Planning to build a home from scratch? Fantastic! Welcome to the start of an incredible adventure, and one that could see you building the home of your dreams. It’s going to be tough for sure, but certainly not beyond the realms of what’s possible.
The key to success is being organized, and preparing as much as possible in advance. A vital tool for any new home build is a build binder.
What is a Build Binder?
Chances are you’ve never heard of a build binder before, but don’t despair. It’s actually a really simple concept, and the best news is that it will cost you pennies. Simple and cheap it may be, but this will become your bible while building your home.
A build binder is a store of everything related to your building project. You can make 2 versions, a digital one and a physical one that can be carried around, or left with your construction crew for reference. It’ll include plans, designs, contact details, product codes and much more.
Separated by tabs, you can quickly find what you’re looking for when you need it most. Each segment can be further divided, making it as easy as flipping through the various tabs to find whatever you need.
What Should I Put in it?
Start with the blueprints and plans that you’ve devised with your architect and contractor, plus copies of deeds, contracts, etc. This section should contain an overview of the entire project, and provide information as to where utility hookups are, as well as dimensions for each area. Be sure to list all of your vital contacts as well.
Break it down
For ease of use, the next sections should be divided into the different rooms your house will have, plus one more for the exterior only. Within each room section, store copies of the blueprints, plans and written specifications, as well as important technical information such as supply pipe sizes, wire sizes, and where utility points will be located.
In addition, create a subsection that details the room finish schedule. Within here, keep photos or illustrations of all the appliances, doors, fixtures and fittings you want for each room, as well as installation instructions. Materials and finishes such as flooring, trims, tiles, door and window hardware, light fittings and even electrical sockets should also be listed, complete with product codes and prices. Also, make a plan of where you want everything to be placed in each room.
You can also use your build binder to showcase catalogue trimmings and photos of inspirational rooms, furniture and finishes. While you may change your mind further down the line, it’s best to complete each section ahead of the building work.
Why Should I Make One?
To be fair, it is a lot of work, but it’s well worth it. You might not think it’s a good idea to choose appliances, finishes and furniture too far in advance, but it’s never too early. A very common problem is that owners are asked to make pressure decisions regarding appliances or finishes at the last minute. This leads to rushed, panicked and stressful decision-making, and many people later regret their choices.
By taking all of these decisions in advance, you remove this issue altogether. It also gives you time to ensure you can order everything, as some items may take a while to arrive. In this way, the project will not suffer delays. You’re not tied to your initial plans either, it’s just good to have something in place early on. By planning ahead, you have time to change your mind if you see something else you prefer later on.
An Instruction Manual for Subcontractors
If well-designed and accurately put together, your build binder will become something like an instruction manual that subcontractors can follow to the letter. This allows them to work around each other, and know exactly what to do and where to place things each step of the way, avoiding delays, guesswork and mistakes.
Avoid Design and Construction Mistakes
The final bonus is that by going through each element of each room in terms of design and placement, you can ensure there are no mistakes that you’ll have to live with. Light switches that are covered by open doors, blocked electrical outlets and cabinet doors that don’t open fully are all common errors that can be avoided entirely with proper planning.
It really pays to be organized, and a build binder is a perfect tool for reducing stress, anxiety and the chance of mistakes. Make 3 copies, one for you, one for the contractor and one backup, as well as an online version, and your build is sure to succeed!