Most of us resort workers have lots of things to do back at home in the annual vacation and sometimes this includes starting work on the dream house project we used to dream about. Of course as each one of us is so is our dream and so is the design of the dream house project.
For there to be a house there has to be land. But have we got this commodity? At present the majority of us seems not to have this luxury. However there are indications that the government is thinking hard about the land issue and hopefully their thoughts will become actions in the foreseeable future. At present and in the near past, land is allocated to those who ask with the condition that the asking person shall have been married and shall have at least one child. This is a little bit ironic as it’s a customary requirement when marrying to be able to provide for shelter the wife. However we have been doing this topsy turvy these last 2 to 3 decades… anyways, the island office (now its province office ?) gives the plots of lands and the land may or may not be built or lie fallow for a number of years depending of lots of factors.
Some of the common points to remember to construct the dream house.
1. We spend a large proportion of our savings to “draw” the project. Of course everyone would want his dream house project to go right from the start hence the need for proper architectural drawings and if possible engineering advice. However d.i.y (do it yourself) approach to this problem is better because most of those who are licensed to draw and design ask exorbitant fees to draw simple structures and engineering advice…. Well, forget it. It’s certainly not within the reach of normal people. Despite what is being made out of it, drawing a simple house is very simple if simple tools are employed. Of course AutoCAD is not needed as its too heavy weight and difficult to learn. Better to choose something simpler like “3d Home design” by Broderbund. They had released a free version of their software which can be downloaded freely and could use without license. It’s very easy and intuitive to learn.
2. The design consideration of a normal house relevant in the islands is very basic. As we do not have highways and byways there is no need to restrict our houses accordingly and orient the buildings as is stated in manuals is not practicable because of the small size available to build. Small considerations such as keeping the bedroom to the east and aligning the dining room to east is a little bit fussy cos we seems to get equal amount of sunlight all year round. However it’s important to align doors and windows so that light could pass through the house as well as helping with ventilation. The idea is that the house shall be airy and ‘light’ even if power fails.
3. It’s very important to know the total cost of the buildings and ‘engineers’ will charge to estimate this based on boq (bill of quantities) which is generated with the drawings in most software. If we want to do it the d.i.y way then we can generate the same list on software like what is mentioned above and take the list to a hardware store and have them put their rates on the materials listed. Based on experience a rough figure to construct a single bungalow could be 14$s per square feet of built up area.
4. When constructing simple bungalows, flat bed long foundations although popular seem to be a waste of money and shall be avoided. Columns supported by a suitable cube base of appropriate size shall do the job as we do not experience earthquakes and tremors etc. Most of us still live in house build by our parents with limestone with no beams and columns and it still seems strong after 40 and sometimes even after 50 years.
5. Because of the small size of our islands sometimes the plot of land we were given might be on the edge of the island directly adjacent to beach and if this were the case it’s a mixed blessing. If the plot we were given were a ‘water front property’ which is valuable in other parts of the world but for us those who live these small islands the water front is too much of a common thing and nobody seems to particularly like a plot of land near to beach. However the peace and beauty of a properly kept beach is outmatched by the salt breeze and the fact no electronic or electric equipment could survive for more than 2 years depending on the insulation of the house (which is costly… too).
6. One of the commonest mistakes we make when undertaking to build a dreamgasdhoshuge is to start it big and all at once. This shall be avoided at all times and we shall attempt to eat the cake piece by piece. Not once. At the design and drawing time consideration shall be given to this issue and the house shall be designed to be ‘modular’ which is additions and annexes shall be included in the drawing and work shall first start on the part which has the highest priority.
7. Avoid long hallways running through the house in one direction as its tasteless and gives away privacy which is very important for a home. Also its good idea to be a minimalist and construct only that much that is a genuine necessity. The conserved spaces could be use for aesthetics like gardening which adds class and touch to the finish.
8. If building as an annex in a plot of land with existing structures then try to integrate your dreamgasdhoshuge to the surroundings rather than destroying whatever is near as this might become problematic in the future.
9. It’s not a prerequisite of building code that walls shall be straight and spaces shall be square or rooms shall be cubic. Experiment as much as you can but try to keep to the original budget. It’s also very good point to keep in mind not to waste money on fancy switches, lights, devices and gadgets as these can be added later when the bulk of the project is finished.