Designing a new home or a once-in-a-lifetime renovation should be an exciting experience. The first step in the design process is programming, or the process of discovery. The initial conversation and work focuses on identifying the homeowner’s vision, goals, and priorities (how many rooms? What size? Who will use it? How will it be used?), while being sensitive to the site, the surrounding area, and the natural environment. The site can determine the form the home takes (and costs). We can help you find a site that fits with your vision. This is also the time to talk about budget expectations.
Schematic design—or the rough sketches (produced by hand and combined with 3D CAD imaging)—is focused on defining the direction, the goals, and the scope of the project. The sketches illustrate the general arrangement of rooms and of the house on the site. The sketches aren’t “finished” construction documents, they’re meant to show potential options. This phase also includes identifying challenges and opportunities. Typically this will include plans, exterior views, and other work that explores the overall design ideas of the project. The active engagement of you, the client, is critical so that you and your architect are on the same page about what you want. We have the training and skills to develop and refine a vision of the completed project that you can see and understand. We’re experts at helping you visualize the big picture, but also the smaller steps necessary between concept and completion. We design in 3D CAD software (Revit) to help you visualize direction and choices from the start.
This phase is all about refinement, exploration, and researching the components required to satisfy the project goals. The finer details—finishes, mechanical, lighting, electrical, and conceptual structural systems—are clearly illustrated, as well as exterior and interior elevations. At this phase we strike a balance between aesthetic beauty and structural safety. Before going on to the next stage, the architect will ask for your design approval.
Construction documents are the graphic drawings and written specifications of how things are to be built—these are the drawings that will be submitted for permit approval and to actually build the project. These documents define the quality and level of craftsmanship. During this phase, you should start visiting manufacturers and suppliers to select materials.
Architects can help a client find qualified contractors—they’ve had experience working with different builders and can assess firsthand the quality of work they do. Selecting a contractor may occur during an earlier phase, or after the construction documents are completed. Prospective contractors will need bidding documents, which the architect will prepare. The key to a successful project is good communication and a team effort between the client, architect and builder, so it is important to meet as a team and open a dialogue between members In this phase, the architect helps the client evaluate bids, clarify questions, define schedules, and coordinate contracts.
In this phase, the architect makes site visits as defined in the contract, works with the contractor to coordinate construction, and represents your interests through completion of the project. This phase is when the drawings become physical reality. Architects can also provide construction administration services, keeping the project on track, on time, and within budget. As a collaborative process, you and your architect can determine what services outlined above are appropriate for your budget and project. With thoughtful evaluation and design, we strive to meet—and exceed—your expectations.
Since the amount of time a project takes is relative to each client and their particular needs and circumstances, we typically charge by the hour. In certain circumstances we work on a percentage of construction cost or fixed fee basis.
We incur some out-of-pocket expenses on projects for copying, postage, etc. which are itemized separately from fees for services. Consultant engineering services, when needed, are an additional cost. We receive a retainer payment to begin work on a project. Invoices are issued monthly and payment is due upon receipt.