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Understanding Your Builder’s Home Design Processes

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As a customer begins their new home building journey, their experience will be heavily influenced by the Home Design Process the builder uses.

In homebuilding, there are three general types of home design[1] processes: production, semi-custom, and custom design/build. These processes are the core of a homebuilder’s business model and impact the manner in which every customer will interact with the company. If you are thinking of building a new home, it is advantageous for you to understand each of the three design process.

  1. Production Home Design

In production homebuilding, the builder has a library of plans from which the customer selects a home design. Once selected, the home design is set; the customer cannot make changes to it. Additionally, each home design will have “standard” set of home finishes (such as options for different elevations[2], interior paint, hardwood floors or carpet, cabinetry, etc.) that are provided by the builder The customer will then “customize” their selected plan amongst the finish options provided by the builder. This type of home design process is most often used by large volume builders in the low-to-mid price points of a given market.

  1. Semi-Custom Home Design

In semi-custom homebuilding, the customer selects a home design from a library of plans provided by the builder. Once selected, the builder provides the customer with the option of making changes to the home design, including both the floor plan and the engineering elements. The variation in the plans allowed by the builder varies; some will accept a wide range of variations and other will be more restricted. When making changes, the customer will sit down with the builder and the builder’s home designer or architect and modify the plan to suit their needs. Once the floor plans and associated engineering elements have been finalized, the customer will then move on to modifying the finishes of the house. Similar to the Production builder, most semi-custom home builders will provide a list of “standard” finishes and fixtures for the home. The customer can then modify the finishes based on the builder’s established options or the customer can request special finishes from the builder. Low and mid volume builders across many price points often use a semi-custom home design process, but a customer can find this process at any volume or price point depending on the individual builder.

  1. Custom Design/Build

In custom design/build homebuilding, the customer works with a design team[3] to design a home with a floorplan, engineering elements, and finish elements that are unique that individual client. The process starts with an initial meeting in which the customer and the design team discuss the client’s desired home size, the orientation of the residence on the land, floorplan and room layout, and any architectural elements that the customer would like to have included in the plan. The client can bring pictures and generic floorplans and other artifacts of inspiration. After the initial meeting, the designer/architect will take all the inputs and put together an initial home design. Once the initial plan has been established, the design team will meet regularly to iterate the plans and to critically consider each plan element (to include the desired budget) and make sure that it works for the client’s desires, family members, budget, and lifestyle. The home’s finishes are developed in the same manner – as collaborative process that considers the client’s desires in combination with the budget as well as best practices for construction. In this scenario, the builder may have a “standard” set of finishes or they may provide the client with a proposed set of finishes at the beginning of the finish discussion. In either case, the final selection of finishes will be custom and uniquely tailored to the individual client. The custom design/build approach to home design is usually used by low volume builders at the upper end of the market’s price range.

The builder’s home design process[4] is a keystone element of the customer’s homebuilding experience and every client should understand the process of the builder with whom they choose to work. Customers are encouraged to call Tuscany Homes with additional questions – we will be happy to help educate you on building a new home.

Tuscany Homes is the premier custom design build homebuilder in central Colorado. You can find our custom homes in the premier neighborhoods of Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, Castle Rock, and Denver. Copyright 2015 ©.

[1] For the purposes of this discussion, home design includes the floor plan and its associated engineering elements, to include the roof, walls, and foundation elements.

[2] Elevations are the exterior elements and views of the home.

[3] The design team consists of some combination of architect, home designer, builder, and customer. At Tuscany Homes, we work with a design team that consists of: a) Stan Campbell, Tuscany Homes’ founder and award winning builder, b) one of our award winning architects, and c) the customer and their family’s input.

[4] The processes introduced above are generally true, but specifics can vary amongst individual builders.

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