Wednesday, November 08, 2006

10 Easy Tips to help make your Huf Haus Dreams come true!

1. Do visit one of the Huf Haus show homes before you plan anything. These are located at various locations around Europe, including (and especially) the famous and wonderful Hartenfels, in Germany. You'll be spending a lot of money building your Huf Haus, so you might want to get up close and personal with the object of your desires.

2. Do pre-book at least an hour with a Huf Haus show home representative. The Huf Haus representatives are very helpful and very informed, but very very busy. Don't just turn up out of the blue hoping they'll be free, because they won't be.

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3. Do buy one of the Huf Haus product catalogues. These are those big fat binders full of marketing materials, pretty photos, standard floor plans, standard prices, and lots and lots of superb information. There are two catalogues: one for the 3-axis/4-axis houses; and the other for the 5-axis/6-axis houses.

4. Do be realistic as to the depth of your pocket. Don't leave the show home with a 5-axis/6-axis product catalogue under your arm if you know deep down you'll never be able to afford it, because it'll only distance you further from your dream. A 3-axis or 4-axis Huf Haus is already as beautiful and spacious any most of us could ever aspire to. But hell, if you can afford it, then why not, eh?

5. Let the lie of the land select the Huf Haus size and shape. Far too many people select the size and shape of their Huf Haus out of the catalogue, and then spend month after month looking for the same shaped piece of land to put under it. Don't let early ideas close down the list of candidate plots before you even begin your search. Within reason, the wonderful flexibility of the Huf Haus system almost guarantees that a dream house of some shape and size can be built on almost any plot.

6. Find the land! Buy the land! Spend as much time as you can looking for that plot of land. Consider the obvious factors, such as the commute, general locale, the view, local services, schools, supermarkets. Don't be afraid to compromise, as the perfect piece of land doesn't exist. But don't over-compromise either, because a small island on the Outer Hebrides is not for all of us. It could take a year or more before you find the land, but don't give up. And when you find it? Well don't sit on the decision to secure that piece of land just because you don't have a 100% guarantee of planning permission or bank financing. The seller will simply succumb to the temptation of selling it to someone else who's less risk averse than you are. If you've done your homework, you'll already know if planning permission's available 'in principle', or if your finances generally fit into the green zone from the bank's point of view. Possession is power. Hah hah hah hah hah!

7. Select the architect with great care. Preferably one that's built a Huf Haus before. You'll need an architect who's communicative, can act as a project manager during the construction, and above all, one that you feel comfortable with. As ever, a few references from an existing Huf Haus owner or two will help greatly. You can take the professionalism and diligence of the Huf Haus people for granted (a few language hiccups aside) so your architect will become a very important person to you during the planning and construction phase.

8. Do prepare the overall project budget. The cost of the land's a known because you've bought it. Right? The architect can give you guidance as to how much you should budget for the digging and any other non-Huf activities. So that just leaves the cost for the Huf Haus and options list, which is down to your own aspirations and (believe me) self discipline. Once you get over the shock of seeing the first budget total, you should revisit everything again and again and again. Remember the size of the budget is usually down to your own needs and aspirations, and not simply due to the greed of your suppliers. Well not always.

9. Keep the list of suppliers to a minimum. What with the people for digging, the good Huf Haus folks themselves, the landscapers, the kitchen people, the heating engineers, electricians for the lights, and quite possibly flooring and bathroom people; pretty soon it starts getting busy in there. And your official list of suppliers starts getting quite long. Well, in this case the more the unmerrier, because the scheduling of all those suppliers can easily start to conflict, and remember that any slippage by one supplier will knock on to the next. One advantage of working with the Huf Haus people is that you're dealing with a reputable company that's done all this before, and, give or take a week or two, shouldn't hit you with any surprises. So there's a lot to be said to giving as much of the work as possible to Huf, even if this or that work or unit could be done a little cheaper by a local supplier.

...and finally...

10. Do live your Huf Haus dream; don't just dream it! Read this last one a few more times; it's the most important tip of them all.

All comments and emails regarding these '10 Easy Tips to help make your Huf Haus Dreams come true!', whether complimentary or critical, are very welcome. I'll continue to fine-hone these tips, as they're intended to help us all to realise our own Huf Haus dreams.


Z said...

I'm unclear on the need for an architect. Wouldn't a Generalunternehner suffice for what's essentially a kit house? Most of all of the design is already done by Huf and I would think have a team on staff to do the other alterations...

Ric Capucho said...

Our architect was mainly used for the general layout of the land, positioning of the house, major landscaping, and a variety of other stuff. But the big value-added was arranging the planning permission (Baubewilligung) where he could speak the same 'language' (planning-speak) as the local planning department.

It may be that in Germany Huf Haus can also help with such things, but here in Switzerland yer need an architect for these things. Furthermore, there's a slightly different system here where the architect acts as a sort of general contractor.

While Huf Haus are great for generating the final bill-of-materials, and especially the options list, people without any architectural training might need some guidance as to what sorts of shapes and sizes might suit a given shape of land. We did, and I suspect many other people would.

Anyways, everyone's different so you might do well without one.

Regarding 'kit house'. Well the Huf Haus people wince when they hear that word; they prefer 'component house'. But what's interesting is that while the basis of most Huf Haus are basically modified standard designs (think 3-axis, 4-axis, etc etc) those modification go all the way from 'lite' all the way through to 'Christ, why didn't they just start with a clean sheet'. Have a look at the Kurtz website which (last time I looked) shows a very heavily modified 3-axis design on the front page.

Very lastly, some people really do embrace the versatility of the Huf Haus design and really do start with a clean sheet. Usually a privilege reserved for the wealthy, but literally anything goes. My pockets don't go so deep, but I do wonder how much fun I could have working with an architect on a totally bespoke design.


Anonymous said...

Can someone help me please, I cannot seem to find out how much its costs to build a huf haus (in euro). Does anyone know please? We are thinking of building our own house and would love a huf haus, but dont know whether its possible with our budget. We would be looking to build an 1800-2000sq ft house.
M in Ireland

Anonymous said...

Hi M,

Have a look at this:

Out of interest, we are also thinking of building a Huf-Haus in Ireland. Would be nice to see if we could help each other out?


Anonymous said...

Found on this blog: "Well done for all of your work. I'm living in Ireland and experienced a complete different price-level for a Davinci Haus. All the references I got from the Rep in Ireland a lot of references, I phoned all of them up and asked them for their prices without site and extras bits and pieces - houses from 3200sqft to 5500sqft they all ran out between €280 to €310 per sqft foot or €3014 or €3337 per sqm. No fancy extras - That means there must be a completely different pricing system between Ireland and elsewhere, actually Ireland seems to be more expensive by a lot than everywhere else!!" mmhhmmm... tough!!!

Anonymous said...

with regard to irish build of huf haus am thinking of one near coast west cork
has anyone actually built one in ireland yet?
if so please could you give info on type build price and planning?


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