What’s Involved with Designing Your Own New Construction Apartment?

April 13, 2021

If you’ve decided to make the bold and ultimately fulfilling decision to design your own apartment, you need to know what’s coming.

While much of what you’ll find here may sound intimidating, don’t be the slightest bit discouraged. Over more than 25 years, VIR Construction has built owner-designed new construction apartments in the greater New York City area. We can tell you that it’s possible and it will be just as rewarding as you imagine.

But here’s what it will take:


The first stage of designing a new construction apartment should always be to identify all the costs.

Make sure your budget accounts for:

  • Costs of materials
  • Construction costs
  • Finance and insurance
  • Site surveys
  • Service connections
  • Professional and authority fees

Making your brief

Your brief is the document you’re going to give to designers so they can understand the scope of the project and your instructions for them. The more detail you can provide, the better.

The brief will also help you adjust the budget we just mentioned, since it’s the basis of the fee proposal you’re going to get.

However, it’s an evolving document. Plans and circumstances may change throughout the project’s duration.

Finding a designer

With a detailed brief, you’ll now need to find a designer. They will help refine your preliminary budget and turn your design ideas into a workable concept and layout.

You’ll also clarify your choice of materials with them, along with working out details like glass-to-mass ratios and heating and cooling systems.

You can look for a designer even if you’re still deciding on some aspects of the design. Things are still very flexible at this stage.

By the final design, you’d have figured out:

  • Construction systems
  • Floor plan and building form
  • Shading solutions
  • External finishes
  • Water systems
  • Window types, sizes, and orientations

You may also decide on the interior design and finishes, though that can come later.

An advantage to choosing a boutique contractor at this stage is that you can work with them for other needs that will arise throughout the project. This eliminates the risk of mismatched expectations. And it tends to result in greater efficiency overall.

Hiring builders

On the assumption that you’ve hired a boutique contractor to help with the design process mentioned just above, you’d have conveniently completed this step in one stroke.

Builders will take over the more technical aspects of the planning process, along with actually building your new construction apartment.

You’ll finalize details about the design, materials, and timelines.

You’ll also be in regular contact with the builders, receiving updates on how the construction work is coming along.

Future-proofing your home

You may love everything about your new construction once it’s ready for you to move in, but there’s no telling if that will be the case years down the line.

So it’s often a good idea to ensure that your self-designed apartment has built-in flexibility. One effective way to go about this is to get planning approval for extensions you might need to make later.

And you can have things like capped-off drainages that will be ready to use once it’s time to make renovations.

Thinking far into the future, even before construction work has started, can save you countless headaches years from now.

Make your new construction apartment a reality with VIR Construction

We’ve been working on new construction homes in the greater New York City area for over 25 years. And we’re a boutique general contractor, so we can help you with every stage of designing and building your new construction apartment.

We’re excited to transform your self-designed apartment from idea to reality. Contact us today to get started.