If you are one of a number of people who dream of having their own vacation cottage, one of your first concerns will be how your cottage will look like. You would probably search for ideas among many available Muskoka cottage designs that you can find in catalogs as well as in the internet. After all, there are many builders and architects who sell off the shelf Muskoka cottage designs online. But there are more aspects you need to consider when you finally decide to put your dream vacation home on paper.
First thing is the location. If you have secured a plot of land where you want your vacation home to be built, make sure the builders or architects you make inquiries with know where it is. It would also be helpful to show them a map showing the location and the size of the plot. That way seasoned architects and builders can advise you if any aspect of your dream home should fail to meet local and national building codes. Professional architects and engineers will also be aware of zoning regulations they need to follow when drafting your cottage in the woods.
If you want have your Muskoka cottage plan developed from scratch, you will have to provide the designers as much information as possible about the features that you want. It is their job to point out anything that would fail building codes or result in excessively high building costs. The final plan should be as close to your requirements as possible while meeting building regulations and practical sense.
If find an off the shelf Muskoka cottage plan which meet your requirements, you should get an assurance in writing that the design meets or exceeds the requirements of the Ontario Building Code as promulgated by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The advantages of using readymade designs are that they are cheaper than custom-made designs and most likely already used in existing structures. There are some architectural companies which allow customization of portions of an existing design at an additional cost.
While you are shopping around for designs, you may want to consider asking for construction estimates. Many builders use standard costing per square foot depending upon the type of structure and the location of the construction site. This will help rationalize the features of your dream vacation cottage so it still meets your available budget. But always allow a reserve of not less than 10% for any unforeseen changes that may occur during the construction phase.
When working with designers, make sure every requirement is clearly communicated, if possible in writing; this step is required to avoid costly change orders during construction. It takes real effort to finalize the details of a cottage plan, but it will save you a lot of money in the end.
Once dream cottage’s features are formally documented in building plan, all you need to do is find a few reputable builders to provide you their quotations. The next challenge is managing construction – but you can easily do that by using your Muskoka cottage plan as your work guide.