First Meeting
Prior to the first meeting, we do some preliminary investigation work to determine the likelihood of Project Feasibility. We bring that information to the first meeting and listen carefully to your ideas and to ascertain project scope, budget and scheduling issues.

This is the time to understand your “wish list”, and to get a feel for your desires and vision for your project. You are encouraged to bring magazine articles, photos and anything else that may help you describe your ideas to us. Also discussed is the level of service that you require from your Architect.

Whether you need help with all aspects of the design and construction Process or a “Permit Set”(as discussed below) we can tailor our service to fit your needs. A Cost Estimate is discussed at this stage in terms of dollars per square foot. This will give you a rough idea of costs and the estimate will be refined as the process moves forward. After the meeting we will develop a Proposal for Services and send it to you for your review.

Our Proposal is typically hourly with a “not to exceed amount” based on the scope of the work that you give us. This initial phase is complimentary.

Project Feasibility
After you sign our Proposal for services, we more thoroughly research Land-Use and Building Code issues to make sure the project can be done from a legal standpoint. Once the jurisdictional and code requirements have been determined, “As-built” drawings or Design can begin.
'As-built' Drawings
When the project is an addition or alteration, drawings are created to record existing conditions which are called “As-builts”. The nature of each project dictates the extent of these drawings. A second story addition may require a complete “As-built” while a single story addition will require less.

We measure and photograph everything relevant to the project. We look at Attics to determine roof framing, insulation and ventilation issues. We look at crawl spaces (under floor areas) for floor framing, insulation, ventilation, plumbing and moisture issues. We record heating, plumbing, electrical, framing, foundation, siding/trim detailing, roof overhang details, roofing, windows, interior trim/finishes as needed for each job.

In addition to recording the existing building, we record whatever is necessary w/regards to the building site (unless the project has no additions) in order to create the required Site Plan. Site Plans include property boundaries, the building/s location, streets, sidewalks and other major elements.

Once all the elements are recorded, we can determine the required building setbacks from the property lines, calculate existing lot coverage (both building and impervious surfaces) and building height limit. Drawings created may include some or all, Floor Plans, Building Sections, Exterior Elevations and relevant details. We use CAD software to draw the “As-builts” so we can overlay the Preliminary Design.

Good and efficient design requires an accurate set of “As-builts”. As the Preliminary Design develops into the Final Design, the “As-builts” are re-used to create the construction drawings that will be submitted to the local building department.

Design
For New Construction, a very rough initial design called Schematic Design is created in the form of hand sketches including a Site Plan showing project location, solar exposure, views, topography and other site determinants. Also included are rough Floor Plan ideas and their relationship to the site.

At this stage, the design process is addressing broad scope issues. The task at hand is to integrate your program requirements with that of site determinants and opportunities and context of the local area. For Additions and Alterations, a Schematic Design is produced by hand sketching over the “As-built” drawings. We like to meet early in the design process to get your input. With your approval, an accurate (to scale) Preliminary Design will be created.

Preliminary Design includes a Site Plan, Floor Plans, Sections and Exterior Elevations. The Site Plan is updated to include lot coverage figures showing building and impervious surface percentages of the lot area as well as imposed height limits. A rough cost estimate is presented. We meet with you to review the current design and compare it to the original Scope of Work and Budget.

The Preliminary Design is refined with your input until you give us approval to proceed to Construction Documents. We often use “Sketchup” 3D Modeling software to enhance the three dimensional visualization.

Structural Engineering
Static design (Gravity loads): These loads on the structure are created by roof, floor and deck loading. We typically provide the engineering calculations for the necessary framing components to resist these loads.

We typically do all the Framing Plans and framing details so we have an integral knowledge of how the building goes together and can control the detailing to fit with the architecture. We have Structural Engineering software that is frequently updated to stay current with the ever changing building codes.

Dynamic Design (Lateral Design): These loads are created by movement. Earthquake and wind loading often times require lateral design incorporating shear walls and or moment frames. The movement of earth and water (hydrostatic forces) on vertical surfaces sometimes require retaining wall design.

We bring in a licensed Professional Engineer to provide the calculations and solutions for these kinds of loading situations when needed. We have Engineers we work with or can use one of yours. Typically the Dynamic Design Engineering calculations are provided by the Engineer and we draft all the remaining information required in the Construction Document package.

Interior Design
We can refer an Interior Designer to you or we can work with one of yours. Interior Designers provide a valuable service.

They are very good at coordinating the finishes with the architectural vision. They have contacts with materials suppliers, can take you to showrooms or bring samples to you. They help to make many of the decisions required complete the Construction Documents package.

Cost Estimating
Early stage estimates are done by dollars per square foot. During the Preliminary Design phase we bring in one of our qualified General Contractors, or work with your Contractor, to do a more detailed estimate. This is the time to make decisions regarding the scope of work and or level of finishes to adjust the Preliminary Design relative to the project budget.
Construction Documents 'CAD'
Construction Documents include construction drawings, specifications, schedules and structural calculations. We use CAD software to produce very legible and accurate construction drawings. The level of completeness of Construction Documents varies depending on the level of service required by you.

A “Permit Set” of documents provides the bare essentials as required by the local jurisdiction and is for those clients that have some experience with construction, have interior design ability and don’t mind providing a lot of the “leg work”. A “Bid Set” includes all items necessary to allow the General Contractor to give a firm bid with no allowances.

These drawings include a Room Finish Schedule with all finishes described, Plumbing and Electrical fixtures selected, Cabinet Elevations type finish and hardware, Electrical Plans, Interior Elevations for fireplaces, hand/guardrail and interior detailing. Also included are appliance, painting and door hardware schedules.

None of the preceding items are required for a Building Permit but are no less important than the building framing, foundation and exterior components. Generally the level of completeness required by the client falls somewhere in between with a few allowances. Allowances are dollar amounts set aside for items not selected at the time of the Bid.

Working with an Interior Designer, either ours or yours, will help you to answer all the questions any good Contractor will have and to ensure that your project is finished properly. The more complete the Construction Documents the more precise the bidding will be.

Permit Applications
We generally apply to the appropriate jurisdiction for the Building Permit. We acquire the necessary forms and assist you in filling them out. You pay the permit costs. The General Contractor’s subcontractors such as plumbers and electricians may apply for their specialty permits.
Contractor Selection
We have several quality General Contractors that we can refer or we can work with one of yours. General Contractors should be well experienced in the type of construction and the level of finishes expected for your project. They must be licensed, bonded and carry liability insurance. They should have no outstanding liens against them.
Construction Observation
We usually budget 2 to 4 job site visits at a minimum to observe construction progress and to answer questions during the foundation and framing stages. We can include more job site visits at our hourly rate as needed.

A more complete level of service includes weekly visits during the majority of the construction period. Incorporating changes directed by the client or solving unforeseen issues that crop up from time to time are much easier and cost effective by having the Architect involved during construction.