Ecological individualism: developer house vs. architect house

It’s a simple fact: when building a house, different interests collide with different realities. And in this collision, compromises have to be made again and again. The most important thing for many is individual freedom. But how this is compatible with ecological construction methods, among other things, is another matter. And this is exactly what the following article aims to address in more detail by comparing developer houses with architect houses.

 The sketch for a new house is created. However: This can end both in the catalog of a property developer and as a suggestion from an architect for an individual customer: which type of construction is used depends, among other things, on the financial potential

Top view of young architect using ruler and pencil to draw blueprint on wooden desktop with business report and a pair of compasses


Perhaps the best news in terms of building ecology: It is not possible today to build a new building that is not of high quality in terms of energy. Even the minimum requirements are strict, because they are stipulated and monitored by the state through the somewhat cumbersome “Ordinance on energy-saving thermal insulation and energy-saving system technology in buildings” – or in short: EnEv.

However, these are only minimum requirements that every building must meet – more is always possible, of course. And at this point the question must be asked, which weighs more heavily: the individuality of the home or the price or maximum ecology?

The energy certificate guarantees that the house complies with the laws that apply during its construction. Only: Unless expressly marked as “eco-house” or similar, many property developers only offer the legal minimum here

Ecological-individualism-developer house-architect house-info

Perhaps the most important thing for the average consumer is price. Because: as great as the desire for perfect tailoring to your own ideas, as high as the importance of the greatest possible environmental compatibility, both points must be subordinate to what can be spent. The sometimes very different financing models do little to change this – in the end, the construction can only cost as much as its owner can realistically repay each month.

Ecological-individualism-developer house-architect house-graphic

Developer house

In this sense, the developer house offers perhaps the best options in terms of price awareness. This is mainly due to the following points:

  • A property developer usually offers all work from a single source. Therefore, building owners do not have to negotiate prices with individual companies. These are set centrally and are therefore much easier to calculate. For “turnkey” or “ready to move in” a price can be set that hardly changes – that makes the carrier house very financially secure.
  • Property developers only offer a catalog of different house models. The fact that these are built in series means that the building owner does not have to pay expensive planning costs. In addition, this early phase before the start of construction is also much faster because you just have to select a suitable model.

Porters present their houses in the catalogs in a particularly picturesque way – but what many forget in view of the elaborate pictures: These houses are built in series and can be found all over Germany

Cute countryside log house in a wonderful forest on pages of opened book. Unusual 3D illustration.

  • At the same time, there are property developers who have focused on maximum ecology for all or some of their models. And here, too, the great advantage of series construction comes into play: Because many houses of this type are built, expensive individual planning is unnecessary. The focus can be placed on the greatest possible energy savings without – unlike in a freely planned house – being reflected in a sharp rise in price.
  • Last but not least, such eco-developers can look back on a very large wealth of experience: planners, craftsmen, suppliers are very familiar with the necessary work techniques and materials – this means that zero-energy houses, for example, can be realized much more safely than if “any” craftsmen’s troops are commissioned with the realization would.

However: Perhaps the most critical disadvantage of the developer house lies in the lack of customization, which has many advantages in terms of price and ecology: Those who build from the catalog have to live with the fact that “their” house is not unique and, depending on the The carrier’s area of ​​application can be found dozen or more times across the republic.

That means: The developer house fills in the triangle shown above well in the points “ecology” and “price”, but leaves a lot to be desired for individualists.

Architect house

Conversely, the architect is the best contact person for all future homeowners who are interested in more than just having “any” house:

  • Hiring an architect makes it possible to design a house according to your own wishes and inclinations – at least that is the way of thinking. In reality, however, at the end of the game Development plan of the responsible municipality a role that weighs tons, because under certain circumstances it can prohibit entire elements such as roof shapes or even facade colors.
  • Architects are often specialized. Although this means a little effort to find a suitable house for the desired type of house, it can then express itself in extreme adeptness. Of course, it is also possible to turn to a specialist who has difficulties with the chosen type of construction.

In the case of particularly unusual design requests, the client cannot avoid the architect – but even he can only plan as freely as the development plan of the later location allows him

Hand of architect draws draft of a modern house

  • The more the client wants to get involved in the planning, the longer this phase will be: Of course, everyone will give the architect certain specifications. But how far he allows his own interpretations to flow into this varies from architect to architect and can mean many meetings – which of course can skyrocket costs and extend the planning phase to months.
  • At the same time, however, architects are usually really up to date when it comes to new methods and materials. If only because the responsible architects’ chambers offer appropriate courses. This makes it possible to build a state-of-the-art house that is state-of-the-art in all respects.
  • Last but not least, it also means: As long as the architect does not work with certain craft businesses or at least can recommend which ones from previous projects, the builder himself has to commission the executors – and that in turn can also have a negative impact on the costs and also on the schedule of the Knock down the house.

The architect’s house thus clearly focuses on individualism and ecology – the latter, however, only if it is an outspoken specialist in this area. Such a house becomes more expensive in any case – which means that it is only worthwhile where the development plan allows for a correspondingly large amount of freedom. And that in turn also means that the building owner may have to say goodbye to his preferred location.


Today, ecologically high-quality houses can be found both with property developers and architects. The only question is what will ultimately weigh more heavily for the client: For whom the financial burden is the greatest challenge, should also deal with developer houses as well as those clients who want to have little to do with the planning. However, maximum individuality is only available from architects – at a corresponding price.

Image sources:

1)© peshkova

2)© Engineer

3)© determined

4)© Robert Kneschke