first steps for your design project


determine your basic needs

You really need to begin by evaluating your basic needs & goals. Although this will sound obvious to some, many people don’t put much thought into this initially, instead preferring to look at pre-drawn plans, or imagining where an addition could physically fit.

Don’t start with designs - it’s very important to articulate your needs & goals first.

what are your physical needs

Try to determine what your physical needs may be, in general terms, including (if you are able) roughly how much square-footage will you need. Something like “a new 2300 to 2600 s/f, two storey, three bedroom”, or “a 300 to 400 s/f addition for a master, ensuite & walk-in”, is enough at this point.

establish a rough budget

If cost is a factor, determine what it is that you are prepared or able to spend. It may be best to come up with 2 separate figures: (a) your ideal budget, and (b) your maximum budget (for some people these can be quite different from one another).

evaluate your priorities & objectives

Articulate what is most important to you. Do you like to “think everything through, look at options, and make sure you do it right - the first time”? Or are you more concerned with “just getting it built”? Are you wanting to “pre-plan most of your project”, or just make decisions when they need to be?

Your priorities will influence a number of decisions & possibilities that you may have. Knowing these up front may help focus your thoughts & make other decisions clearer.

are your needs & budget ‘in-sync’?

It is important to see (early on) if your needs & wants are roughly ‘in-sync’ with your budget. All you can really do at this preliminary point is look at rough construction ‘costs-per-square-foot’, to get a general ‘ball-park’ idea of cost. (Make sure that the rough figures / sq. ft. that you use are appropriate for both the approximate size of your project, as well as the overall quality you expect.)

do you have a deadline?

Some people have a specific time when they need to build, while other people may be more concerned with getting started with ‘the process’. It would be best to determine your schedule, as several possibilities & options are influenced for projects with specific ‘deadlines’.

determine if you need professional assistance

Often people have many ideas of what they may want. Some are happy to do all the planning themselves, while others either would like or know that they need assistance to ‘to bring it all together.’ For the latter, one of the next steps would be to determine who would be best to help you with your needs.