Planning Your New Home

You are the best person to plan your new home to suit your needs, your land and the amount of money and savings that you have.

Think about the following when deciding where you should put your house on your piece of land:

  1. Think about the shape and size of your land, and where you would like to put the house or extend the house.
  2. Think about the inside of the house. If you are going to extend, think about moving a few doors, windows or plumbing as possible. Moving or buying these will cost you money.
  3. Draw a sketch plan of how you want your house to look like

How do I position my house on my land?

Think about the following when deciding where you should put your house on your piece of land:

space to extend: Position your home so that when your family grows, or your needs change, you can add on to your house if necessary.

heat and light: In South Africa, the sun comes from the north to the side of your house that faces north will be warmer and brighter than the side that faces south. If you live in a very hot area, you may want to shade this side of the house, using trees, plants or an overhanging roof. In a cool area, you may want to put windows on this side of the house to let light into your house.

wind: A wind that blows through a house cools it, but also brings in a lot of dust. If you want to protect your home from wind, make the shorter side of the house face the wind and plant trees to shield the house from the wind.

slope: If your site slopes, remember that water will wash down onto your house. It may sink under the house and eventually cause cracking. If your house is built on a slope, you should put a layer of cement around the entire house to stop water from sinking under the house.

services: It will be easier to get services such as water and electricity if your house is near where these services come from. Most services come from the road in front of your house.

trees: Try not to cut down the trees on your site. Trees and plants should be used around your house to shade you from the sun and wind as well as give you more privacy. But don’t build your house too close to trees as roots may cause the foundations 4 and walls to crack.

security: You may wish to use your loan to put a fence or wall around your land, or to put burglar bars on the windows of your house or a security gate on your door.

foundation: This is the solid concrete base upon which a house is built. There are two main types of foundation: strip footing, which sits directly beneath the walls, and slab-on-the-ground, which is a concrete slab that supports the whole house

(b) How do I plan my house?

Next, list the rooms you would like in your house, such as bedrooms, lounge, kitchen, bathroom, dining room. Decide how many rooms you can afford to build at this stage, but plan for all the rooms.

When designing your new home, think about the size you need. Will your house be big enough for your family? Do you need to build an extra room to rent out so that you can earn extra income? Will your house be big enough should you wish to run a business from home?

If you are going to build your house in stages, first draw out the sketch of the entire house, then select which parts you would like to build first.

(c) Sketching a plan of my house

Be very careful to plan the way you would like your kitchen and bathroom to be laid out, as these are the most expensive rooms in the house to build. In your bathroom, the bath or shower, the basin and the toilet should be against the wall where the pipes will be bringing in water. Even if you do not have piped water in your house now, design your bathroom for when you will have water. Don’t put a window where you want to have a shower.

light: Although the north side of your house will be the sunnier side, think about where morning and afternoon sun will come into the house. You must have a window in each room of your house to let in air and light.

roof: You should think about putting a ceiling into your house to stop the house from getting too hot or too cold. You can also ask your building materials supplier for a type of tin foil to put in your roof to insulate your house. If you build thick outside walls it will also help to protect your house.

plan: Once you have decided on all the things you want in your home, you need to draw a plan of your new house. You should ask your builder or someone experienced to help you with this.

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