Design Process

The services required for each project are adjusted to your needs and the nature of that project. Initially, we meet with you to understand your situation and then provide a detailed proposal outlining the project scope and services to be provided with estimated fees. Here is an outline of the phases of a typical design project:

1. Pre-design/Site Analysis: Deciding What to Build

The time spent in this initial phase may be the most valuable time you spend with us. We discuss your functional requirements in detail (how many rooms, how big, who will use them) and how you want the end result to look and feel. We can then begin to test the fit between what you want, what you need, and what you can afford. We will discuss possible approaches to the project and perhaps suggest changes or new, creative ideas for achieving your goals. Finally, we formulate a list of space requirements (room sizes) to give us an understanding of the size of the entire project.

Prior to starting the design phase, we also visit the site and make observations that may affect the design. If the project is a remodel, we can take measurements and photographs of the existing building so we can create "as-built" drawings if none exist. We will also review codes and ordinances that will regulate what we propose. If it is determined that consultant services are required, such as surveying, geotechnical, civil or environmental engineering, we arrange for and coordinate these services on your behalf.

2. Preliminary Design Phase

Once we have agreed on the project scope, we do a series of rough sketches showing alternative design approaches. These drawings are general in nature, showing the relationship and size of spaces within the building and to the site. We review these together and refine or restudy the options you are most interested in until a concept is agreed upon. Finally, we will provide preliminary sketches of the exterior of the project to illustrate the character and style of the design. We also prepare a preliminary cost analysis in this phase.

3. Design Refinement Phase

After agreeing on the preliminary design, we draft drawings at a larger scale which show the design in more detail, continuing to refine and develop the character and scope of the interior and exterior elements of the design, such as trim work, cabinetry, fireplaces and railings. In this phase, we try to identify all systems, materials, and finishes for the project. These drawings are the early stages of the final "Construction Documents" used for construction and permits (see next phase).

4. Construction Document Phase

Here we prepare the detailed drawings (blueprints) and specifications used to establish actual construction costs and build the project. These drawings will include all structural engineering and can include interior design, plumbing and heating specifications, electrical and lighting design. Once the construction documents are finished, they are submitted to the City or County for a Building Permit and to general contractors for construction bids.

5. Bidding/Negotiating and Permitting Phase

During this phase we assist you in the selection of a contractor through the bidding or negotiation process. We recommend builders we have worked with or help you evaluate the qualifications and proposals of other builders. During this period we also communicate as is necessary with the City or County during the permit process.

6. Construction

Once a contractor is selected, we can help prepare an agreement between you and the contractor of which the drawings and specifications become a part. Once construction begins, we make periodic site visits to observe the work for its conformance with the construction documents, review samples and shop drawings, review the contractor's pay requests, consult with you regarding the project's progress, help work out any problems that may arise and advise them regarding any changes that may be needed or desired during construction. Through experience we have learned that our involvement in this phase is critical to achieving the continuity and the quality of the project.