20-step guide to build your sustainable home using our New House Plans

Keen to purchase and build one of our New House Plans, but not sure where to start? This 20-step guide sets out the roadmap to get you from dreaming about your new smaller, smarter, sustainable home to moving in day.

Here at MDC Architects, we know that not everyone wants to – or can afford to – build a customised architect-designed home.

That’s why we created a series of New House Plans for homeowners who value small, smart and sustainable design, and who aim to reduce their impact on the planet, lower their energy bills, and enjoy comfortable and healthy living all year round.

Our plans are available in 3-bedroom versions – in Short, Long and Tall configurations, to suit your block size – and a 4-bedroom Tall option, if you need a to accommodate more people.

Courtyard of MDC Architect's new house plan home

So how do you actually build your New House Plan on your intended site?

This 20-step guide provides a roadmap to take you from dreaming of your new home to moving-in day.

  1. First, determine the location of your new home – our plans are designed for infill and sub-divided blocks with a minimum lot size of approximately 320m2 to 350m2, and they are ideally suited to sites within 20km of the CBD.
  2. Choose the best plan for your site and family – we offer 3-bedrooms in Tall House, Long House and Short House configurations, or a 4-bed Tall House (You can see the various options here and you can ask us for help to select the best plan for your site according to size, orientation and context).
  3. Find and engage a builder – our plans can be constructed by most WA builders because they use industry standard construction techniques including double brick walls and timber frame/metal roofs. We’re also planning to add new versions with timber-framing in 2024, so send us an email [mail to: INFO@MDCARCHITECTS.COM.AU ] if you’d like to know when those are ready for purchase).
  4. Choose the plan package that best suits your needs:
    • Package A gives you everything you need to contact a builder, price the job and sign up with them on the basis that there are no site complexities.*
      * Your builder can prepare your site plans and co-ordinate the relevant lodgement documents for local government under a Compliant Development Pathway;
    • Package B contains editable plans files for your builder to make alterations or amendments to suit your needs. Package B also streamlines the process for the builder / draftsperson to prepare the documentation for local government, for a CDC or DA application. And it includes a Bill of Quantities to help your builder quantify construction materials and cost your project.
  5. Give the plans to your builder or draftsperson to modify if required, so they can prepare drawings and costings for your site. Your builder or draftsperson will also put together your Development Application submission package.
  6. Once you’ve determined any required changes and specific siting conditions, you’re ready to submit your DA package for planning approval, to your local government or development authority.
  7. While you wait to receive your planning approval, work with your builder or draftsperson to select your construction materials, fixtures and finishes, using the supplied Schedule of Materials, Fixtures and Finishes for overall quantities.
  8. Consider whether you’d like to add any sustainability “bells and whistles” to your building contract, such as water tanks, greywater recycling systems, photovoltaic panels, heat pumps, batteries for renewable energy storage, etc.
  9. Then, while you’re still waiting for planning approval, your builder or draftsperson can send your plans to your engineer for final sign off, and to the energy assessor to prepare your energy efficiency report.
  10. Obtain your Certificate of Design Compliance from your independent certifier (your final consultant).
  11. Sign the construction contract with your builder (if you haven’t already done that) so they can obtain their relevant insurances, and submit a documentation package to your local government or approval authority for a building permit.
  12. Once you have your planning approval and building permit, you’re ready to commence construction on-site. The builder takes ownership of the site under the contract at this point, and they can advise what you need to do to prepare for this step.
  13. The build takes place on site. As a general guide, a single storey home will probably take about 9 months to build, and a two-storey plan will take approximately 12 months (these estimates are dependent on many factors including site location, availability of trades, and material supplies).
  14. The moment you’ve been waiting for arrives! Once the build is complete, get your occupancy certificate and the keys to your new home.
  15. Move-in day: book your removalist and arrange to have your furniture and belongings delivered. Your hard work and dedication to the process has paid off.
  16. Enjoy your new home. As you furnish your home, hang your artworks, and work out how to use the rooms and storage to streamline your life, you’ll start to appreciate the value of smaller, smarter and more sustainable design, and all of the ways it can positively transform your life.
  17. Don’t forget your house requires your input and involvement to perform at its best. Depending on the season, the weather on any given day, and your comfort preferences, you’ll need to open and close windows to let prevailing breezes through and purge heat that’s built up during the day. You can also temporarily shade windows with outdoor and indoor systems to block the hottest rays of summer sun, and conversely remove the shading in winter to let the sun in to passively warm your interiors.
  18. Over time, you’ll be able to track your electricity usage – from renewable and grid sources – to monitor how your high-performance, spatially-efficient and energy-saving home delivers lower bills, better year-round comfort and connects you with the generous gardens and changing seasons.
  19. Tell all your friends and family about the process of building your MDC Architects New House Plan, so they can enjoy the benefits of sustainable and affordable good design, too.
  20. Complete our client questionnaire if you’d like us to make a case study about your home, to help us spread the word and positively impact people, places and planet through better design.

If you can see yourself and your family living in one of our New House Plans and you’re ready to bring your dream to life, get started by choosing and purchasing your New House Plans here.

The exterior and garden of MDC Archictects' Tall House 4 New House Plan