirements

2. Foundation of your existing home

3. The new design for your home renovations

4. Materials Required

House Plans for Sloping Blocks – Build Your Own Retaining Wall

Sloping blocks or yards are aesthetically attractive and give a whole new look to your home. But the problem is that in spite of its good looks, it can pose several problems and in more ways than one. Constructing a house on such a block is a difficult job as the design has to match…

Sloping blocks or yards are aesthetically attractive and give a whole new look to your home. But the problem is that in spite of its good looks, it can pose several problems and in more ways than one. Constructing a house on such a block is a difficult job as the design has to match the slope to make the most of it. It is also difficult to create a garden, patio, pool or play area on land that is not level. Here is important that you hire an architect who is experienced in drawing house plans for sloping blocks.

One of the best house plans for sloping blocks is to build a retaining wall. A well constructed retaining wall can not only look aesthetic but also help you make your backyard useful once again. These walls can be made from different kinds of materials like concrete, natural stone, wood or even from old railway ties. If you would like to do this task yourself, then get the pre-cast concrete stones which are great for this. All the barriers have lips and since you can interlock these easily without the need to put in any mortar. The only disadvantage is that you can use these only for walls where the height is three meters or less.

A concrete retaining wall is also great to control erosion which typically happens on a sloping block. This can lead to water logging which over time can damage the very foundation of your home. If you have used a lot of wooden structures for your house, then erosion can also cause rot to set in destroying these. Erosion also results in soil shifting which makes it difficult to create a beautiful garden. It is important that you choose the right material while constructing this type of wall. Compare the different materials like natural stone, wood and concrete and then choose one which is best for the slope of your block and also the climate of the area.

The popularity of wood retaining walls is diminishing but this is a good choice if your house has a very rustic and old world design. There are different types of timber that you can use; get the advice of your local timber dealer to find out which one is affordable and best suited for the region. It is also advisable to get treated wood as these are resistant to rot and fungus and last for a very long time. Keeping these tips in mind would be great while looking at house plans for sloping blocks.

A Painless Planning Approvals Process

Here's a step by step description of an ideal end to end process a designer could follow to avoid client heart ache and misunderstandings along the planning approval journey. Preliminary Steps 1. Designer visits client on site / home. 2. Capture client's requirements. 3. Discuss client ideas and preferences. 4. Designer agreements with local planning…

Here's a step by step description of an ideal end to end process a designer could follow to avoid client heart ache and misunderstandings along the planning approval journey.

Preliminary Steps

1. Designer visits client on site / home.

2. Capture client's requirements.

3. Discuss client ideas and preferences.

4. Designer agreements with local planning officer that the proposal is feasible.

5. Designer supplies client confirmation of fees for the work required / discussed.

Client Agreement of Terms

6. Client accepts the fees quoted, by email.

7. Client agreements initial measured survey visit date.

Designer Captures Dimensions & Begins Design Work

8. Visit site to capture building dimensions and assess the site in detail.

9. Create drawings describing current building (also required by planning office).

10. Design improvements for the current building in line with client requirements.

Agreement on Design

11. Visit client and agree which option to move forward with.

12. Complete preferred design and confirm client satisfaction.

13. If possible designer offers a visit to another property having had a similar design built.

14. Designer submits design to Local Council Planning Office (a 6-8 week delay is possible where planning permission is required)

Designs Accepted / Planning Permission Granted by Local Authority

Building Design & Technical Specification

15. Designer recommends a structural engineer to the client, (he makes expert contribution to the Building Tech Spec.)

16. Designer creates a detailed design including building specifications that meet current regulations for approval by local Building Control Dept.

17. Designer negotiates with and attendes to queries received from Building Control Dept.

Building Design / Specification Approved by Building Control .

Additional post approval steps.

18. Designer recommends building contractors if required by the client.

19. Shares the approved building specification with minimum of 3 building companies.

20. Shares tender responses with the client.

21. Designer agreements with client their preferred company based on price and relationship fit.

22. Designer remains available to both client and builder through building works to resolve design queries / technical building issues.

Here's how to tackle some of the questions designers encounter frequently.

When is planning permission required?

The UK government has attempted to make life easier for home owners and reduce the work-load for local council planning departments by producing a comprehensive set of property development descriptions / limits that no longer require planning permission. If your project does not exceed these limits then work could be progressed after the award of a 'Permitted Development Certificate'.

How long will either option take to complete?

It usually between 6-8 weeks for both, if planning is approved on the first submission. Planning could take considering longer if any objections are raised and the application has to be considered by one or more committees.

What is a building specification?

This is basically a detailed description of how the building will be put together which serves several purposes. It informs the council's building control dept of how the building will comply with all the latest regulations, for example its thermal energy efficiency. The specification describes what materials to use and how the building is to be constructed which helps the contractor prepare an accurate quote for both materials and labor for the project.

Do I need a building specification?

In all cases “Yes”, this will be reviewed before and during the progress of work to ensure the contractors are observing the regulations relating to building standards. If the building specification is not approved in full before work commences then there is a risk that the building work may have to be re-done, since the term “building at risk”. This may be okay if you know the contractor and have used his services previously without problems being raised by the council's building control inspectors, but we would always advise clients to have their building spec. fully approved before starting work to avoid possible re-work expenses.

There is less risk of a contractor using changes to the specification during the building work as an excuse to raise its prices part way through the project, due to his not having allowed for materials of a certain specification when quoting for the work. If everything practically possible is specified and documented before building starts there is less opportunity for tactical manoeuvring of this type.

Reasons to Bring in a Home Remodeling Designer Early

Buying a new home is not only an expensive venture, but it is also time consuming and stressful. Therefore, instead of purchasing a new home that will better suit the ever growing and changing needs of their families, many homeowners opt for a home remodel. To make this process go more smoothly, it's a good…

Buying a new home is not only an expensive venture, but it is also time consuming and stressful. Therefore, instead of purchasing a new home that will better suit the ever growing and changing needs of their families, many homeowners opt for a home remodel. To make this process go more smoothly, it's a good idea to get home remodeling designers involved as early on as possible.

Here are some of the benefits that go along with having your designers engaged in the project from the beginning:

Knowledge of Structural Codes and Architectural Styles

Your remodeling team will be able to tell you if your preliminary plans are possible, sound and able to fit in with the architectural style of your home. Not only will your designer have the ability to read architectural blueprints and have up-to-date knowledge regarding the latest structural codes, but they will be your advocate and will communicate your house remodel design vision to the contractor and team working on the project.

Anticipate Future Needs

House designers can help you plan for future needs and uses for your house, which in turn will save you money on remodeling costs later down the line. Home design should take into consideration accommodations for a growing family, potential guests, storage, space for entertaining and so forth. Remodel designer team will be able to give you suggestions on how to best achieve these future needs, as well as help you enhance and improve the energy efficiency and style of your home in order to save you money on energy and maintenance.

Make the Most out of Your Budget

Remodeling can become a pricey process, but the designers can often help reduce some of the costs while retaining the quality of materials with the industry discounts they receive. To stay within your budget, a designer can hunt for and transform low-cost or salvaged items into brand-new furnishings and accessories that look similar to the designer brand items.

Save Time

Months of research for your plans, product samples, the soundness of your plans, etc., can go into the home remodel process if you are doing it on your own. With all of the material options out there, it can be overwhelming and hard to know where to begin. A home remodeling designer can take the weight off your shoulders and do the research for you. Professional designers already possess the knowledge needed to aid you in figuring out which of your design ideas will work realistically. They can also purchase the materials you will need for your home and set up and over contractors working in your home. Designers will take a more hands-on role in the house remodel design process to make it go more smoothly for you.

Getting designers engaged in the design process from the get-go will help you save time, money and stress, as well as get your project up and running and create an end result that you will be satisfied with.

Reasons to Choose Stock House Plans for Your Next Home

Designing a home is not as simple as it may appear to be. In fact, it can be quite time consuming and expensive, especially when it comes to meeting the current International Residential Code and including gravity loading calculations and beam specifications. Quality stock house plans – pre-designed home plans that incorporated popular and highly…

Designing a home is not as simple as it may appear to be. In fact, it can be quite time consuming and expensive, especially when it comes to meeting the current International Residential Code and including gravity loading calculations and beam specifications. Quality stock house plans – pre-designed home plans that incorporated popular and highly requested features from consumers – can help take the stress of home design off your shoulders.

Here are some benefits to consider when looking into acquiring stock house plans for your new home:

Affordability. The design and development of a custom home can get quite pricey. When you buy stock house plans, the design step of the process is complete, so you do not have to worry about spending money to have an agency or individual to design your home. Therefore, stock home plans are an extremely cost-effective option.

Time savings. Once you have found and purchased the house plans you want, you can apply for a building permit in as little as 24 hours. In comparison, when creating custom home plans, the process is dragged out; evenings and weekends must be dedicated to meeting with designers, and much time is spent deliberating over decisions. Plus, having stock floor plans means architects and engineers have already made sure the plans are sound, so no time is wasted waiting on that stamp of approval.

Resale opportunity. Whereas custom homes are built specifically to one family's needs and tastes, stock house plans are composed of more general features that the overall population would enjoy, making your home easier to sell in the long run. Stock home plans are not only popular, but are also high quality – another plus for resale if the opportunity arises.

Variety. Stock house plans feature a wide variety of styles that can be designed to meet an array of different specifications. Cape Cod, Mediterranean, Craftsman – the list goes on. When searching, you can get a better idea of ​​what style suits you best before landing on a final decision.

Personalization. If you can not quite find what you want, stock house plans can be altered and customized to meet your family's lifestyle and needs.

Be in the loop. Another benefit of stock house plans is that they will provide you with notes and information regarding external finishes, materials, dimensions, electrical fittings, plumbing and so forth for building your home. You will be able to see the floor plans for your foundation, complete with measurements, footings, posts, beams, pads and bearing walls. Having such detailed information about all the aspects of your future house will help you plan things such as interior décor and landscaping.

The list above shows how stock house plans take a complicated, stressful and time-consuming process, and make it much easier. Not only that, but you are in charge and informed at every step of the home building project. The extensive variety of home options to choose from, as well as your ability to adapt and customize your plans to fit your needs and lifestyle, allows you to reap the benefits of a custom home design but in a more efficient and cost effective manner.

Choosing House Plans for Holiday Entertaining

When considering what floor plans to use for a new home, it's important for people to think about not only what their daily lifestyle needs are entail, but also how holiday traditions and family gatherings will come into play. With the holiday season upon us, this is the perfect time to test the overall functionality…

When considering what floor plans to use for a new home, it's important for people to think about not only what their daily lifestyle needs are entail, but also how holiday traditions and family gatherings will come into play. With the holiday season upon us, this is the perfect time to test the overall functionality of one's house plans for entertaining.

Home plans for your new house should have space for all the action and festivals that come along with the holidays. Here are some things to keep in mind when in the process of selecting plans for your house:

Overnight Guests

You may find yourself inviting guests to stay in your home overnight, especially during the holidays. In order to make them feel both welcome and comfortable, it's a good idea to have an extra room or guest suite included in your floor plans to be prepared for this kind of situation.

Many house plans incorporate a guest suite on the first level of a home with room for a closet, bed and some sitting room. Some go as far as including a private bathroom. For guests with children, home plans that include a den or daylight basement are great as they allow an out-of-the-way sleeping area for the children.

Dinner Parties

Whenever there is a gathering, the most popular place for guests to congregate always looks to be your kitchen. Instead of shooing your guests out, look at floor plans that would allow them to sit, chat and not block your path to the oven. Such home plans can include a large breakfast bar or an island with stools; you may also want to consider an open floor plan in which the kitchen seamlessly opens into a family room.

The dining room is just as important as your kitchen during the holidays, as it needs to fit all of your guests effortlessly and comfortably. Look at floor plans that have dining rooms large enough for your dining table when the extra leaves are in place. Guests should be able to slide their chairs in and out without hitting a wall or bumping into other furniture. Additionally, consider house plans with dining rooms large enough to fit your China cabinet or buffet in the same space. A dining room next to the kitchen is also nice because you do not have to walk back and forth while setting up or cleaning.

The Christmas Tree

Look for floor plans that will meet your year-round decorating needs. Take the Christmas tree, for instance. The size and placement of your preferred tree are good things to keep in mind when you are on the hunt for home plans. If you like a nice tall tree, make sure your house plans include raised ceilings in the living room. If you like the world to see how lovely your tree looks adorned with decorations, consider plans with large picture or bay windows.

Chestnuts and Stockings

Fireplaces are not solely a source of heat, but also a place to gather around with your family and build Christmas memories. Think about including a hearth in your home plan for hanging stockings. If you are not comfortable operating a wood-fueled fireplace, there are always gas-powered options to consider.

Peace on Earth

Sometimes holidays and a multitude of guests can be overwhelming. Think about adding a private room or area for yourself in your home plans to allow you a place of escape. This can be as simple as a reading room, large bathroom (with a tub to soak in) or private study.

Reasons to Add a Room to Your Home

Room additions can enhance home value or simply make room for extended family. More people are adding to their homes instead of buying a new house – it is far more economic and avoids the headaches of uprooting. Other reasons include: • The need for a recreational room or a game room • Plans to…

Room additions can enhance home value or simply make room for extended family. More people are adding to their homes instead of buying a new house – it is far more economic and avoids the headaches of uprooting. Other reasons include:

• The need for a recreational room or a game room
• Plans to start a home office or enterprise
• For a new look, some change, more variety
• Increase the value of the property for temporary resale

There are primarily two types of room additions possible. One is a vertical addition while the other is a horizontal addition. The latter is primarily done when seeking to increase comfort. New footings and foundations may have to be put in or the roof raised or extended to make the required space. If you have room in the backyard to extend the house back, which is normally the case, then so be it.

Perhaps the home needs to grow and in some cases, the backyard has plenty of room or sometimes you do not use the backyard that much and incorporate all that size into your lifestyle (a business office is more important to you than a swimming pool, for instance).

Before starting work on the room additions, it is essential to chalk out the requirements and dimensions of the space to be added. This has to be followed by the budget available for the project. Converting an existing space may be a cost-effective measure. For instance, a spare garage can be changed into an additional room with a few changes here and there. Since features like the door and flooring will exist, the cost on these will be non-existent.

Although some people choose to do room additions on their own, it is better to hire professionals to do this. This will ensure that the work is done correctly, efficiently, and quickly. And in today's slow economic times, contractors are working for cheap now. This is the time to engage a project such as this now.

How Can a New Room Be Added?

There are a few broad categories for room additions. These include:

• Modifying the basement
• Converting the attic
• Building an additional floor
• Converting the garage
• Removing a wall
• Putting up a wall
• Closing in a porch

Even if the new room is not a big one, a feeling of sufficient space can be created with some great interior decoration ideas. The right use of colors on the walls, as well as lighting that is appropriately parked can play a significant role in opening up a space. Making optimal use of the space available and creating attention-grabbing niches can help distract someone from the actual size of the room.

Some Tips to Remember

It is estimated that room additions can cost about $ 50,000 and up for a job well done. Most contractors charge per square foot. The person doing the work will need to carry out some checks while the owner must obtain and complete the necessary permits before work can begin. Environmental laws, safety codes, and any other legal aspects must first be looked into as well as the wiring and cabling details. These will depend on the type of modifications being planned.

Experience does matter and choosing a contractor who specializes in room additions is prudent. This is because they will need to estimate whenever the existing structure can take on the burden of a new room, addition, and consider several other parameters.

Top Modular Home Advantages

Modular homes are gaining popularity in these recent modern times for a number of reasons. In this article, we'll explore the many advantages of modular homes. When most people hear the term “modular home,” they think that it automatically charges a cheaply built, or manufactured home that is more temporary than permanent. This is far…

Modular homes are gaining popularity in these recent modern times for a number of reasons. In this article, we'll explore the many advantages of modular homes.

When most people hear the term “modular home,” they think that it automatically charges a cheaply built, or manufactured home that is more temporary than permanent. This is far from the truth, as a genuine modular home must have all the characteristics of a traditional, permanent frame home. This is due to the same code requirements must be applied to any residential structure.

One of the greatest modular home characteristics are that they have a greater range of flexibility in comparison to traditional on-frame homes. The steel undercarriage that supports floors, for example, are not needed in modular homes. On the other hand, the entire structure of modular homes are pre-constructed and fabricated in a controlled, industrial environment or factory, and then transported to the job site. Most of the time, this process makes up for the entire 90% to 95% of all building processes that need to be done. Essentially, you are signing up for fast production of your home.

Sometimes referred as “System-built” homes, the unique engineering that goes into producing these structures is very efficient and even better, cost-efficient. There are many economic advantages due to the efficiency of pre-fabricated parts. Assembling the parts on site cuts down on the building time, which with traditional homes, may take anywhere from half a year to several years. The process of modular homes makes it possibly to fully construct a home in as little as 2 weeks, depending on the difficulty, and floor plan of the home.

Another very advantageous characteristic of modular homes is the fact that you can pretty much design a home and have it built according to your specific needs, and personal tastes. Pre-ordering various building materials is up to you and even some major detailing in the interior of your home can be customized. Looking at it from another perspective, sometimes you have no idea what you'd like your home to look like. You can pick from a variety of custom plans generated by architects as a starting template while you can really personalize other components of the house. Another thing is that all producers and manufacturers of all modular homes must use computer generated plans in order to meet all the national, state, and local building standards and regulations. So you will have peace in mind that your home is safe and certain times must follow stricter codes.

The economic advantages of these modular structures give you the greatest upper hand when it comes to paying your monthly mortgage bills. Since you are saving money on the initial costs of the home and cutting costs on the actual manufacturing and building of your residence, your mortgage rate will definitely be less of a burden. Whatever home you do decide to buy and invest in though, comparing mortgage rates from multiple providers will give you the best rate for your policy. This is crucial in avoiding foreclosures and going into a home that will be too expensive to maintain.

Construction Plans: Products Of Conceptualization

Good planners devote long hours of studies during the process of conceptualization of the home construction project. They conduct research and consult several technical people on the ground to aid them in order to produce the best building plans. A perfect blueprint is a complete plan depicting all the wishes and needs of the homeowner…

Good planners devote long hours of studies during the process of conceptualization of the home construction project. They conduct research and consult several technical people on the ground to aid them in order to produce the best building plans. A perfect blueprint is a complete plan depicting all the wishes and needs of the homeowner with supporting details presented in the form of drawings and technical specification manuals. Typically, these documents are prepared by an engineer or architect hired by the owner.

There are some ready made construction plans available on the market. Those who prefer to use these plans must carefully examine them as to their adoption to their needs, site location and budgets. However, it is still more preferred to draft your own plans (through your architect if you are not capable) as you know perfectly your detailed requirements for your home construction.

What compose a construction plan?

A typical home construction plan includes but not limited to the following documents as tagged per page; to wit:

· Site development plan. On this page, you will see your home building perspective and site location together with the proposed developments on the site as it would appear after project completion.

· Civil works pages. You will see here your home building lay-out plans, foundation plans, designs of the columns, beams, walls, trusses, roofing and other items of work to complete your building structure. The drawings are complete with dimensions so that you could visualize the sizes of your rooms and other areas of the home building project.

· Electrical plans. These plans will show you the location of the switches, lighting fixtures, outlets, panel boards and sources of your electrical power supply.

· Sanitary and Plumbing plans. These will show you the clean water lines as well as your sewer system. The faucets, showers, lavatories, water closets and other plumbing fixtures are identified.

· Mechanical plans- These plans will show you all the mechanical items like air conditioning units, water heaters, water pumps and other similar mechanical gadgets attached to your home.

· Architectural plans- these plans will show you all the carpentry works for cabinets, ceiling, finishes on walls, ceiling and floor. The designs on baseboards, chair guards, cornices, doors, windows and other finishing items are shown here in details.

Technical specifications, what are they?

There are plans where the technical specifications are incorporated on the building plans. However, it is best appreciated when a narrative summary is prepared where all technical specifications are clearly discussed and with corresponding cross references on the plans. The technical specifications manual will guide the homeowner regarding the kind of materials that will be used on the project. It also includes quality control guidelines for the faithful compliance of the construction plans.

The homeowner needs not be an engineer or architect to understand the construction plans. A diligent research and attention is sufficient in order to read and comprehend the construction plans and technical specifications. Try surfing the Internet and start a good lesson on how to read home construction plans.

New Garage Door Considerations

Depending on the size of your home, a garage door can represent between 30 and 40 percent of the exterior of your home. This means choosing and installing the right garage door is an important decision, not only in terms of cost, but in terms of appearance and functionality. What considerations go into your purchase?…

Depending on the size of your home, a garage door can represent between 30 and 40 percent of the exterior of your home. This means choosing and installing the right garage door is an important decision, not only in terms of cost, but in terms of appearance and functionality.

What considerations go into your purchase?

There are many considerations to take into account when installing a new garage door include the color, finish, and composition of the door, the strength and durability of the track, the insulation R value, and whether or not there is a warranty available. Check with the installer and manufacturer for warranty information.

Since the garage door is such an extensive part of the appearance of the front of your house, you want a door that provides aesthetic value to the appearance of your home. They come in a variety of colors and styles to complement your home. Some styles available include raised panel, flushed, elongated, and ribbed. The compositional materials include fiberglass, wood, aluminum, steel, and composite materials. The choice you make regarding these materials depends not only upon the appearance you want to achieve, but the size of your budget and the functionality you want to achieve with your new addition.

Steel or Wood?

Should you choose a steel or other type of metal or wood door? This depends, again, on the purpose you wish to achieve. Wooden doors are often more attractive, less utilitarian in appearance, but they can offer more maintenance challenges than a steel door. Wood doors need to be painted, while steel doors do not. Also, steel doors typically have longer warranties and can be insulated.

What is the R value?

The R value is the measure of resistance of specific building insulation materials. In the case of garage doors, this boils down to choosing either polystyrene or polyurethane for your insulation. Polystyrene has an R value of 2 per inch while polyurethane rates at 4. Despite the lower rating, many construction experts recommend polystyrene because it is waterproof, where polyurethane is an open cell foam subject to water damage. Closed cell foam alternatives for polyurethane can be used, but they are typically more expensive, making polystyrene an obvious choice for insulation.

Your new or replaced garage door will be a large addition to your home, so considering both form and functionality is an essential part of making a your purchase.

Where to Find the Perfect Collection Display Case

If you have an interest in collectibles, you're probably always on the lookout for great collection display cases. Especially in the case of items that are fragile, valuable or difficult to keep clean, a collection display case can be the perfect way to enjoy your collection while not having to worry about it. Depending on…

If you have an interest in collectibles, you're probably always on the lookout for great collection display cases. Especially in the case of items that are fragile, valuable or difficult to keep clean, a collection display case can be the perfect way to enjoy your collection while not having to worry about it. Depending on what kind of collection you have, you might find plenty of specialized or generalized cases that would work well. However, sometimes a case specifically designed for your collectible items can be the best choice. If you're looking for the perfect display place to show off your collectibles, here are some sources to consider.

Shopping Online

If you are looking for a very specialized display case, it's hard to beat the convenience of online shopping. By performing just a few simple searches, you'll probably find a myriad of sources for the exact style you are looking for. You'll also find it extremely easy to compare prices when you shop online. However, you'll have to take shipping and handling costs into consideration. Depending on the size, shape and weight of the case, shipping costs can sometimes be a bit expensive. Online shopping also might not be the best option if your case is extremely fragile and breakable.

However, even if you plan to purchase your collection display place in a local store, you can still use the Internet to help you do your research. By comparing prices and features online, you'll be better prepared to know what you're looking for in your local stores.

Specialty Stores

If you're looking for something that is just a bit out of the ordinary, specialty stores can be a great source. These stores can be an especially good place to shop for cases when your collectibles have certain themes. For example, if you collect golf balls or sports cards, a sports specialty store may just have the display place you're looking for.

Department Stores

If you simply need a more generalized display case, you might be able to find one at a good price at your neighborhood department store. If you can find what you need, this can be one of the best ways of getting a good display case for an affordable price. In fact, sometimes you can even find a way of making a more generalized display case work for a specialized collection, simply by thinking a little bit “out of the box.”

Second-Hand Shops, Flea Markets and Garage Sales

If you are looking for a great bargain or an authentic antique display case, second-hand shops, flea markets and even garage sales can be great places to look. Although it can take a bit of patience and perseverance to find a display case using this method, sometimes you can find a really great case for an amazing price. Second-hand and antique display cases can also have a lot more personality and character as compared to new cases, even if they are slightly worn. In fact, that “slightly worn” look is what many people like most about buying an antique collection display case.

Tips for Picking a Location to Build Your House Plans

Choosing a lot of land to build your home is a pivotal decision. You must consider not only the physical attributes of your land when designing your house plans, but also the location play as it has a large role in one's lifestyle. Consider the tips below choosing the right property for your new home,…

Choosing a lot of land to build your home is a pivotal decision. You must consider not only the physical attributes of your land when designing your house plans, but also the location play as it has a large role in one's lifestyle. Consider the tips below choosing the right property for your new home, as well as a few key points on finding land and choosing the best floor plans for your home building site.

Considerations when Selecting Your Building Site

Do you prefer to live in town or out in the country? Do you want to be near certain amenities for your work? Are you looking for a neighbor that has a school or a grocery store within walking distance? Would you like to live in a sunny locale or a place that enjoys all four distinct seasons?

Before you go online to search for available properties and choose your home plans, take some time to think about these questions and others, such as what type of political and religious atmosphere you would prefer. Use your answers to figure out what location would suit you best.

Once you have a few ideal characteristics in mind, beginning focusing in on communities that match your criteria. Create a spreadsheet to compare how each location meets your needs. This will help you keep track of the entire process. Most home plan designers recommend waiting to choose floor plans until you have selected a lot, since designers often charge fees to change blueprints once they've been finalized.

Topographical, climactic and utility concerns.
Low-lying land is more likely to flood. Certain locations are more likely to see earthquakes, while others see tornadoes or hurricanes. Think about the geography and climactic patterns of each you review, with the understanding that topography and soil quality affects everything from sewage to foundation design and may require you to modify your house plans. Make inquiries as to what common natural disasters occur in the area, and consider how each lot may fare in a catastrophe. Have a perk test completed to see where the water table lies. Finally, research which utilities are available for each lot. If the price on a certain lot seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Stay Consistent with the Area.
If you plan to live in a subdivision, neighborhood, or HOA, aim to find one where your home will blend in seamlessly. Selling your home will be more difficult down the road if your home plans do not blend with the rest of the area. Preferably, even the style of your dream home should match nearby houses.

Legal details in the property survey.
A registered surveyor must be called in to survey each property that is put on the market. As you narrow down your choices, ask each seller to show you the survey for the land you're taking into consideration. Setback requirements, Easements, potential wetlands, elevations and more are included in property surveys. All of these details are important construction considerations when finalizing your home plans.

How to Find Land

Despite the fact that we're living in the Information Age, it is not always easy to find the right property on which to make your dream house plans a reality. Here are a few places to hunt for available properties:

-Local city halls or county courthouses. Look here for plats that may have been involved in a legal dispute; oftentimes such properties are available at a lower cost.
-Newpapers, real estate advertisements and online resources.
-The properties themselves. If you have a certain area in mind, it makes sense to drive around and look for sale signs on lots.
-real estate agents. This is a great option if you have the spend time finding your property.

Once You have Found Your Property

If you are planning to build in a subdivision, you'll need to see if there is a neighborhood builder you are required to use and if they are willing to build to your house plans. If you decide to take this route, the builder will likely take out the required construction loans and ask you to cash him or her out once the home is finished.

Outside of subdivisions, you will need to find a builder who is will build to your home plans. This option is a more labor intensive because you will need to secure a construction loan through your local credit union or bank. Once you have the necessary financing, check that the contractor is registered, licensed, insured and has plenty of positive references.

Select House Plans for Your Land

While all the things to consider when choosing house plans, you should think about how will natural light move across your property? How will nearby sounds affect the placement of rooms? Is the land flat, or is there a slope? These questions are just a few options that will factor into your selection of house plans.

It is much easier to choose house plans once you have a piece of property selected. It makes sense to settle on the location of your dream home before drawing up the floor plans.