What to look out for

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​​Not balancing quality, time and cost

A common mistake made in this first stage is ignoring the need to balance quality, time and cost. This can result in one of the following undesirable outcomes.
  1. Setting an unrealistic vision: As you dream about your ideal house it is easy to end up with too many things you want but don’t need and can’t afford. Therefore, it is important to categorise requirements as essential, important, nice-to-have, etc.
  2. Failing to understand the possibilities: Falling short of aspirations and failing to dream a little may result in a house that meets all the basic needs but does not enhance the lives of the people who will live in it. 
Underestimating commitment
Underestimating the level of commitment the process demands is also a risk. Building a house requires a lot of available time and money, and the ability to make decisions that will have great implications in the future, even if they seem small in the present. If you can’t commit to these there are other routes and options for getting a new house that may be more suitable.
Not considering other options
Another risk is failing to consider other options beyond building a new house on a new site. Renovating or subdividing an existing property may be better suited to your objectives. Not considering these alternatives at the beginning can result in wasted time and money. A professional architect or architectural designer will help you consider all options available and reduce this risk
Copying others
A common mistake is to copy what others have done, rather than making the most of the unique opportunities available to your project. It is also important to remember that planning controls, market taste, construction technology, and people’s expectations are constantly evolving. The circumstances of your project may be very different from those experienced by your neighbour, friend or family member. To achieve maximum value it is important to choose the right housing type for your site conditions.​

Thinking about solutions instead of outcomes

This stage is about defining guiding principles and priorities for the rest of the process. Jumping straight into considering solutions can limit the scope of work of the project team and lead to unexpected outcomes. For example, deciding you want to get a heat pump before setting goals around comfort and health can lead to overlooking the importance of improving the house’s capacity to retain heat. See the Sustainability hub for guidance on how to set objectives in key areas such as energy, water, and comfort and health.​