I. Initial Meeting

The first hour of consultation is free, and can be held at our place or yours. This is where we find out the basics of what is important to you – the project you are considering, what your goals and special needs are, what styles appeal to you, and what your budget is. When we schedule this meeting, we’ll also send you a questionnaire to help guide the discussion.

We discuss different levels of architectural service, and determine whether the chemistry is right. After this meeting, we’ll start with a simple Consultation Services Agreement to establish a program and budget, explore some options, and determine how to serve you in the best way possible.

II. Program and Feasibility

Programming is a research and discovery phase, where we explore many questions and answers. Several research tools are used at this stage, depending on your project type. We visit the building site to get familiar with its gifts and surroundings, and develop a few thumbnail sketches to get the juices flowing. These activities and follow up discussions help determine what options you would like to include in the design and in our services.

For Custom Homes and Remodel projects, we provide you a series of questionnaires to help you think about how you want to live, which guide us when we design your new space. We also really appreciate any inspirational images you can share to help us understand your aesthetic.

For Business and Community projects, a Master Planning process is a better programming tool. This can include a Charrette with your team of stakeholders, followed with a written outline that is used to help direct each phase of the project.

We believe in a team approach, so if you have a building contractor selected, we like to bring them in to the conversation at this early stage. If needed, we can suggest contractors and associates to join the team.

III. Schematic Design

The Schematic Design is the first phase of the drawing-producing services. This includes a basic layout of proposed floor plans, the building(s) located on a site plan, outlines of the most prominent exterior elevations, and a simple massing model of the structure. We present these for your review and discuss possible refinements.

If there are major revisions, a second schematic design is done before completion of this phase. After the review and refinements are noted, your builder will be tasked with creating a ballpark estimate of the construction cost. If the cost range is not within your comfort level, this is the best time for adjustments before moving forward.

With an Integrated Design approach, this phase will include at least one in-depth team meeting and follow up discussions to identify which elements provide the biggest offset to others, such as a better building envelope for a smaller heating/cooling system.

Architectural fees can now be determined for the remainder of the project. Fees are based on the complexity of the building and site, the code enforcement jurisdiction, and the level of service we agree on. A Services Contract is prepared for you to sign, and we are set to continue!

IV. Design Development

Now we start moving forward with one design, and develop it further (hence the name!). This includes refined floor plans, a site plan, all exterior elevations and building sections with related interior elevations. The massing model can also be further developed in this phase to study detail elements and finishes. If specifications are part of our agreed on services, we include an outline to help guide and record choices. This is also when we integrate Landscape and Interior Design team members.

The Structural Engineering consultant starts their design work in the Design Development phase, so we meet with them to go through options that best meet your program and goals. Structural elements can be expressed or hidden in a building, and different solutions are more appropriate for each of these directions.

We typically expect to spend about 20% of our total effort here, including 2 to 4 client meetings.

Once the design drawings and outline specifications have been approved by all parties, we are ready to shift to Phase 5; Construction Documents!

V. Construction Documents

Blueprints, Permits, Action! We take care in preparing accurate plans to build from, so there are no surprises in the field: 35% to 50% of our time is spent in this phase. There are several levels of Construction Documentation, and we are happy to customize our services for individual project needs.

Basic service levels provide you with permit-ready documents when complete. However, permit documents do not address the finish details which pull a project together, create a Net Positive building, nor specify healthy or sustainable products. Some of our custom home clients also want to build their own place, which requires a higher level of documentation than for drawings used by a seasoned contractor.

We offer a variety of expanded services to create a custom fit. We discuss what services best suit your needs, and their estimated fees, during the Program and Design phases. With an Integrated Design approach, this phase focuses on documenting the design decisions and systems coordination completed in earlier phases.

VI. Construction Phase

As with our Construction Documents services, this phase has different levels available. A pre-construction meeting with the entire team is required before anyone onsite sets a form or swings a hammer. Regular onsite meetings are planned to ensure everything is going as envisioned. We remain available to answer questions from code officials and contractors throughout the project, with a combination of phone, email and site consultations.

With an Integrated Design approach, the construction phase is highly efficient. With early project planning dedicated to systems coordination and finish details, this phase can focus on quality control.

We really enjoy coordinating with clients and other consultants such as interior designers and landscape professionals during construction to help with finish details and alternate selections. To close things out, we offer a final walk-through service to ensure no detail is missed.