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Conservatory at Rosewood Mansion William S. Briggs, architect

When it comes to new home construction, or renovations, homeowners naturally focus on the aesthetic aspects of the project such as fixtures, colors, and finish materials. There are also a number of practical areas that need attention during the drawing process. Structure, safety, and security all demand special attention. In fact, comprehensive drawings should include details and information on the visible and invisible aspects of your house. Thoughtful design can actually reduce your insurance costs.

I’ve worked with insurance agents over the last thirty years to better understand how to incorporate both obvious and latent elements into every home we build so that we can reduce a homeowner’s insurance liability. There are a surprising number of smart tweaks that we can include in your blueprints that protect you and your home. For example, in tornado-prone Texas, we design homes with windows and framing that are prepared to accept a higher wind load. We look closely to Miami Dade’s wind resistance code. Since they are established for hurricane winds, we can build a stouter house.

Other less obvious measures include using gas and water flow detectors; whole house shut off valves for gas, water, and electrical; detectors for smoke and water in crawl spaces; and maximum hail protection for your roof. You can even reduce risk to the home during the construction process by prohibiting welding after 3 pm.

Home security is also an important consideration during the drawing process. Any entrances to the home should be alarmed, including garage doors and gates. This can be set up with the local fire department so they would have access to the home in the event of an emergency. Alarm systems can also be connected with local police departments and alarm panels can be placed in conspicuous locations around the home and made easily accessible.

With Texas’s penchant for dramatic weather changes and our need for safe and secure homes, it’s easy to understand why any homeowner is glad to see these precautions put in place. While all of these enhancements to your drawings do come with minor expenses during construction, they will pay for themselves many times over throughout the years. 

William S. Briggs, Architect, PLLC