When working with a contractor, how do you avoid change orders, additional costs, and delays?

Question of the day, How to avoid change orders and delays in a construction project?

A successful project doesn’t start with a contractor, it starts with a good designer. No contractor can start a project without a good blueprint. The blueprints include architectural drawing, structural drawings, sometimes geotechnical reports and of course inter design drawings. 

A good architectural designer or the design studio will coordinate the entire process to make sure the process goes well.

A most common problem occurs when the client agrees with all drawings, but when it gets built, it doesn’t look like what they expected. This issue could be a result of several reasons which one of them would be the lack of ability to translate the blueprints. Many homeowners are not trained to read the blueprints and have difficulties envisioning the final product from the blueprint. 
The solution is that the architectural drawing should be accompanied by 3D visualization renderings as well as virtual reality presentations. Most of the advanced design firms should be able to provide these kinds of services. As of interior designer’s drawing should be followed by product samples so the client can see and touch the finishing material so there won’t be any surprises. 

But the most crucial part is the architectural designer’s job that should interview the homeowners and make sure they are satisfied and know what they really want. Many times the clients can not finalize their decision, which ends up to change orders is because they haven’t spent enough time deciding on the first stage of developing the design.

In a nutshell, to avoid change orders and delays or any possible problems with contractors, the smart homeowner should hire an experienced designer with the right tools. That comes with a higher price tag, but the value comes with it is incomparable.

Make sure to hire your architect/designer to overlook the project to reduce the headaches of change orders or delays. When the designer knows they are hooked to the end of the project, they will make sure to make better communication between the contractor, design and the client.

Please click on the link below to watch a video that helps you to get a better understanding of the process: www.myhomedesigner.com/lcc

A Feel-Good Home: Create a Sanctuary

How You Feel Starts in Your Home

However you want to feel, whatever you want to do, starts in the home. A well-designed house creates a healthy, feel-good home environment that extends to your personal relationships, business interactions, and more.

Architecture holds much power. Architecture can transform your life, inspire your goals, and bring calm and comfort to an otherwise stressful environment. Creative designs of shape, colour, light and other elements to encourage you to move forward through the home, workplace and elsewhere.

Think of your favorite public place, where you feel cozy or comfortable. What does the energy feel like? How does it influence your own energy? Perhaps you feel excited, soothed, motivated. Why not start at home?
When I interview my clients, I would like to know in what state of mind they are and in the state of mind, they want to be. Understanding their favorite colors leads to a conversation on what their goals are, what invigorates them. “What is your burning desire?” I ask. This can all be translated into architecture, into your home.

For example, a person who is wishing to retire on a sunny beach has a different motivation in life than a start-up entrepreneur who is looking for inspiration to take his or her business globally. So their home and work environment should reflect their desired lifestyle.   

Psychology and Architecture, feel-good home
Psychology and Architecture

A Feel-Good Home: Many Ways Architecture Can Benefit Our Well Being:

For our clients, this is the most important stage of design. Through this conversation we can create sanctuary — and life — of your dreams. This approach benefits the well-being of society by revisiting the positive impact architecture can have on our mental health.

Comfort is a state of physical ease, but tranquillity is a psychological state. Many people create comfort in their daily life without creating the mind calmness required for a healthy personality. “Let’s find your favorite couch,” I say, “then look further.” Plants and water features make good starting points in creating a relaxing environment.

You can find the concept of flow everywhere in ancient philosophies. Feng shui is established on the logic of physics and nature. To welcome positive energy, spaces should absorb maximum sunshine. Water features create a comforting, almost musical accompaniment — among other details that are not always implemented in western architecture.

Meditation has been a part of Eastern culture for centuries and is just recently finding its way into ours. For a few minutes, we may listen to the recording of water on a meditation app. Bringing in a water feature into your living space is one way to make meditation a part of your whole day and night. Through nature, we generate the parts of ourselves that exist but perhaps lie dormant.

Colours and architecture
Colors and architecture

A Feel-Good Home: How Colour And Light Affect Our Mood

We’re human. Our moods may swing day by day, and that’s okay. Some days we wake up to a grey sky, which reflects in our mood all day long; another day we may feel very energetic. While we cannot paint our walls in different colors every day, LED lighting can wash a wall in a variety of colors. One color might be more interesting in the morning, some entirely different colors in the afternoon. Perhaps when you’re working on your passion project, you want a certain shade of yellow to inspire creativity. That can be done with a click of a button.
The best cure is prevention, and architecture has the power to prevent family crises and other events that could negatively impact our well being.

Solutions Can Come From Unexpected Places

Many psychologists will try to find the root of a person’s problem, but in this case, we are not looking for a problem. We are looking for your solutions. I went to an Ayurvedic doctor about 20 years ago with my wife. I was surprised that this doctor was able to identify the illness by checking her pulse at her wrist. He gave her an herbal mix, which improved her immune system to fight the illness and make her strong — not a painkiller to numb the pain (over the counter drug).

Our clients also appreciate a holistic approach. We are looking to encourage a healthy mindset (Happy mind, happy life!).

A healthy mindset can be achieved by an individually customized design that can be achieved by designing the right color, light, furniture, shape and form. If you’re feeling like you need a boost, perhaps you’d seek out a holistic doctor or even a personal trainer. A good architect can be both. Through design, you can find the tools you need to meet your goals. We create the space AROUND YOU, not the other way around.

If you’re ready for a customized space to fit your lifestyle now and for years to come,
call 604-929-6696.

Outside the Box: Exploring within and beyond your comfort zone

Since I started my architectural education 35 years ago, I’ve always been keen to create unorthodox shapes and buildings and unconventional designs for extraordinary buildings. After I established MyHomeDesigner in 2006 in North Vancouver, we built ourselves up to empower clients who want to explore their comfort zone and push the boundaries of what it means to live in a well-designed home. Creativity is the key to success. We balance every client’s childhood dream with the growing technology available at our fingertips. The sky is the limit.

Our clients dream big. Just because their neighbours built a certain way doesn’t mean they want to follow the same footsteps. Based on their experience in adulthood, I also want them to think like a child — with the determination and resources to see their dream through to reality. There’s much more to decide than a flat roof or pitched roof. You can build something your past, present and future self can be proud of. We pair their deep desire, whatever it may be, with probably the most meaningful investment of their lives to create their authentic dream home. Not everyone else’s dream. Their own.

Here are three examples of how we think outside the box:

#1: Garage for Dream Car and Bike

Mike in North Vancouver had two carports but wanted another garage in the backyard. The existing ports were not insulated. To store his favourite car and bike safely, this required a spacious heated garage. Unfortunately, the municipality would not grant the permit on the grounds that the home maximized the allowed floor area.

But Mike is a resourceful guy and wouldn’t let that stop him. He called me. “First of all, we need to do a survey of the house,” I said. “There is hope.” I figured there are some exceptions in zoning that I could use to his advantage. We investigated. By more accurately classifying part of the existing structure and gaining an exemption for the basement, we got the green light.

Everyone was telling him, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” With the proper analysis, Mike proved them all wrong. At the end of the day, he got his garage. Now, his beloved vehicles are covered in a warm insulated place. Others did not think outside the box. But we did!

#2: Pool INSIDE the House

Imagine — a pool INSIDE the house. This idea grew from an interesting family dynamic; the wife loves to swim but the husband does not know how to swim.

Preferring to spend time together indoors, the whole family jumped at Mom’s idea to be able to swim just about every day despite our region’s harsh winters. Older sons and daughters could come over with their kids, take a dip, and all the while the husband who stays on land/in the adjacent living room can join the fun, too.

This big family’s home was built AROUND the pool. Circulation flows from the dining room so that they can step into the water without really leaving the house. Huge windows and big sliding doors reveal the view of the pool area and patio, which is beautifully decorated, the “eye candy” of the entire house.

When you’re sitting inside, you can still appreciate the view of the pool, a well-lit heated area with tiled walls, the bar, entertainment area, big-screen television — a living space you’d more likely see in tropical locations right here in Canada.

#3: Sustainable Solution for the Same Pool

This same outdoor space is ecologically friendly. Around the pool, one green wall of plants and fountains set the scene for sustainability. In fact, the City of Vancouver is a pioneer for building sustainable homes. In this pool area, there is thick wall insulation. A heat pump system saves the family money in the long-term but is also more energy-efficient because it creates one system for both heating and cooling. It’s a big house. Without this system in place, their utility bills would be astronomical. In addition to saving money, the heat pump improves air quality. Whenever they use the pool, the heat loss is significantly minimized.

For this house designed around a pool, we even reclaimed the land. We only needed to dig three feet to reach the appropriate depth because the entire building was already raised to meet the code — an example of how we can save resources and time.

We love to work with clients who come up with brilliant ideas. This organically shaped space made that family’s childhood dream come true. Remember, luxury doesn’t have to be costly … With us, you’ll discover that net-zero and passive homes can be full of sustainability, luxury, and possibility.


Buying A Home: What You Should Know Before You Purchase

Access to housing is usually one of the most important economic investments in people’s lives. That applies both in the case of buying a home or renting it, with any type of financing. It is natural to ask oneself what considerations are necessary in order to have a knowledge base before acting.

On many occasions, the benefits of acquiring a new or used home, exceed those of building one. It is impressive to see the number of vacant houses and apartments available in the city waiting for future businesses and renovations. This is where one can take advantage of what already exists and reduce large expenses. The contemplations of buying a home go beyond the ones of renting. They address issues ranging from regulations to the passage of time both in relation to materials and the urban context. The following are some tips that might be useful!

Location for Buying a Home: Check the Urban Context and Its Development

It is not only the orientation that is fundamental. Reducing the energy costs of heating and lighting matters a lot. The understanding of proximity and access to basic services regarding health, supply, security, and transport count too. This is closely followed by other minimum requirements, such as electricity and gas systems, lighting, waste collection, and sewerage. It’s a good idea to visit the site on a rainy day and check for waterlogging or flooding.

In this sense, it would be useful to inquire about infrastructural projects and social processes. Check all that is occurring in the surroundings as well as on a neighborhood scale. You need to know everything related to issues that may increase or decrease the value of the property in future purchases or sales.

Know the Local Regulations and the State of Regularization of the Property

Think about your long-term plans and check if local regulations will allow your next home to adapt to your needs. In many cases, ignorance of building regulations can defeat your plans of extension or renovation. It is also important to know if the housing is properly registered and complying with the municipal requirements. Aim to avoid any legal inconvenience or major additional expenses (especially if the former residents had pending fines).

Buying a Home? Take the Materials Into Account …and the Way They Will Age

The materials do not last forever. It will always be necessary to understand that at some point you will need to invest in both painting and repairs of some kind. Taking time to review the finishes and the quality of the materials may be relevant for knowing what you will confront in future maintenance.

Buying new home

The Structure and the Installations Are Very Important

Not only is it necessary to check the installations, but also to understand the structural system of the house. Start by trying out the water pressure or check the electric meter and boards. This will help you to quickly understand the capacity of extension in the case of renovation and to avoid a headache. Going back to issues related to regulations, it is especially important to check that the installations are meeting the current requirements, it can be a big problem for your economy to update them. 

Beware of Home Staging

Remember that furniture and decoration determine the success of a space- especially due to the relationship you have with them. You will not want to buy all the furniture new in the case that yours do not fit the future home. In this sense, it is necessary to pay attention to the staging offered in sales situations and to try to visualize the space with your own belongings.

Check Recurring Expenses and Anticipate Maintenance Costs

You can buy the most economical house you can find, but quickly notice whether it was a good or a bad idea based on the expenses you have on a regular basis. It is essential to check these costs in advance to avoid surprises. For example, find out if there is any subsidy in the rates of services, the cost of cleaning, sweeping, and lighting of public spaces in the sector or taxes associated with owning housing.

Buying new home

Search for Price References

Check the price range of similar housing listed in the desired sector. You might be surprised how ignorance of the market might affect you. In this sense try to inquire about construction costs and what different real estate companies offer. It is always advisable to become an expert on the subject and to have different views on the matter.

Talk to Your Possible Future Neighbors

Whether it is a house or an apartment, it is more than interesting to know who your future fellows might be. Research can also tell you those small and important details and their perception of the area. Moreover, you can learn more about the reason why the former residents have decided to leave.

buying new home

Check the Necessary Procedures and the Extra Costs of Buying a Home

The process of buying and selling housing is clearly not a simple task. Therefore, multiple factors might affect the amount of money you had considered – especially with issues related to regulations, such as payments to commissioners and notaries. For any matter, we always recommend turning to a professional for advice.

Know Your Rights as a Consumer in the Real Estate Market

Oftentimes we know our obligations but are unaware of our rights. In the case of real estate, where investments are very high and there are a lot of variables at play, it is important to find out which ones correspond to you and to be prepared.