How to choose a great house plan

Before you begin searching for house plans, you should set a budget for your home project.
Before you begin searching for house plans, you should set a budget for your home project. PHOTO/FILE
Choosing a house plan can seem like a daunting task, but knowing what to look for can help you succeed when picking a floor plan for your home.

So, what features should you look out for in a house plan? How can you tell whether a house plan meets your personal and family needs?

The following simple and easy-to-follow tips can help you choose the right plan for your dream home.

1) Budget – A lot of the choices we make on things we have to purchase are determined by a budget. While it is a common wish to do better than we currently are, it is important to find out the costs related to a particular layout before settling on a house plan.

Start by setting your budget and work within it being as realistic as possible. All floor plans can be modified to fit into the available budget and some features can be excluded to be added later on when the budget allows for it.

2.) Lifestyle – An ideal house plan should be congruent with your daily routine. You should therefore concentrate more on the functionality and flow from one space to the other in relation to your daily activities.

Consider the people who will be living in the house and the spaces they mostly use to allow for ample space in such areas. For instance, someone with small kids needs a lot of play area and wider hallways to accommodate all the running around.

If you enjoy hosting parties or gatherings then an open house plan with adequate space for a group is your best choice. On the other hand, people who appreciate privacy should settle for a layout comprising individual partitioned rooms. Take cues from how you are living currently and what you would like to improve on.

3.) Parcel of land – Not all house or floor layouts will fit on every parcel of land. It is important to consider the topography (shape and terrain) of the lot before settling on any house plans since this affects the elevation of the house from the ground.

A wide lot is best suited for broad one storey layouts while narrow ones are ideal for multi storey house plans. A sloping lot requires a plan that is completely different from that of a flat lot and would be best for a basement or drive under garage.

Details such as the scenery, direction of wind, sunrise and sunset are important when it comes to placement of windows and balconies so as to maximise on natural light and best views while at the same time blocking unpleasant weather elements and views. It is important to ask a professional to check your lot and advise you accordingly.

4.) Family needs – Consider the current and future needs of those who will live in the house. While a multilevel plan may seem like the best use of space for young families, as parents grow older, they will most probably regret having to climb a flight of stairs to get to the master bedroom.

If there is an aging relative or a handicapped person, a bedroom on the main floor or doing away with stairs all together would be the best option.

A home office would be a great investment for parents who wish to spend more time with their families and still meet their tight work deadlines.

READ: Building 101: How to read and understand a house plan

5.) Neighbourhood – Although the house plan you choose reflects your personal taste and style, it is important that the design fits in with other homes in the neighbourhood.

The size of the house should not be too large or too small in comparison to its neighbours to ensure it blends in well scale-wise. Find out if there are any local authority regulations governing the style and size of buildings in the area.

It is almost impossible to find a house plan that meets all your expectations. The best you can do is to choose a house plan that has most of the features that you are looking for, and then ask your architect to modify it for you.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Read the latest issue of Construction Kenya digital news magazine. Flip through the pages or download a copy to read offline. Sign up for a FREE subscription to get the paper delivered to your inbox every month.