Building a House – Getting Started Guide

How do you get started with Building a House? We get so many emails and chats in passing about how we approach projects – so we thought it would be a great post here to share some of our starting block tasks.

The BARI ‘What you need Checklist’:

  • Existing Conditions drawings (if available)
  • Building Plat
  • Neighborhood guidelines and jurisdictions (if applicable, Home Owners Associations or Design Review Boards/Historic district guidelines)
  • Land Assessment 
  • Site Survey
  • Vision Board or photos of ideas
  • Program/wish list of spaces 

Step 1 – Site Survey – This is where we measure and document everything that currently exists. If you have drawings of your house we still need to verify that all the dimensions are accurate before starting design. If you don’t have any plans or drawings of the existing house or structure then we would need to go out to the site and measure everything. We would use the Plat to do so. Ideally, we can get the site survey going at the same time so we would have the contours and terrain of the site as well.  For a brand new building, we can skip this step and just start by sketching on the site plan!

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Step 2 – Visioning – Once we have the survey and existing conditions drafted up we have an in-person meeting where we can sketch over the drawings. This is also when we talk about your hopes and dreams for the new home. We come prepared for this meeting with a general idea of what can be built on your site based on the local guidelines & jurisdictions. But we also want to hear every idea you’ve ever had building a house.

Building a House in Denver, Colorado hands sketching over architectural drawings and plans blueprints

Step 3 – We take these ideas, hopes, and dreams back with us and develop them for about 3 weeks. At the end of this process, we have another meeting where we show multiple floor plans, exterior, and landscape concepts to sort through. Following this meeting, we narrow down the ideal direction to one concept for the next step. We are getting there!

Step 4 – Having narrowed down to one concept we can now get into the nitty-gritty of the design and start developing the details. Details such as overall sizes, materials, and coordinating with engineers. This is also about a 3-week process once the decisions have been made. 

Step 5 – Final Pricing Package – The end result of this effort is having a comprehensive design document. This document can be used to get quotes from contractors and talk to the building department about permitting.  This step concludes Phase 1 of building a house. Keep an eye out for another blog post that will talk about Phase 2 – Permit and Construction Drawings.

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