Your guide to building consultants for your home build

Home Build Services OnHome Ground

A home is often the biggest investment most families will make in their lifetime.

It’s also one of the most complex projects many of us will ever be a part of. 

As the homeowner, you are the catalyst for the project. Your needs drive the project. But unless you are insanely skilled in every aspect of design, planning and construction, you’re going to need some help to bring your project to life. 

When you don’t get a lot of exposure to the process it can be difficult to comprehend just how many different skills are required. By looking at the different components of a project we break down the building consultants you might need to bring in to complete your build.

The site

Every location is different and requires different treatment. Most sites will require a survey to provide accurate topographic data. This is especially important if you decide to renovate an existing home. A registered surveyor will complete a survey to understand the condition of the site. This includes contours, location of structures, significant vegetation, boundaries, easements and neighbouring buildings. This information is used during every phase of the process from design to construction. Surveyors also produce subdivision documentation. 

Each site has its own conditions. Exposure to hazards like bushfire or flood may require specialist consultants to prepare maps, reports or certificates. A geotechnical engineer may be required on sites where the soil is likely to move or change over time.

Other site conditions like service connections and access will influence the construction process. By considering these issues early in the process you will potentially save time and money down the track. For example, installing new wastewater management systems may require certification by a wastewater management consultant

Some sites may require environmental reports due to their zoning, development type or vegetation removal. These reports, completed by an environmental consultant, look at the impacts of the development on the local environment. 

The design

Your new home design or renovation plans are key. Without considered design, you may find your new home doesn’t meet your needs. No one wants to discover they have invested thousands into a home that doesn’t suit their lifestyle or core values.

Your design team may include a building designer or architect, draftsperson, landscape architect and interior designer. Larger practices offer all these services, while smaller practices will often work with the same consultants to deliver the services their clients need.

The planning process

In the preliminary stages of the design process, your designer will investigate the planning constraints of your site. Depending on the type of development and the site, a town planner may be required to assist in the planning process. They have specific training in planning legislation at a local and state level. While most designers have experience in dealing with planning authorities, complex projects benefit from town planning. 

The structure

Depending on its location and design, your home’s structure needs to withstand various environmental conditions. Your soil type and site topography will largely influence the foundation or substructure of your home. Flat sites are often concrete slabs that require  structural engineer certification. Homes with piers will also require certification by an engineer. 

All materials used in construction in Australia either have to meet the Australian Standards or satisfy the National Construction Code. Often, materials and construction methods don’t require any special certification, provided they are installed by a certified installer. However, if the design is complex, the structure may need to be certified by a structural engineer. For example, when steel members are used to support a large span or space. 

The finishes

The parts of your home that you see and interact with most – floor coverings, cladding, glazing, cabinetry, lighting, plumbing and fixed appliances – all require a high level of detail and skill to produce and install. This is where electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other specialised trades are required.

During the “second fixing” phase of construction, it’s typical to see multiple trades on site at once. Sometimes these trades are a part of the builder’s team, often they are outsourced to contractors the builder has a relationship with, or by tender. To achieve the level of finish you want, you can negotiate which trades are included in your build contract. You can also supply the details of your preferred contractors. 

Thinking about a new home build or renovation? Experienced designers, On Home Ground can guide you through the process, working with the building consultants necessary to turn your dream home into a real home. Contact us to find out more.