Architecture & Building

Architecture & Building, Construction Consultant

Steps to building a custom home

While the steps of building a high-end custom home with a boutique builder like Merit Homes are generally similar to that of building a cookie-cutter home with a commercialised home builder, there are several parts of the custom build process that are unique and require a lot more thought, input and hands-on involvement. 

That’s the best part, though. You become an integral part of bringing your dream to life.

You choose your team;

make the decisions;

determine the style and design;

select all the elements; 

and you can hand over as much or as little of the process as you like.

We’ve put together a general representation of the custom home-build process. Every experience will be unique, but the basic road map and final destination are the same. 

Read on for a brief overview and return back soon to delve into each step in more detail.

Dare to Dream

Homes are built from a single dream. You find inspiration in the strangest places. You gather a collection of wonderful, sometimes wacky ideas. You obsessively research products and new technology, building materials, design and locations. The dream grows over months and even years, until one day… you’re finally ready.

Budget and feasibility 

Speak with your accountant, financial planner and bank about the financial feasibility of your project and put together a budget. Allow 10-20% of your total budget for a contingency or emergency fund. Unbudgeted surprise expenses are guaranteed, and not allowing for them could mean not being able to complete the build.

Build your dream team

Your core team will be made up of your architect, builder and interior designer. It’s most important to build an open, honest and comfortable working relationship so that everyone is on the same page. 

Remember to draw on your team’s knowledge and expertise for guidance. You don’t do this every day – they do. Be open to change and different ideas and have trust in their input.

Finance

Finalise your finance and budget. It’s important to be upfront about your budget with your team from the beginning so they can design a home to suit. 

Find your build site

Location is the most important part so don’t rush it. Consider the view but also the site costs, accessibility, excavation, council zoning and restrictions. Can you build what you want? As well as your real estate agent, work with your solicitor and architect to identify suitable sites. 

Architectural design

You’ve purchased the block, now you can move into the design phase.  

There are 4 steps to the architectural design process: 

Programming; 

Schematic design; 

Design development; and 

Construction drawings. 

Feel the earth move!

Once the design is complete and your permits are in place, it’s time to prepare the site for the construction phase. This means excavation, ensuring utility connections are going to the site and ready to connect, and everything is ready for construction to commence.

Construction

Remember, an expansive custom home like yours will take much longer to complete than a mass-produced standard-built home – and so it should! You can help by making timely decisions to help prevent unnecessary delays.

Finishing touches

As your home is near ready to occupy, you can start planning the finishing touches. But beware: our insurance doesn’t allow external contractors to complete works while we’re still on site. 

Get everything ordered and ready to go by all means, but don’t book in any on-site appointments or installations until we’ve signed off and moved out.

Move in!

 

Architecture & Building, Custom Builder, Interior Design

Outdoor inspiration for a happier, healthier you.

Outdoor inspiration for a happier, healthier you.

#FACT: Spending time outdoors, and indeed living close to nature – ie. parks, sporting fields, bushland and beaches – actually makes you happier and healthier. 

Being outdoors, even for short periods, can improve your short and long-term memory, brain function, immune system and lower cortisol – the stress hormone. Other health benefits include reduced blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, inflammation and anxiety. 

Most of us would agree, there’s nothing quite like clean, fresh air and a glimpse of sunshine to brighten one’s mood. Oh, we’re absolutely dreaming of summer! Nights out on the patio, Aperol Spritz in hand, squeals of laughter as the kids run amok in the backyard.

In Australia in the 21st century, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to outdoor inspiration. Gone are the days when a rickety old picnic table and umbrella out on the lawn would suffice – although that still has its place for hosting a good time, too!

At Merit, we get to see and create some spectacular outdoor spaces. Some of our favourites include indoor-to-outdoor spaces that seamlessly transition outside through wide openings of floor-to-ceiling glass.

Covered alfresco dining elegantly clad in earth-tone natural cut stone and natural timber accents against lush foliage – a real celebration of nature’s rich goodies!

Then there’s the two-sided fireplace…. And the bench seating circled around the firepit in the far back corner of the backyard. 

But perhaps the one on everyone’s wish list right now is the state-of-the-art, fully-equipped outdoor kitchen – that can often rival most people’s indoor kitchens! 6-burner BBQ, a smoker, pizza oven, meat fridge, wine fridge, granite benches – and a view!

Or far less extravagantly – sometimes, a simple hammock under the shade of an old oak tree, a great book and a string of twinkling fairy lights springing to life come night time can be just the ticket to shift the mood out of brood.

But definitely sign us up for that outdoor kitchen, though! The thought of sizzling up a tender, charcoal-grilled steak on the barbie has us feeling warmer already…

 

Architecture & Building, Custom Builder

Reasons to build an all-inclusive turn-key home

Why you should consider an all-inclusive turn-key home.

Packaging everything together into a ‘turnkey’ building contract is making life easier for many Merit Homes’ clients. While our clients may be building a luxury home, often what they lack is the luxury of time to spend researching, organising and carrying out the finishing touches themselves.

It’s one of the main reasons clients ask to include elements like landscaping, window treatments, home security, smart home systems, an outdoor kitchen or a swimming pool in the final product. If you don’t have the time – the energy or inclination – to organise these items yourself, an ‘all-in-one’ building agreement is a great option.

When building a luxury home, you usually have a specific vision in mind. Part of that vision is premium craftsmanship and attention to detail.

A Merit Homes turnkey project can also include items like air-conditioning, solar systems, pools and pool fencing, landscaping, paving, letterboxes, security gates. decorative lighting and built-in cabinetry such as wardrobe fit-outs, bookcases, window seats and media units.

Read on for some great reasons to consider a turnkey home.

There’s less for you to organise.

Outsourcing everything to your builder is great when you’re time-poor and don’t need the added stress of rounding up contractors to add the finishing touches. You’ll love the convenience of knowing all the heavy lifting is being looked after so you can focus on family, work and lifestyle.

It’s quicker.

For insurance reasons, we can’t allow you to organise ‘owner works’ while we’re still on-site, but if the project is turnkey then additional items can be scheduled and carried out as part of the build – thus, you get into your new home sooner. 

While you’ll pay a margin for us to take on the purchasing risks and coordinate the works, you can save yourself substantial time, stress and money – especially if you’re renting while building. 

We get the best in the business.

As well as engaging the best contractors to get the job done, Merit Homes has an excellent working relationship with its suppliers, so we get priority when it comes to ordering, processing and delivery, ensuring things happen as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.

A better idea of the budget.

Including all the finishing items in your building contract means everything is accounted for right from the start. 

Consistency of quality and style.

Entrusting us to take care of the entire project ensures you get a home that flows cohesively and is exceptionally stylish – as though it’s all ‘meant to be’. 

Let the experts handle it.

When you’re investing in a big complex home build, you want a certain architectural style. You need experts who appreciate the attention to detail and can bring specialist skills and insights to the party.

You still choose what you want.

If you build with us as a turn-key option, you still be able to choose exactly what you want. You can work with our interior designer, or we’ll happily work with yours. Regardless, every last detail is still your choice. 

Architecture & Building, Custom Builder

Things to consider when buying a block of land

So you’ve painstakingly researched and selected your builder and have struck up the beginning of a great working relationship. No doubt you’re keen to get started as soon as possible. 

You’ve probably started drafting a floor plan and ‘mood-boarding’ with magazine clippings of great interior styles, selecting the appliances, the fittings, colour palette, and all the luxury extras you’ll cram inside….

But hold on a minute – pump the brakes! Before going any further,  where will you build this magnificent new home? It’s rarely as simple as it sounds.

Here are just a few of the things to factor in when selecting the perfect piece of land for your dream home. 

Location, location, location

When it comes to owning any piece of real estate, nothing is more crucial or important than where it is. Is the area already established with the essentials close-by? 

If it’s a newer area, what new developments are planned? For example; supermarkets, shopping centres, doctors, schools, sporting facilities? Where’s the nearest hospital? How accessible is it to main roads or the nearest city? Aim to buy the best block you can afford in your chosen area.

School Zoning

An increasingly important factor is a property’s school catchment zone. A premium price is put on homes that fall within the catchment of schools considered prestigious. 

The more parents wanting to enrol their kids there, the higher the premium placed on properties in its catchment area. Even if you don’t have school-aged children, you should still consider school zoning relevant to you. 

Why? If homes in a highly-sought school zone fetch premium prices, you, as an owner will also benefit from a premium sale price, rent or bank valuation if you ever want or need to sell, borrow against or draw on some capital.

Search properties by School Zone on Domain.com.au 

Council zoning & building restrictions

Council zones and restrictions exist to protect everyone’s interests. When you buy land in a quiet residential street, council restrictions ensure you won’t wake up next to a high-rise building, abattoir or a speedway race track. 

The council also determines how high you can build, how much of the block you can build on, and even how far back your home must sit. 

This maintains street appeal and protects every home’s value. Similarly, if you buy land in a new estate, the developer may have their own restrictions and requirements in addition to the councils, protecting the look, quality and livability – thus, inspiring people to live there and maintaining the land value. 

Easements & building envelope

Most blocks will have some sort of easement on it (an area you cannot build over), so you shouldn’t automatically run away if you find one on a block you’re looking at buying. What’s important is where the easement is and how much it will affect your plans. 

If it’s along the rear or side boundaries, it probably won’t bear too much impact on your plans. However, if it’s running diagonally through a standard residential block, it may render the land totally useless.

Block terrain

Having a spectacular view is a wonderful bonus. But spectacular views usually come with the sort of block terrain that requires high additional site and earthworks fees to prepare and flatten areas of it for the house to sit on. 

Choose a block that’s as flat and level as possible. If it’s not an option, just ensure to factor in additional earthworks expenses into the budget.

Good luck!