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  1. Listening skills.

Architects need to listen carefully to the wants and needs of clients, since this will be the basis upon which the project will be developed.  A project is never really complete unless the customer is satisfied.

 

  1. Communication skills.

Architects must have excellent communication skills and be able to discuss with clients, builders, suppliers etc in a way that all parties’ needs and wants are clearly understood.  The importance of precise and effective communication cannot be greater emphasized.

 

  1. Ability to solve problems.

Clients rely on the architect’s ability to think outside the box for creative solutions to problems as soon as they arise or even before they arise. A great architect has sharp problem solving skills.

 

  1. Excellent Design skills.

Architects themselves are trained to have an eye for good designs and a mind full of creative and aesthetically pleasing designs.  Architectural designs ought to cover both beauty and functionality.

 

  1. Expertise throughout the process.

An architect should be capable of efficiently producing the fundamental aspects of a design including Conceptual and Schematic Design, and Design Development.

 

  1. Understanding building codes and other safety issues.

In addition to the architect’s design and technical knowledge, they should keep abreast of local building codes and safety regulations.

 

  1. Product knowledge and recommendations.

Another thing that good architects should have is a sound knowledge of products and materials.  New products are on the market every day – from countertops, to deck surfaces to energy efficient equipment. Architects should be up to date with these changes so that they can properly advise clients on available products and most suitable materials, and possibly their prices and sources.

 

  1. Team spirit and co-operation.

The successful completion of any project is dependent on the co-operation of team members.  The better the relationship between the people who make up the team the more likely it is for the project to go smoothly.

 

  1. Education, experience and credentials.

Your architect should be a licensed architect and should be willing and able to provide a list (long or short) of satisfied clients.

 

 

  1. Passion for the profession.

The best architectural designs come from architects who are passionate and enamored about their work. This is almost always reflected in the quality of their designs.

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  1. Give considerable thought to the individual or business you will hire to perform your construction or related projects. Pay particular attention to contractors offering their services at a considerably lower price – while you may save a few dollars at the time, you may end up paying a lot more over the life of the service or product.

 

  1. Talk to more than one specialist, this will allow you to develop a better understanding of the process. Knowledge gives power to negotiate.

 

  1. If you know you need to renovate or extend your building, don’t wait until the problem gets worst to get estimates and select a contractor e.g.if you know you need a new roof then don’t wait until you have water coming in from your second floor ceiling.

 

  1. Do a bit of research. If you have a friend who is more knowledgeable than yourself, invite them to take a look.  This allows you to give the contractor more specific information or details about the problem.

 

  1. Past clients or projects are a great way to learn about contractors and their capability. So go ahead and ask a neighbor or a friend for recommendations, look for completed jobs in the neighborhood. Now-a-days it’s all out there on the internet, check business websites to see their profile of completed jobs.

 

  1. Yes I am part of a company that provides construction services but I will still go ahead and say it – negotiate fiercely and make it clear to the contractor that you are looking for the best quality job at the best possible price. Remember, you are in charge and it’s your project and money so demand a great end product/service at a great price. It’s not always true that you have to pay ridiculous prices for great work but it is expected that the best quality work will come at a bit higher cost.

 

  1. Obtain and review at least three written estimates to compare what a job should cost. Once this is done, you’ll have a sense of which contractor to use.  Meet with the contractor again, at this point discuss any other qualms you may have with his estimate.

 

  1. Of course get everything in writing.

 

  1. After selecting a contractor, stay close to them; check the work and ask questions. A good contractor would know to keep the customer updated with work progress by submitting reports at agreed intervals and will seek permission before making any deviations from the original plans.

 

  1. If at the end of the project the contractor has done a great job ask for some business cards and pass around to friends and family.
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Canadian architect, Etienne Gaboury, once said, “Architecture is space structured to serve man & to move him.” “To serve man” implies that architectural design creates a useful living space, while “to move him,” refers to the art of the design, which makes a particular building unique, colorful, and worthy of living inside.

A trained architect will take a client’s wish & analyze it in conjunction with their needs, lifestyle & their long term plans.  Careful consideration of a family’s future size & goals will yield positive results when designing a home.

Throughout the process the architect may offer the family constructive choices which may save them money in the long run ultimately helping to offset the architectural fees.

Often time home owners and builders believe it will be cheaper to draw up their own plans but the cost of inefficient floor plan layout can be very serious.

Architects may ease the stress involved in the construction process by acting as project managers & construction supervisors and some may even take it a step further, like we do at Millenia LDC, and take on the construction project.

When you consider building your home, consult an architect about the benefits you can gain from using his service.  The consultation most likely will be free and it will definitely be valuable to you.

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We learned at school that one of our basic needs is shelter.  When we reach adulthood, it becomes important to have a home we can call our own or necessary to provide shelter to our own family.  At some point in our lives, each of us gets to choose the type of home we live in.  We may have to choose a rental, buy a home or build. Those who choose to build a house may opt to design and build to just satisfy their basic needs while others design based on their personal desires.  Whichever reason you decide to build, the floor plan of the home that you choose will have a great effect on whether you will live comfortably and have made the most economical decisions.

 

Factors such as your budget and family lifestyle can be used to guide your decision when choosing the right plan for you and your family.  Your monthly commitments, terms of your financial institution and your savings will have a great effect on the home you will choose to build.  This will determine whether you are building to satisfy basic needs or whether you are going for the dream home.

 

Do you entertain a lot of persons or are you the kind who spends a lot of time in the outdoors?  Think of your site and how the house will fit on it.  What sort of landscaping you would like to have? Are you the one to call friends or neighbours and strike the grill?  The extra space your land provides can be used for fun activities or simply relaxing.  You may want to plan your house layout to complement your outdoor space or vice versa.

 

Once you have made the decision to build a home, the need to spend money wisely becomes increasingly important.  Asking yourself these questions and more, giving some thought to your housing needs or wants, will take you a long way in deciding which house plan is best for you.

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Is your business in a tug of war with the struggling economy?  Are you yearning for an increase in business traffic?  What about your plans to expand the business; is that on hold? Maybe it’s time to move on to the next best alternative – remodel your store/office?

 

Remodeling efforts are increasing as business owners’ increase their efforts to outshine the competitors and improve their capital investments.  We are seeing it happening, businesses are making the move, they are improving their businesses, they are changing faces, some are even rebranding.  Just a few years ago the Fort Young Hotel, one of Dominica’s most renowned and famous hotels, remodeled their building which improved the visual appeal of some of its public areas.  We also saw the refashion of National bank of Dominica Ltd and we embrace the new look and feel.

 

Keep in mind, renovations doesn’t have to be grand. Sometimes the minor changes can catch shoppers’ attention, but you would like to maximize your potential so probably you shouldn’t hold back on the remodel.

 

If your business has been in existence for some time now and more so has been in the same location, now may be the time to brighten up the doorway.  Invite new customers with your fresh look and entice existing customers to enter to see what’s new.  That in itself is marketing for the business.

 

For some businesses remodeling is not even an option, you have been leading in the battle with the economy but you have a new micro struggle and that is space.  Your door is always clogged with customers; your reception area can barely hold waiting clients and you have no more storage space for new items in demand.  Sometimes business growth demands extra space.  Customer satisfaction and by extension customer experience may also demand some extra space.  Your business is going well? Expand. Build a larger store/office.

 

Competition may not be the reason why you may need to renovate; perhaps you’re not even reaching full potential but wear and tear, or a disaster demands renovation.  This is an opportunity to deal with existing issues with the current design and layout.  Is everything in the most strategic location?

 

Women spend quite some time in the salon or at the beauty parlor; some stores have taken advantage of this and have remodeled to include a food department.  We can well imagine how this can make existing customers happy or draw new ones in.

 

One thing to note however is that although renovations may increase sales and rekindle customers interest, it is also essential to examine other aspects of the business, like product range, prices, staff/management relationships and customer service, they too may need to be remodeled.

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The most difficult part of moving to Dominica can be accomodation. If you are in England (or America) and you want to build your home in Dominica, in the past you could send money for relatives who would oversee the process for you (God willing).

Now, it isn’t that simple. To build your home in Dominica the very first thing you will need is an architect and plans drawn up.

Today, I took a look at something that will make the whole process of creating plans easier.

Millenia LDC – the company who provide me with the properties for sale/rent on this blog – have come up with a really innovative way for you to build your home by providing pre-designed residential plans.

They have pre-designed a number of different house plans that you can purchase and then add minor modifications to, to suit your own needs.

Along with the drawn up plans you can also get a cost estimate that includes a list of everything you need. Quantity, quality, dimensions – everything – so you have a good idea of what your final costs will be.

If you have been thinking about the best way to build your home in Dominica and you don’t have a particular design in mind these pre-designed plans might be great for you.

Some of the properties included in these pre-designed plans are:

Saraca – A 2-bedroom, 1.5 baths home with a large open living, dining and kitchen area. This is a single storey bungalow type property. It covers 986 sq ft of living space and 205 sq ft of covered porch. Click the image to see a larger version

Chataignier – Also a single story two bedroom plan with an ensuite master bedroom

Campeche – This is a family home plan. 3 bedrooms, walk in closet and a private deck.

Almond – Another 2-bedroom pre-designed plan but this one is on two floors. The lower level features a studio apartment so great if you are looking to rent out space

Apricot – The largest pre-designed plan I looked at out of them all. A house built on three levels and particularly good if you own land with sloped terrain. Below is a drawing of what the kitchen area will look like.

 

There are pre-designed plans of all shapes and sizes. You can take a look at what your finished home will look like without having to worry about actually coming up with plans yourself.

If you are looking to build your home in Dominica. You have your land and you are ready to get started click here to get in touch and I will be able to introduce you to the talented company who can show you more plans.

Things have definitely come a long way in terms of being able to buy some land and set up home in the Caribbean.

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Renovations and additions can improve the comfort and functionality of your home as well as increase its value.  Renovation may be very simple in the sense that the only activity it involves is replacing existing materials like windows, doors, cupboards etc.  Larger renovation projects may need a great deal of consideration and planning especially if it’s an addition to an existing building.

 

If you are planning on expanding your home please ponder on these:

 

Purpose – The reason for the renovation is a good place to start planning.  Your decision to add to your home may stem from reasons like family growth, increase in disposable income, the need for a more comfortable living space etc.  These reasons will affect things like material choice, style and size.

 

Location – Just as location is important for new buildings, it is important when adding to an existing building especially as utilities are already well placed.  Choose the location that’s most convenient for the purpose.  Enhance the environmental quality of the building by taking advantage of and considering a beautiful view, use of yard space, the flow between the current sections of the house to the addition as well as making use of natural ventilation and lighting.  These aspects are a few that could contribute to your decision.  The extent of the renovation may warrant involvement by the local planning authority.

 

Size – The larger the square footage of the addition the higher the cost of construction.  The reason for the addition and the amount of money available helps determine size.  The purpose also helps determine type of materials to be used.  E.g. a large increase in disposable income could encourage a luxurious finish.

 

Appeal – No one wants their addition to look like a misplaced ornament.  Although additions don’t allow expression of creativity and personal taste as designing a new home would, it could be seen as a pattern to follow.  So if your house has frosted white windows and oversized doors for example you would want to match that.  If it is difficult to obtain those items for any reason then you could simply match the colour and the interior layout. If budget permits, change all windows and doors to create a more cohesive look.  Try as much as possible to maintain one general look on the exterior.

 

Plan and budget – Develop a general idea of the amount of money you want to and can spend on this project.  Once you know how much money is available compare it to your plan.  Comparing renovation plans to budgeted funds allows you to weed out any part of the renovation that is not compulsory or necessary at this time or increase the scope of the project.

 

A lot of components come into play when adding to your home and you may want to avoid costly or dangerous mistakes.  If you intend to renovate or remodel in the New Year now would be a good time to start planning.  If the remodel or renovation is planned for the Christmas, consult a professional before jumping in!

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The decision of whether to buy a home or to build a home is one faced by many individuals.  Being involved in the real estate component of our businesses, we come across many people looking to buy a home, most with the justification that it will be much more convenient to buy the house and move in immediately, avoiding the construction process and period.  On the other hand, we have the privilege of witnessing our architects serving clients who are adamant that building their home is the best way to go.  Today we share with you five (5) common rationales from our clients as to why you should chose to design and build your own home.

 

  1. You get your dream home

The biggest advantage is that you can build your dream home or something very close to it. When you are searching for a home, it is often impossible to find one that has everything you desire, you most likely have to make compromises.  When building your own home, there will be far fewer, if any compromises to be made. You have a lot more control over the design and function of your home.

 

  1. Your home will be brand new

When you work with design and building companies, they will build you a beautiful brand new home. Whereas, when you buy an existing home, you may find that it has not been treated with care by its previous owners or that it has alterations that are not pleasing to you. A new home is a blank canvas with which you can do whatever you want.

 

  1. New homes are more efficient

Any property built these days must adhere to the current efficiency standards. These standards cover elements such as heating, cooling and ventilation, and many others which results in more efficient and stronger homes being built.  Not only does it lead to comfortable living conditions but it can also be an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to live.

 

  1. Choice of materials

With the increase in availability of different types of building material including environmentally friendly material you get to choose your building materials.  Most new homes are designed to use more environmentally friendly materials and energy efficient systems to create a home that is far more sustainable.

 

  1. Government Fees

The government fees payable by a buyer on a typical property transfer is 7.5% of the sale price or value, whichever is greater.  You can buy land and pay associated fees on it then build, avoiding payment of government fees and often lawyer fees on land plus house price or value.

 

If finding that perfect home has proven to be difficult so far, why not consider having it built?

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Designing and building a home, office or investment property can be particularly complicated.  Each task entails exceptional skills and disciplines in order to get the job done perfectly.  If you are planning a home extension, conversion or are building a new property, it is more than likely that you will need the assistance of an architect. Therefore here are a few reasons why hiring an architect is important.

 

  • An architect works with you on an intensive examination of your requirements, to help you accomplish your vision. He will help you characterize and create what you want to build, as well as present options you may never have considered.

 

  • An architect will help you set a practical and rational budget, and help guide you through the planning process. They design in accordance with set standards and provide assistance in obtain permission from the necessary authority, in Dominica, Physical Planning Division.

 

  • They are knowledgeable about building materials and practices and are also familiar with new building technologies and materials, and their application, to create efficient buildings that are airy, comfortable and stylish.

 

  • An architect knows how to plan rationally for best environmental performance, they can give advice about placing the building on the site to enhance views and features, to catch the sun, provide shade, promote natural cross-flow ventilation, reduce and conserve energy.

 

  • Architects produce outstanding solutions to often complex residential and commercial needs. Creative thinking, attention to detail and functional performance underpin everything an architect does.

 

  • An architect manages the construction phase and all the work if necessary. They manage consultants like surveyors. Critically, your architect will inspect the work right through the construction period to facilitate you in getting the quality and level of finishes you deserve.
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Anyone looking to buy a home knows that it is all about compromise. You may find a good home, but the kitchen is smaller than you want. Or the price is within your budget, but the layout is nowhere close to what you are looking for. If you have searched tirelessly and simply cannot find the right home, you may need to have the perfect home constructed. One of the most common questions we get asked is, how long will constructing a home take?

 

While experts believe that it takes somewhere between 5 months and a year to build a residential building from scratch, there are a lot of variables that can affect the construction timeline to be considered, the biggest of which are:-

  • The number of efficient workers on the job each day – the timeline in which your home is completed heavily depends on the amount of individuals working on the construction site. For instance, if you have a large crew more work can be accomplished in a shorter period of time compared to having a small group of construction workers.

 

  • Type of materials – the materials you choose can also impact your construction timeline. Based on the home you want built, whether it be made of concrete, brick, wood, or a combination of the above mentioned, the time taken to complete will vary. Also whether you desire a concreted roof, galvanized roof, or a tiled roof can affect the timeline.

 

  • Arrival of materials – one holdup that can be out of your contractor’s hands is the arrival/availability of materials. It is beyond the control of anyone except the company providing the construction materials as to when they will be available. Not having the necessary items when needed can cause your construction project to get off track.

 

  • The state, location and accessibility of the lot – in instances where there may be an existing building in need of being demolished or the ground where you want to build is in bad shape or steep more time will be added to the duration of the construction project. If the land is located in an area with poor access, transportation of materials can be difficult and result in work being slower.

 

  • The weather – weather is probably one of the most common factors that can delay construction, especially at the beginning of the job, before the roof is complete. Constant rainfall as well as many other acts of nature can delay your progress. Once you have the walls and roof finished, bad weather isn’t as much of a concern.

What is most important is that you find a contractor or construction firm who you can trust and who communicates with you every step of the way. You need to trust that you are being given a reasonable time estimate. If something feels like it is taking too long, ask your contractor about it. There could be a good reason, but you will not know unless you ask.

Have you experienced the home building process? Are you a contractor yourself? What are your thoughts on the variables shared? Did you experience another factor that affected the timeline of your construction project? Share with us in the comments below.

If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at info@millenia.dm.

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