Linwood Custom Homes - Custom home packages including house plans

Award winning Custom Home Packages including house plans with site specific design.

All Weather Windows

Canada's largest privately owned window and door manufacturer

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada's national housing agency. CMHC is Canada's premier provider of mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research

Energy Star

Save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products

James Hardie

World leader in fiber cement siding and backerboard

Jeldwen Windows & Doors (Canada)

Reliable wood, vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors

Western Archrib

A leader in the design, manufacture, and custom fabrication of glued-laminated structural wood systems.

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Home Design

Working with Cochrane Home Builders gives you the opportunity

to choose from a large number of home designs. These are pre-engineered and can be customized to your specifications. Alternatively you can work with an experienced design team to create a unique design.

A true custom home incorporates site specific design features. This means it fully considers the characteristics of the property as well as meeting building code and permitting requirements. Your designer will be able to help you create an appropriate site specific design.

  • Why Site Specific Design is Important
  • The Design Process
  • Input for Budget Preparation
  • Advantages of Working with Professional Designers

Cochrane Home Builders can then help you make informed decisions for choosing the right building products and provide you with technical expertise and practical building options. Working with Cochrane Home Builders gives you all the design support you need to get your home completed.


Why Site Specific Design is Important

Site specific design considers how the home is placed on the property. It also looks at the characteristics of the building lot from a technical perspective to help get the best result on the property. Zoning and other restrictions are also taken into account as they may affect the design parameters.

The first consideration is orienting the home to take advantage of views and natural light. These factors will play an important role in determining the design characteristics of the home. Exposure to weather will also play an important part when it comes to choosing the right materials later on.

The slope and topography of the building site will dictate and sometimes restrict the type of structure you can build. Some of the technical issues include setbacks, which not only affect the placement of the home but also placement of wells and septic fields. Geotechnical and other site engineering issues may also affect design.

Typically people start with a look or an interior layout that they like. With modern construction methods most floor plans can be designed to match the desired exterior look. Once this information is available you can then turn your ideas into a preliminary plan, which can subsequently be used to develop blueprints and a budget.


The Design Process

The design process usually takes longer that people think. This is because there are a number of steps involved and some key decisions to be made to get a good finalized design. The decisions you make at the design stage will affect every aspect of your project.

Designing your home starts with deciding on an exterior look or an interior layout that is appealing. With modern construction methods, most floor plans can be designed to match the desired exterior look.

The next step in developing your concept is to take your ideas to preliminary plans, which show floor plans and exterior elevations. In developing preliminary plans, you need to consider how the home will be placed on the property. This requires looking at the characteristics of the property from both a features and technical perspective. Setbacks, zoning, placement of wells and septic fields also need to be taken into account.

These preliminary plans can then be used to generate blueprints. Accurate blueprints are the best basis for creating a realistic budget. Blueprints are also used to obtain building permits and for construction purposes.

Getting planning approval can be a lengthy process. It can take from 3 to 6 weeks just to get building permits. This is why you should apply for permits as soon as you have finalized blueprints available.


Input for Budget Preparation

The design chosen and resultant blueprints are the first critical step in budget preparation. An accurate final budget can only be produced when the information contained in the blueprints is available. Not only does this cover the size of the home and construction method, but also the type and quality of materials to be used.

If there is a maximum project budget specified, then some changes can be made to the design and materials selected to meet this requirement. Because of the nature of custom home projects it is generally not realistic to use average per square foot prices. There are major variables involved in the calculation of per square foot costs of decks, covered porches, garages, finished basements and main living areas.

This is why you need to prepare a budget based on project specific information. Any other way of calculating can result in serious budget overruns.


Advantages of Working with Professional Designers

Most custom homes need the involvement of a professional designer to help make sure the floor plan and external elevations meet the needs of the homeowner and building code requirements. This means you will need to rely on external design expertise to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the complexity of the project.

The initial concept design needs to incorporate site specific details to make sure that home can actually be built on your property. The blueprints need to accurately reflect the concept and have structural integrity. They should also show enough detail to allow accurate estimation of materials and for use in construction of the home. In addition, they need to minimize any local engineering required to obtain approval for local building permits.

Cochrane Home Builders has a team of professionals available to meet the needs of most custom home projects in the Cochrane area. Getting professional help that is available when needed and familiar with your type of project will save you time and money.



Cochrane Home Builders - Member of Alberta Builder Network - 1.866.582.8453