Archetype Homes, House Design and Project Management services in
Lismore, Alstonville, Ballina, Byron Bay and surrounding areas!
This is a starting point checklist for designing
your new home.
It is not intended as a comprehensive checklist, but a guide
to get you on your way.
It is assumed that you already have land to build
This guide has some specific advice applicable only
for clients based in Australia.
We can assist with any aspect of the following
1. Choose a preferred location of
dwelling / renovation/ extension on your
2. Easements: Note where your restricting factors are,
restricted land use, flood zone, watercourses, council setbacks , bushfire zones etc. At this point, it can be very
helpful to talk to your local council town planning officer, to get some pointers as to what issues you have to
consider for your particular block of land.
Most local councils have development control documents such
as a DCP (Development Control Plan) and an LEP (Local Environmental Plan), Bushfire control plan and others. Your
proposed construction/development will need to comply with these guidelines.
Exceptions to the guidelines can be applied for, but
approval for variations is not guaranteed.
2a. A copy of your land survey(sometimes part of sale
contract)in the form of Deposited Plan (DP) is very helpful for placing the home and will also be required by your
designer later on.
3. List all required rooms: bedrooms, bathrooms, rumpus, media
etc. Which rooms require access to views, bathrooms or balconies etc. Also note which rooms require direct access
to each other, and which require acoustic access and acoustic isolation from one another.
For example: kitchen and master bedroom may require
accoustic access to nursery(to hear baby crying), and preferably bathrooms are acoustically isolated from living
4. List preferred room sizes. Be sure to consider outdoor
living areas, storerooms, location of staircases between levels(if required).
5. List all must have/keep furniture and which room it belongs
into. Include the size of each piece furniture to ensure it can be brought into the required room. Be sure to allow
access for the larger pieces (big doors etc).
6. List requirements for views to include AND views to
While considering views, remember to keep in mind the aspect
of your land relative to North. Living areas should be(if possible) on the North and eastern side of the building.
Utilities to the West, bedrooms to the South. (this is assuming you live in the southern hemisphere. The opposite
applies if you live in the northern hemisphere).
7. Note the prevailing breezes on the land. The nice
With breezes and views in mind nominate preferred location
1. Windows, Doors and Balconies.
2. Septic/sewer treatment and/or rainwater tanks. (avoid
placing septic systems upwind, as they often "breathe" stinky air.)
Natural breezes can provide fantastic natural air
conditioning if windows and doors are placed well.
This will also be favourable for your BASIX (sustainability
index) required for most developments in NSW.
7a. once you have some ideas about the layout, you can start
sketching ideas for the scheme or look of the outside. Alternatively, collect pictures from magazines of styles
that you like.
8. Nominate a construction budget. This will influence final
design and inclusions. Be prepared to be a little flexible with final designs as the Designer and Engineer may
advise on issues not considered. Most things are possible (for a price), and we may be presented with a similar
less expensive solution.
8a. At this point, firm decisions need to be made of what
materials you would like to use. Final drawings are dependant on material choice. If you need to get some
preliminary quotes, a set of basic sketches can be produced by your home designer for quoting
9. Set a manageable realistic time schedule for the project.
Discuss it with your designer. Being realistic with this makes the whole process much more enjoyable. Setting a
very tight timeline causes uneccessary stress. Remeber weather delays need to be allowed for especially during the
initial construction period.
10. Discuss how much of the home design and building project
you would like to manage, and how much you would like an intermediary to take care of. Even managing a
builder/construction manager will take an apprciable amount of time.
11. Once you have decided on a rough design, placing some
markers or wooden pegs at the corners of the proposed building location will be helpful for the following trades. A
surveyor can place these accurately if required.
12. Organize Contour survey if required (sloping residential
building blocks usually require this) Alternatively a competent owner or builder can use a “Dumpy Level” or " water
level" to accurately plot levels on a scale plan in order to gauge the fall of land and proposed building levels.
Always refer all heights to a single fixed Datum(a clear permanent mark on either the footpath or Kerb, or a nail
on a fence or telegraph pole).
13. Bushfire prone land- this was considered earlier, but
now is the time to arrange a bushfire report which will detail the classification of the building envelope. this
depends on surrounding slope and vegetation. It helps to have weeds and non native scrub cleaned up, to help lower
the risk classification, as this will save money in compliance measures.
14. Now its finally time to arrange for the designer or
draftsman to draw proposed plans with close reference to your local council DCP(development control plan) This will
ensure minimum resistance to council development application approval.
15. Organize a Soil Stability Test / wind load assessment and
classification. This will be required by the Engineer for Foundation and Wind Bracing design.
Remember that slight design changes may be needed in light
of these tests.
16. Depending on Council requirements, you may have designs
drawn and Development Application submitted now or after Engineering has been done.
16a. When designs have been finalised, its time to organise
a BASIX certificate. This certificate is required for developments in NSW. We can provide this document. The cost
will depend on the size and style of the development.
17. Organize Engineering drawings.
18. Most councils require a detailed "Statement of
environmental effects" to be provided with the development application. This document can be provided by your
designer or a certified independent town planner (recommended for more involved developments). We can provide this
17. Finally you can submit your plans to