We do all the things Architects normally do, except we spend more time listening.   How else to understand your house and what home means to you?   We thought it would be more useful to outline the typical process of home design, in case you haven't been through it before.


Programming: Identifying the Owner's objectives (current and future), budget parameters and schedule.  May also include strategic master planning, property evaluation and site analysis.  All Owner input, in whatever form, is welcome and useful.

Conceptual Design: Based on measured existing conditions and Owner-provided information, create alternative solution concepts (plans, sketches, and preliminary exterior elevations).  May involve one or several iterations.  Preliminary meeting with Public Agency staff is advised to discuss zoning parameters, concepts and the approvals process.  Meet with neighbors who may have interest to review the conceptual design.

Schematic Design: Based on Owner's preferred scheme, prepare design exhibits establishing the dimensional envelope, key design details, preliminary materials specifications, and structural concepts.  Schematic design exhibits serve both as submittal plans for Agency review and for contractor's cost estimate.  A budget check (accurate to +/- 15%) is recommended at this stage.

Planning Department Review:  May include (as required) design review, variances, environmental review and/or use permit.  Action is by Planning Staff (Zoning Administrator), Design Review Board, Planning Commission, or Council.  May also require preliminary civil engineering (grading, drainage and utilities), preliminary landscape design and/or environmental studies.  The Architect coordinates consultant team and makes primary presentation at hearing.


Design Development/Construction Documentation: Based on the conditions of Planning approval, Owner's input, and necessary cost adjustments; prepare detailed drawings and project specifications (construction documentation).  Requires Structural Engineer, Soils Engineer and Title 24 Energy Consultant and may involve other consultants by the Owner whose work the Architect will coordinate.  First submit for building permit plan check; make all required revisions; then issue for bid or negotiated contract.  Assist Owner in evaluating Contractor's qualifications, pricing, and construction contract.  There is no such thing as a perfect set of working drawings.  Architects are held to a standard of reasonable professional care.

Construction Administration:  The Architect makes periodic site visits to observe construction for conformance with the intent of construction documentation.  The General Contractor is responsible for the means and methods of construction.  The Architect also typically reviews Contractor's payment requests, issues proposal requests and clarifications, reviews change orders and submittals, and in general, mediates between the Owner and Contractor.  These services help preserve and enhance the quality of the job and the Owner's investment.