House Plan Design in Victoria BC
March 20, 2012
House Plan Design in Victoria, BC
Part 3 of 3
You’ve made the commitment to build your dream custom home. You’ve found a great location,
allowed yourself enough time and hired Step One Design to assist you through the process.
Here is a checklist of what will be required:
In order to begin the design process you will need a survey, prepared by a registered land
surveyor. This plan will provide the designer with lot dimensions, and topography to design a
home that fits within the municipal bylaws and surroundings. Engage your surveyor once you
have purchased the property. If you do not have a surveyor, Step One Design can recommend
one that will fit your project.
Preliminary drawings would be the next step. These are a collection of drawings completed solely
for your benefit. They are to allow you to approve of your custom home design. Revisions are
always part of this process, to allow you to be totally happy with the design before moving to
construction drawings. Again take your time, and carefully consider what has been put before
This recalls my previous comment of, no regrets. I always make it a point of allow my clients to
change their minds, and offer absolutely no roadblocks to resist changing the plans. This is a
process where you should feel in control at every step. In the end it’s your home. Don’t be afraid
to insist everything is exactly how you want it.
Once you have approved the preliminary design, we move onto what we call working drawings, or
construction documents. These are the building plans for building permit submission, tendering,
and construction. The drawings should be highly comprehensive, and provide enough detail for
all three phases. Again, we always allow our clients every opportunity to further review the plans,
and make those final tweaks. You may change you mind on certain things, and you are entitled.
The goal is to get the plan to as close to perfect as possible, so you are not having to explain
things on site to your contractor during construction. A good contractor should also be willing to
make a slight revision too, but the plan should reflect exactly what you want to build. This will
limit extra change orders during the house build. This is where you may wish to hire an interior
designer to work more indepth with you if some of your “wish list” items include customizing
details that you wish to provide to your contractor. At Step One Design, we can offer “design
packages”, where both our building designer and interior designer can work together for a unified
Once the drawings are completed, you are ready for a building permit submission. Your designer
and contractor can assist with the application. Approval times vary between municipalities, this is
where the 4-6 month lead time is crucial, some building departments can take up to a month or
more to approve a building permit application.
Once approved, construction can commence and you will move through your various inspections.
Which are typically concrete forms, foundation, framing, insulation, with electrical, and plumbing
thrown in, and then onto your final inspection for final occupancy. Engineering is required in some
municipalities, and final survey documentation as well. Your designer can advise there too, on
engaging additional consultants.
Some experienced homeowners choose to manage their own build, but if that is not your own
forteí, than nothing beats a reputable licensed builder. There are many out there, find one that
suits you. A good source is the Victoria chapter of the Canadian Homebuilders Association, find
them on the web, go the link on our site.
If you have further questions, please give Step One Design a call at 778-433-1434 or email at