Once the basic structural issues are developed, detailed drawings are prepared that break down all the components of the project and give the contractor detailed information from which to prepare the construction contract. Details that distinguish the house are worked on in this critical phase including things such as exposed structural elements ,i.e. post and beam connections, trim details and railings.
Schedules of materials and finishes are put together with the client and sometimes with the assistance of an interior designer or lighting consultant. Cabinetry layout and details and lighting plans are prepared to give the contractor a firm idea of what is expected during construction.
When construction starts there are many decisions still to be made and often new ideas that improve on the design are worked out with the contractor on site. I work with the contractor to make sure the house is built as designed using their ideas and knowledge to make the process as smooth as possible. I work with the cabinet manufacturers, window providers, subcontractors to make sure all the details are thought through and follow the design intent.
Working Within a Budget
Everyone has a construction budget - at least everyone I have worked with. Making sure a project is within the budget is not a simple task. The initial tools I have to work with in starting a project are building size and materials. We can start out with a basic cost per square footage calculation to determine what is possible within your budget based on these two decisions.
Using the expertise of the builder early in the process is very helpful if budget issues are a concern. I can work with contractors after the schematic design phase to get a ballpark estimate, based on the project scope and their past experience.
Firmer cost estimates can be sought from contractors after the design development phase when the project is more well defined and the structural components are known. At this phase, however, the contractor would still need to put allowance figures in for the aspects of the project where there is not yet information.
Once the construction drawings are prepared you can get bids from contractors as they will have lighting schedules and material lists to work from as well as detailed drawings of the building construction, beyond the structural components,
Designing a house, whether new or remodel, big or small, is a process (see below) that starts with a conceptual idea and ends with the final details, when the hardware is selected and installed. There are decisions to be made and design opportunities all along the way. Decisions made about siding or trim can be as important to the success of a project as the basic floor plan ideas at the beginning of the process. Before starting a project I would go through the deign process with a new client and provide a proposal for the level of services tailored to their needs.
As an architect I provide design services that start from the beginning of a project to the end, when you are ready to move in. After we have a conceptual design and it has developed into a permit ready set, then I work with you to prepare a comprehensive set of drawings which guide the construction. The design process does not stop when the construction begins - it is the final design phase, when the last decisions (such as paint colors and hardware) are made and together with the contractor we make on-site decisions on how to implement the design.
Many remodel projects first start out with a master plan, which is a schematic design planning for your whole house and property, but with the intention of implementing the design in phases. In this case my services would go only through the schematic design part of the process. I can provide services after that to implement any portion of the project, when you are ready to get started. I have worked with many clients who want to assess the remodel options for a home they are potentially purchasing, or their existing home, to get some ideas that will help decide on a path for the future.
If you are building your own house, or working as the general contractor, there are some services you would not need - specifically assistance with the contractor. Other services might be required as you work with subcontractors and through the building process.
There are times when services up to the design development phase, when a dimensioned set of drawing with all the structural information suitable for a building permit is all that is desired. The contractor and client would work out all the details from that point on. I can provide assistance as requested beyond the design development phase to help during construction.
Whether you are planning a new home or remodeling an existing home the process always start with a discussion of your ideas. Many people have sketches they prepared or plans of houses they like. Most people have pictures of homes that they are attracted to. And all have a list of wants and need! Understanding the needs and priorities is the start of programming for the project
Other information needs to be gathered that will impact the program for the project. Building sites can have constraints, either natural or regulatory, that will impact the design of the house. The orientation of the site and the views from it need to be assessed. A site visit is always needed for new construction before the design phase can begin.
Site issues can be equally a concern in remodel projects and need to be investigated at the beginning of the project. Additionally, measurements of the existing house need to be taken and as-built plans prepared for remodel projects.
Often a survey of the your property is required before design can begin. In situations where the property boundaries are easily verifiable and setback issues or topography issues are not of a concern I can prepare a site plan without a survey.
This is when the fun begins, where ideas about the layout of the house are brought together with the building form. Basic floor plan ideas would be developed with ideas of where all the rooms would be located, how they connect to each other, and a roof form for the the house. I like to give clients at least two different conceptual designs to start out; different ways to accomplish their goals with different aesthetic possiblities.
We would meet and go over the options and discuss the benefits of the
different designs. I don’t expect that any particular design
is going to be exactly the design we end up with.
Often clients will like parts of different designs
and I would work to bring all the comments on
the first schematic ideas together.
At the end we would have a basic idea of the
floor plan and a concept of the form of the house.
After a basic ideas for the house are agreed upon I begin the work to make it all come together. Exterior elevations are developed along with the interior spaces, including building sections that show the construction of the house. Proportions and roof slope are refined along with window size and arrangement and siding options to develop the exterior expression. Initial selection of building materials that inform the design. Preliminary structural design is developed and coordination with the structural engineer who would provide the structural calculations and framing plans for the project.
At the end of this phase you would have a set of dimensioned plans with the structural information and the drawings needed for a building permit.
As part of the design process I can prepare a three-dimensional computer model of the house. The model can be helpful to visualize the home and provide assistance in making decisions. You can "walk through" the house, see the shading at various times of the day, and see how different colors might look on the siding as well as other decisions that need to be made along the way.