Riva Homes - Building trust

What I Learned from Project
Managing and Building My Own Home.

Tiffany agrees to share her build mistakes and lessons so you can avoid them.
When our Customer Relationships Manager Tiffany and her partner set about building their dream home, they thought they knew exactly what they wanted. But building is a dynamic process, and no matter how well organised you are, there are always surprises – and lots to learn. As the building of their home has gone on, Tiffany has had to change some of her ideas. “The experience of building has taught us a lot – and made us think about what we’d do differently next time”, says Tiffany. “I’m happy to share my experiences, to help others get the home they want without making costly mistakes”.

Think carefully about the position for your home
Most people want all day sun, so they position their home to be north-facing. But the view you’ll get is equally important. You may need to compromise. “I decided to face north-west to maximise the beautiful view too – and I definitely don’t regret this decision. To me, being able to see the sunset from my living room is wonderful”. Tiffany is also grateful that her partner insisted on marking their home out on the section, using dazzle and string lines, before they finalized the design. “Doing this made us see clearly that an extra window that was missing. Without that window, we’d miss out on that view, as well as extra light into the room”.

Check whether your roof and downpipes will be seen
Tiffany’s home has a mono pitch roof, and she was set on having a black roof and copper downpipes to complement the black ply and cedar cladding. But she found that both the roof and the downpipes couldn’t be seen unless you hang out at the back of the house­ – so the expense wasn’t worth it. “So I’m left with a black roof that will get extremely hot in summer and no copper downpipes – we changed them at the last minute to black coloursteel”.


Careful that your need for privacy doesn’t limit your light
Like many people, Tiffany wanted privacy in the bathroom. She splurged on a privacy glass (Etchlite Obscure), so no one can see in and no one can see out…but she also tinted every single window in the house. “The bathrooms now have limited natural light”, she sighs. “On the plus side though, I don’t need to invest in blinds!”

Think about your shower waste
Like many people, Tiffany wanted a tiled shower, with full size tiles flowing from the floor of the bathroom, into the shower and up the wall in one nice straight line. But she had to think again, because she hadn’t asked for a trough waste to be located at one end of the shower. Without that, she was left with a centre waste.  That means the tiles had to be cut up to suit the fall of the shower base in to the waste, as the photo shows. Other options you can choose for your shower include a mitred recessed shelf (the most expensive option), a recessed shelf with a trim or a standard glass shelf.

Decide in advance where you’ll place your beds
Tiffany now sees she didn’t think enough about where she wanted to put the beds, in relation to where the windows would go. “I have one room where I have a high window on one side and a low window on the other. It’s not very common to put a bed under a low window, so I have been restricted as to where to place my bed. That also affected where to put power points­—they need to be near the beds”. Tiffany also realised too late that a high window is on the side of the house that has a great view. “Why I didn’t switch those two over, I will never know!”.

How do your doors open?
Tiffany wishes that she’d checked that her home’s interior doors didn’t open directly onto wardrobe doors. She didn’t – and has less access to the wardrobe as a result. “Luckily for me, I’m using robemasters, but to get to one side of the wardrobe in one of my rooms, I have to shut myself inside the room first!”. Tiffany and Dan also learned not to fix heavy items (such as TVs or heated towel rails) on to a cavity slider.  The bathroom design can’t work with something being fixed to these walls.

Get your fire installed before you gib
If you are using a gas fireplace, make sure you get it installed before the gib is put on. Tiffany learned from experience that it will only cause more stress if you leave it to a later date.

You may need a range-hood extension
If you plan a mono pitch roof, like Tiffany has, and have your kitchen in the middle of it, you’ll need to allow for a range-hood extension piece. She learned that a standard range-hood can simply not reach the roof. You can either chose a pre- manufactured extension (though you’ll see the joins) or you can get one custom made. For Tiffany, this was the best option. “Not too expensive, and worth considering”, she says.

Some things to check that you have allowed for in your budget
These are some costs Tiffany forgot to add into her budget;
– Engineers Inspections
– Blinds/curtains
– Water and power used during construction
– A 10{5ebcd9591d63c35a83a89684e3cdf6c3fd9c9c2c15170a683620a50c9aeefdf7} contingency fund for when those unplanned costs arise!

Weigh up how much you can realistically do (owner care)
It sounded like a good idea at the time to do a lot of the work themselves, and hopefully to save some money. But Tiffany realised that she and her partner paid dearly in time and energy. “We have spent many weekends working on the house, and missed out on too many fun activities as we spent time painting the exterior cladding (photo below). I have learnt a lot during the process, but am looking forward to having my life back too!”