It is every person’s wish to live in a beautiful house. We all therefore yearn for a day when we would be proud owners of our dream homes. That is if you don’t have one yet.
We visualise in our minds the type of house it will be, the exterior and interior design, the number of rooms it will have, the colour, the garden, you name it. Well, you can not own a house unless you have enough money to buy a plot on which to build the house.
Once you buy the plot, you need to have a plan of how you want your dream house to look like. This is where experts come in. The experts help you with the house plan which you need to have before you lay the foundation.
A house plan is the architectural representation of a client’s idea on how the different purposes of the house will be arranged. In a modern day building, architectural plans are one of the requirements needed for a building to be approved.
You will need to hire a licensed structural engineer to analyse the design and provide additional drawings and calculations required for your house plan.
According to Rashid Ssenyonjo, a structural engineer with HIL Consults, everyone who plans to build a house must have a plan of what you want your house to be.
Why have a house plan
The blueprints will clearly illustrate what the homeowner expects the finished house to look like when construction is complete.
“Plans are a useful tool in preparing your building site, planning the interior space and creating a building schedule with the builder. House plans outline the home’s complete structure from the foundation and wall framing to the roof framing and interior layout,” says Ssenyonjo.
The house plan gives a clear map of boundaries for each room, indicating the correct measurements; depict major elements on the floor plan such as bathtubs, sinks and many more.
According to Moses Kinobe, an architect at Kinobe & Partners, a house plan outlines the expected functions (rooms and other structures in the house) of the house and required spaces to suit the health status of the person. Architects usually consider the light intensity, ventilation and positioning in relation to the environment and climate.
“It defines the sizes, designs, finishes and relationship of the different functions on the plot. The planner can also recommend particular type of materials and builders to ensure your safety,” says Kinobe.
The house plan controls the finances and costing of building because you have defined direction so you only build what you have budgeted for and minimise unnecessary breaking during the construction.
Do not rely on online plans
If you are buying an online house plan, you should know that many online stock home plan companies sell inferior plans. Some of the plans do not include all the necessary information needed to safely build your home.
Kinobe says, “Family needs and lifestyles differ from individuals and families, depending on their stages and future plans. Using an online house plan may not, therefore, be valid because for instance what newly- wed couples look for in a home plan is different from the characteristics that a retired couple might find important.”
“If you must rely on an online house plan, make sure that the designer knows the site of your plot and its land status, says Ssenyonjo. This is because different environments need different plans. For example, the wetlands and hilly areas require different plans.”
This will require different materials, and for the houses to face different directions. Using an online house plan can just be a mismatch of structures and ideas considering the size of your own plot and the interest of the client. All the functions as defined on the plan may fail to fit.
How much privacy you need from other occupants and the neighbours is another important consideration while you think of your house plan. You may consider a U or L shaped design for privacy, especially if you are building in an urban area.
The details of your construction drawings are critical to ensure that your home is built using proper structural and building methods.
When you have your own house plan, you get the satisfaction that your tastes are going to be implemented.
Costing for a house plan
There is no particular price tagged to a house plan but different factors play a role, to Ssenyonjo.
The location is one of the determinants of the house plan pricing because the planner has to physically inspect and see what is exactly on the ground.
“The type of house you plan to have can affect the price of drawing your plan. For example, if you want to have a bungalow, you may only require consulting an architect for the plan but a storeyed house will require that you consult a structural engineer which will likely increase the prices,” Ssenyonjo says.
A good payment should match the durability of the investment so it is important that you consult an expert on how best you can use your land.
Going to a licensed expert is more recommendable because there many who pose around town as engineers and architects. They should be able to give advice on the best materials to use.
Sally George, a resident of Kinyerezi moved into her new home a few months ago. She concedes that it is very important to have a plan before you construct a house.
Sally and her husband bought their plot a few years back and started saving money for construction. When they were finally ready to lay the foundation, they sat and planned on where exactly to build the house on their plot.
“We considered many things when planning this. There is a college near our house and because we thought it would be noisy at times, we decided the gate would be on the side of the college,” says Sally.
The bedrooms were put in areas where they thought there would be good ventilation and enough lighting. Privacy was also something they considered and this determined the location of each room.
Their master bedroom for example is located far from the porch for privacy purposes and to avoid noise once the porch is occupied.
“Our house is located by the roadside, something we also put into consideration when we were planning the design of the house. The fence is raised on this side to minimise the dust from the road,” says Sally.
When she and her husband were done with the house plan, they engaged a professional to put it on paper for the fundis to make reference to during construction.