Building a new home – First steps in developing plans in Florida and other regions


Building in Miami or any area of ​​southern Florida is completely different from the construction In any other region of the country. While most of the eastern coastline of the United States, and much of the rest of the country, built houses with wooden framing and a brick finish or wood cladding, southern Florida Built with concrete block and concrete

Quality vs price

Because of the hurricane winds, the structures in this area must be very strong. Where the rest of the country looks down on us because they use only concrete block in their basements, for my money, I really like building concrete and blocks. Concrete blocks do not get termites and do not rot. Therefore, a concrete block structure will last 100 years or more with almost no maintenance. Unfortunately, the vast majority of homes in Miami have wooden trusses with plywood cladding for the roof, then roofing paper and either shingles or concrete tiles on top. This type of construction is not particularly good to withstand hurricane wind conditions. Although the Florida Building Code has done its best to improve the requirements for the installation of the roof covering and roof finish, it can not begin to compare to the strength that the roof would have if A concrete slab were used for the roof structure

So why, if we know it, do we not build with roofs of concrete slabs? Cost – the only reason is the cost. It is much more costly to both design and install a concrete slab roof, especially on a slope to take a concrete tile finish.

So one of the first things the homeowner must establish at the beginning of the process design for a new home is how much the homeowner wants to spend on building. There is the cheap way to build a house and the expensive way.

The program

But to determine a budget, the owner of a home must first establish the new home area. To establish the total area, he will have to generate a program for the house. The program is a list of rooms with their corresponding sizes.

See the sample list as follows:

Living Room 240 square feet

Dining room 120 square feet

Kitchen 170 square feet

Family Room 240 square feet

Master Bedroom 240 square feet

Master bathroom 64 square feet

Bedroom # 2,216 square feet

Bedroom # 3,192 sq. Ft.

Bath No. 2 36 square feet

Laundry room 100 square feet

Bathroom linen 9 square feet

A / C Closet 9 square feet

Total = 1,634 + 327 = 1,961 square feet

Now we have a basic idea of ​​the large spaces of the house and approximately how many square feet total owner will need for the house.

Also, it is a good time to decide whether there will be outdoor spaces, such as covered terraces or pergolas. In Florida, these are particularly good additions to interior spaces. With wonderful temperatures during the winter there is no reason to spend all the time in air-conditioned interiors.


What is a home that is just Less than 2000 square feet of cost in southern Florida? There is no magic formula to determine this. The cost of the house depends on many things that have to do with the design, such as: roof type, ceiling height, design complexity, finishes, whether it is going to be on a septic tank Or sewer, and type of foundations. So there are those costs that have nothing to do with the design, such as the location of the house, how busy are the entrepreneurs in the area, how well known and reliable the contractor is, Etc. Although the price of a home can vary enormously due to all of the items discussed above, at that time a range of $ 150 to $ 250 per square foot could be used for a home that does not. Is not too elaborate with the standard construction. So let 's go back to the example.

The Miami-Dade County Building Department does not require plans for a single building. -the family residence must be signed and sealed by an architect or engineer. This is not the case for all municipalities in the region. For example, Coral Gables requires that all plans be signed and sealed by an architect. But for all practical reasons, the volume of information that must be included in a set of plans in a Miami-Dade County municipality, most of the time, it is necessary to hire several professionals: one Architect, a MEP engineer and a structural engineer. MEP stands for mechanical, electrical and plumbing. The mechanical engineer designs air conditioning, the electrical engineer designs the electricity, including lighting, and the plumbing engineer designs the plumbing. The structural engineer designs the structure and provides the structural calculations required for the building envelope. The architect designs the whole house and coordinates the work of everyone. The coordination of all disciplines is probably the most important role of the architect because without coordination there could be real conflicts in the construction phase. Although it is legal to produce plans on its own in some parts of the county, it will be an insurmountable task to produce construction drawings to allow (unless the owner has a background under construction with the " Experience and knowledge of the Florida Building Code and Local Zoning Codes).

What do these design services cost to the owner? They also vary greatly, but there is also a range of good established professionals. This range would be between 6% and 10% of the cost of construction for license plans for all disciplines. Services during the construction phase are usually invoiced separately on an hourly basis or in a separate package.

House style

Another important decision to take from the beginning is the style of the house. There are essentially three popular styles for designing homes in Southern Florida – modern, Mediterranean and Key West.

Once the owner decides what styles he wants, it is important to convey the style and details to the architect.

The choice of an architect

Now that you have the basic elements together, the next step is to choose your architect. This is very important because this is the person with whom you will be working very closely for the next year.

Take the investigation of the existing land from the moment you closed on your mortgage. If you have lost it or if it is too old or inaccurate, the architect will arrange to update or make a new one.

Ask for pictures of his work. Ask for references. To ask questions. Ask him how he would approach the project. Start to feel if that is someone you could work with. Do you like the predominant style of the architect's work? Do you like her work? Learn more about the process. Ask what you should expect in the way of his services. Ask him to show you plans for a similar project.

People are individuals and everyone is unique. I remember how many people hired because they liked my "Mediterranean" or "Spanish" style or my modern or post-modern style. One person said that she hired me because I returned her calls quickly. Chemistry between people is significant.

Normally, construction documents consist of several parts: drawings, specifications, instructions to bidders and addenda. Normally, when the architect manages the build bidding phase for the owner, he chooses the type of contract that the owner will have with the contractor. This document is also part of the construction documents.

Drawings are the bulk of the work that, according to specifications, serves as a step – by – step guide for the contractor to use during construction. Sometimes on large jobs, the specifications are placed in a separate book and called the project manual. On most residential projects, specifications are normally covered as notes on drawings. For elaborate interiors a separate package is made by the architect and loaded separately.

The documents of construction are produced in the phases of the general to the detailed. I like to divide my projects into 4 phases: Preliminary design, design development, 50% construction documents and 100% construction documents. Each phase relies on the previous phase until the architect feels that the drawings are all coordinated between the different disciplines and are ready to submit for the permit.

With careful planning and communication with your architect, its good designs and coordination and the careful selection of a reputable contractor, your new home project should flow without major problems. Although there are often change orders due to unforeseen conditions or changes that the owner wants to implement, most issues should be resolved before construction.

For more information on the role of the architect during construction, see my other article on The role of the architect during the construction process displayed here.


Source by Maria Luisa Castellanos

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