Working with us


We make it easy for you by starting in small steps and eliminating risk. We offer 100% refund of the concept design fee if you are not satisfied with the design



The design process for custom home design is divided into four main phases:

  1. Client interview
  2. Needs and options review
  3. Design
  4. Construction documents
custom house design process


1.  Client interview

The first contact is an opportunity for us both to interview each other.  We discuss your goals, needs, requirements and your budget.

It is important to us that you are fully aware of the design process, fees and services.  We have options for existing house plans through to complete custom designed homes just for you.

If we are able to help you, we will send you a Proposal for Architectural Services to be performed for your project. It includes a brief description of the project as we discussed. Prior to preparing a schematic design, we will work with you through an in-depth information gathering phase and prepare a program statement that more thoroughly describes the project.

We will ask that you sign the Proposal, initial the Terms and Conditions and return the original documents with your initial payment made payable to House Plans New Zealand Ltd.  Copies of these documents will be included in your Project Organizer binder.


2.  Needs and options review

Other designers may rush into the design phase without considering all the options available to you, leaving you saying ‘if only I had known’ once you have gone too far.
If you discover better options early on you can make changes effortlessly. Make changes late and you will pay exponentially more, or worse live in a house where you settle for a lesser option.

The legal, regulatory and zoning requirements are determined for your site.  Boundaries, building envelope, site setbacks, site coverage, easements and height restrictions are documented that we will design within.

We look at site features to see what natural elements can be used to benefit the design. We may assist with boundary and contour survey of the property, and geotechnical analysis where required. If the project is a renovation the existing conditions survey also includes measuring the existing building.


3.  Design

Based on your design preferences and requirements, we prepare a number of sketches to illustrate the design ideas.

The sketches start with floor plans and a site plan, then work up to a 3D  cad model.

The 3D cad model is used to make exterior elevations and perspective illustrations from any angle.  The perspective illustrations help you to fully understand and visualise the proposed design.

The design phase is a process where we create a design and as it progresses we get your feedback on it.  The design is refined, further details are added, materials selected and a rendering is made of the final design.

At the completion of the design phase the following documents are prepared:

  1. Schematic floor plans
  2. Schematic site plan
  3. Elevations
  4. Perspective illustrations from several viewpoints
  5. 3D rendering
  6. Material specifications

As we only estimate the design based on a per square meter basis, we recommend having cost estimates of the design by contractors or a quantity surveyor before proceeding to Construction Documents. If we need to, we can adjust the design to meet your budget.


4. Construction Documents

A set of construction documents are created to show compliance with the New Zealand Building Code, construction details for the building contractors and detailed specifications of products and materials used for the construction.

The construction documents are not only necessary to obtain a building consent but more importantly, they show the construction details to ensure structural performance, bracing, weather proofing, insulation and durability.

At the completion of the construction documents phase the following documents are prepared:

  1. Site plan
  2. Foundation plan
  3. Floor plans
  4. Bracing plan
  5. Roof framing plan
  6. Drainage plan
  7. Electrical plan
  8. Elevations
  9. Cross sections
  10. Construction details
  11. Window schedule
  12. Door schedule
  13. Perspective illustrations
  14. Specifications

If you have not already selected a building contractor, we may assist you in obtaining construction bids from contractors for construction. This may include preparing documents, reviewing the plans with contractors, comparing bids for completeness and reviewing any proposed variations or material alternatives put forward by the contractors.


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