Our Process

How to Build A Custom Home: A Step-by-Step Guide for Building

laneway house

Are you looking to build your dream house, but you don’t know how to begin?

At Nicons Enterprises Ltd., with over 20 years in the residential building field, we are here to help and make this process stress-free for you! There a 3 major things to take into consideration from start:

  • Make a budget
  • Determine your timeframe
  • Find the property for your custom home

Part 1: Getting Started

What is your budget?

Knowing your budget is essential. Prices for new custom homes can range from $180 – $350+ per square foot. Without knowing how much you can spend, it is nearly impossible to decide how large of a home you can build and where, or what design features can be included.

Things to be included in your budget :
  •  The cost of the land
  • Local fees and taxes
  • Design and engineering fees
  • Home construction
  • Landscaping costs
  • Interior decorating and furnishing
  • + a contingency budget
Nicons Enterprises - General Contractor and Renovator

What is your timeframe?

Everyone wants their home finished as soon as possible. You probably have a general date you want your project finished by. In Lower Mainland building a custom home will take 10-12 months from the day of building permit approval, size of the home, design. But is there anything specific you should take into consideration when determining when you need to start and finish by like:

  • Is there a new baby on the way?
  • When is the closing on your current home or the end of a lease?
  • Does your children’s school year affect when you want to move-in?

Due to our rainy or snowy climate, for example, this won’t cause major setbacks but should be taken into consideration when setting a start date if you have a strict deadline.

Selecting the land for your custom home

Where you build is nearly as important as how. And your home’s location will affect what you want to and can do with the house, structurally and aesthetically.

When looking at properties, consider the following:
  • The size of the lot
  • Closeness of neighbors
  • Slope/flatness of the land
  • Direction the plot faces (Where will the sun be?)
  • Natural surroundings (forest, field, water, etc.)
  • Trees (Remember – tall, old trees can’t just be planted)
  • The style of other houses in the neighborhood (if applicable)
  • Access to resources (Will you need a well? A septic tank? New power, phone, or cable hookups?)
  • Having a view versus privacy

Talk to a Professional! Although it is not necessary, having a professional such as an architect or contractor look at the property you are interested in may save you some headaches down the line by ensuring you can do what you want on that piece of land.

custom built

Once you find a lot you are interested in, research the property!

  • Find information on the zoning, wetlands, septic connections, energy code, etc. These all affect what you can do.
  • Is the lot in a heritage district? If so, there may be additional
    requirements or restrictions on how your home must look and what
    materials it must be built with.
  • Look into home values in the surrounding neighborhood. You may not want to build a $2 million house in a much less expensive area.
  • Speak to the neighbors. This is one of the best ways to find out if the area is a good fit for your family.
  • What is the school district? (if applicable)
laneway home

Part 2: Designing Your Custom Home

After have you have a budget and timeline in mind and have started looking at properties. The next step is to develop an architectural program. This is a statement of goals for your custom home. You should have this started before hiring an architect.

When making your architectural program, keep the following in mind:
  • Dream big, then scale back. This is your chance to make something uniquely yours. At the start – go big on ideas. As things move forward you can adjust these ideas to the budget, zoning, timeframe, land, and other realities.
  • Separate the “needs,” “wants,” “dreams,” and “don’t wants.”
  • Note which rooms are most important to you. In other words, what would you prioritize if it came down to it?
  • Rank your desired features in order of importance. Prices can vary greatly on custom homes, and this will help you make difficult choices later on.
  • Play the “what if” game. Prepare for the fact that some things may not go your way. Ask yourself: “What if XYZ happens?” What is your next
    choice /option?
  • Collect pictures of things you like (and don’t like). Websites like Pinterest and Houzz are great places to start. You can also collect
    clippings from magazines such as Home + Gardens and Architectural Digest.
  • Is there anything specific about your current home that simply doesn’t work for you?
home design

What size should your home be?

One of the first steps in designing a custom home is figuring out how much space you have to work with. Deciding how large your home should be is determined by a number of factors.

First, find out if there are any limitations on the height and/or square footage of your home. These may be based on zoning
restrictions, neighborhood ordinances, or perhaps the size and layout of your lot.

How many stories do you want? Are you looking for a single-story home? Two? Three or more? A split level? Do you want a basement? Consider at this stage if stairs are going to be a problem for you or any family members.

Finally, think about size in terms of rooms. Deciding what rooms you want will play a huge factor in determining the size (and layout) of your home.

To get started, consider the following:
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
  • Which of the following spaces do you need/want?
  • Formal and/or informal living spaces
  • Home office
  • Mudroom
  • Eat-in kitchen
  • Formal dining room
  • Children’s playroom
  • Media room
  • Dedicated laundry room
  • Home gym
  • Garage (if so
  • for how many cars?)
  • Basement and/or attic
  • In-law suite
  • Workshop
Nicons Enterprises - Custom house builder

Build your lifestyle into your home

Do you have any recreational activities to take into account? This is a custom home – so you can design it for your lifestyle! If you are an avid bike rider, you will want space for bike storage. If you are a musician, perhaps a soundproofed studio space. If you are an artist, you could build a custom studio space. Or if you are a woodworker, you can create the perfect workshop. Whether you are a surfer, skier, or artist, you can make your home work for you.

Other things to consider:
  • Do you need space to display art?
  • Do you want book storage? Do you want wall space for bookcases or built-ins?
  • Are you a musician? Consider a separate space for playing that can insulate sound.

Think about the layout

Once you know what rooms you want and how much space you have to work with, decide how you want everything put together. You have nearly unlimited layout options. How the rooms are arranged can affect traffic flow, privacy, and how guests and residents in the home interact.

Browse Floor plans It can be overwhelming to think about how to put together all the rooms you want. Start by looking at examples. This should help you determine what you do and do not like.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want an open interior layout? Or separate spaces?
  • Do you want separate formal and informal areas of the home (i.e. public v. private)?
  • For multi-story homes: What do you need on the first floor? What do you want on the second (or higher) floors?
  • How many entrances do you want? Do you want a private entry? Any rooms in particular in which you wish to have a doorway to outside?
  • How do you want the indoor and outdoor space of your home to interact? Should they flow into each other, or be completely separate?
custom home

Think about the arrangement of specific rooms:

  • Which rooms/spaces do you want near each other? Maybe you want the children’s playroom to be within earshot of the kitchen. Or does it make sense to have the laundry room near the bedrooms?
  • Are there any areas of the home you want more private/separate? Maybe the master suite should be separate from the other bedrooms, or on a different floor? Should your office or artist
    studio be in a quiet corner?
  • If creating an in-law suite, do you want it to be separate or integrated with the rest of the home?

What structural features do you want in each room?

Many rooms in a house have optional features that you need to decide whether or not you want during the design process. These aspects can affect the layout of your home. To get started, go through the following to determine what you do or do not want in different rooms of your custom home.

  • How much prep/counter space do you need?
  • Eat-in kitchen, or separate dining space?
  • Social space (to watch tv / hang out?
  • Work /homework space
  • Island or peninsula for food preparation or buffet
  • Separate/walk-in pantry
  • Prep sink and/or the main sink
  • Wet bar
  • Gas or electric stove/oven (This will affect what hookups you need)
  • Numerous closets? Walk-in closets?
  • Connected bathroom? (shared or private?)
  • Shower? Tub? Combined shower and tub? Jacuzzi tub?
  • One or two sinks? Separate vanities or together?
  • Linen closet?
  • Jack & Jill bathroom (connected to 2 bedrooms)?
Laundry room:
  • Should it be its own separate/dedicated space? Or combined with another room, such as a bathroom or mudroom?
  • Space for additional features? (folding counter/table, sink? Hanging rack?
Outdoor spaces:
  • Do you want a patio? Deck? Screened in porch? Convertible indoor/outdoor space? Balconies? Courtyard?

Determine your design and style preferences

Start by thinking broadly about style. It is important to consider this early in the process, as it may be best to hire an architect who specializes in that specific style. Is there a particular theme and/or architectural style you are drawn to? If so, what elements of that style do you particularly like? When looking at different styles, also consider if they fit your climate/location/neighborhood.

Ask yourself the following:

I. What kind of accents do you want in the home?
II. Any specific materials you want to include?
III. What color palette do you want to use?
IV. Kitchen: cabinets, flooring, appliances, countertops, finishings…)

When thinking about the general architectural style for your custom home, consider the following:
  • Ceilings: Do you want taller ceilings? If yes, everywhere, or just in some spaces?
  • Hallways: Desired width? Do you want as few as possible or many?
  • Stairways: One flight or more? Do you want a private staircase in the back of the house?
  • Windows: What kind? A lot or a few? Skylights? Bay windows? Wide windowsills?
  • Wall space: Do you want a lot of open wall space, perhaps to display art?
  • Lighting (indoor and outdoor): Recessed lights? Sconces?
  • Chandeliers? Look at some of the lighting options at the Home Depot to get inspired.
  • Roof: Flat, pitched, asymmetric gable, multiple gables, curved? You can browse styles on websites such as The Roofing Calculator
  • Exterior: What kind of siding do you want? Browse options at Better Home & Gardens.
  • Do you need limited mobility access?
  • Safety considerations: Do you live in an area prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes? Ask your builder how to take these into
    consideration with design and materials.
custom home

Special Features

There is an infinite number of additional features that can be built into your custom home.

Do you want any of these?
  • Fireplaces (gas or wood? More than one? (which rooms?)
  • Media room
  • Central sound system
  • Heated floors
  • Central vacuum system
  • Pool and/or jacuzzi (indoor or outdoor?)

Part 3: Putting Together Your Team & Build

Based on our work experience and our team, at Nicons Enterprises Ltd, we created a very clear and transparent step plan, to give you the possibility to assist the process and to be informed at every level of the construction process, to feel and see the progress of building your dream home

Step 1 – Let’s know each other

We will provide an initial free consultation, a meeting in person that will give us the possibility to know each other. We will take our time to listen to you, to all the ideas, details that you have, your requirements and we will love to introduce ourself to you and -we will invite you to see couple job sites that are similar with your scope of work, introducing you to the existing clients to make you feel confident with your choice.

Step 2 – Planning

We will assess your particular situation, existing conditions, your requirements, and provide you with a detailed proposal for your project, including aspects of the construction process, timelines, and financial budget. Signing a pre-commitment contract stipulating the total cost of the project and timeline.

Step 3 – Design

We will involve our Architect/designer team to provide you with a concept plan/drawings for your home. We will take our time to discuss with you every aspect of the design and finishing, make the changes as per your requirements, provide you a 3D sample to make you happy with the final product, final drawings.

Step 4 – Contract

We will present you with the final architectural, structural, and landscaping drawings as per your acceptance, we will provide you a detailed contract that will stipulate all the details of the construction process, materials, finishing, budget, schedule, timeline, etc.

Step 5 – Permits

We will start with a site survey, dealing with the City coordination for permits, arborist report, energy advisor, BC Hydro, BC Gas, 2-5-10 National Home Warranty, BC Housing/HPO, dealing with the subtrades involved in the building process

Step 6 – Construction

We will supply all the materials and perform all the work for the construction of the home in accordance with plans and constructions specification, schedule and supervise the subtrades, dealing with inspections, provide you periodic financial and budget reports, schedule performance, coordinate the suppliers.

Step 7 – Finishing /possession day

We will schedule a site visit to have a walk thrum with you to make sure we will fix any deficiency that may find, provide you with the final building inspection approved, the certification for the 2-5-10 Home warranty, explain the set up of appliances, lights, timers, heating, and air conditioning, provide you with home blinder -with all the information of the materials used, contractors, suppliers, and maintenance advice. We will make sure the site is spot clean and all materials have been removed and we will provide a discloser stipulating that all the suppliers and subcontractors involved in the building process have been paid in full.

Contact us to get started. Call us at 778-987-8555 today to get a perfect custom home for you and your family!