Thank you for the inquiry of our products & services. Because of the high volume of emails and inquiries, I've created this informational "FAQ/Process" link. Please take a few minutes to read through it, as it should answer many of your questions. We want your business and look forward to hearing back from you with any other comments, questions, or concerns.
Can changes be made to our plans? You actually have several options here. The quick answer is yes; this is one of our premier services that we provide to our clients. We've done changes for many clients both in and out of state and currently have projects in various stages of design and construction in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon & Texas. Obviously Arizona too. We're all over the place at home with about 60 homes in various stages of design & construction. Out of country? Sure, we've got a major beachfront project going in Costa Rica too. Nothing is too big, or too small. We're full service and we want your business. Another option is that you can buy our plans as reproducible vellums and have your own draftsman or architects make changes for you. I can assure you though; we can do it better and faster, and not "just as" affordable but more realistically cheaper. Free FedEx shipping gets it to you overnight when we make the changes.
What's it going to cost for changes? I need an idea of which plan you are looking at and what kind of changes you need to do. Once I have that information I can give you an exact price to make the changes. An estimate costs you nothing. Give us the phone number for the building department that will be doing your plan review and we will talk to them about what codes they are using. Many building departments are using different building codes with or without amendments specific to their local jurisdiction. This complicates matters for many design firms but we verify this info so our plans specifically note the governing jurisdictions requirements. California has other special requirements such as Title 24 (energy related analysis of structure) and some jurisdictions may have, depending on your exact location, structural (seismic/gravity/wind) and civil (grading & drainage, or hillside) or both requirements that may require review by a licensed engineer specializing in that field. Regardless of whom does your plans, you'll have to address this issue so that is a given and fixed cost you will have to face regardless of who prepares your plans. We can help you though. Engineering services can be sub-contracted out once your plan is done. If you're not interested in managing the engineers, we have structural engineers who are licensed in many states that may be able to do the job. Civil (site related issues) are going to need to be local for you. That goes without saying but we all work together to streamline the process.
I've got my changes outlined, what's next? Pick a plan and indicate what changes you need done to that plan. I will give you a full upfront cost of making those changes along with a timeframe. It will start with a preliminary floor plan. You will be able (and I encourage you) to ask questions and give input into the "revised" floor plan. We'll message the plan as required to get it tailored specifically for you. Once the floor plan is just right, we'll generate elevations (views of the design) and change them as required to suit your exact needs just like the floor plan. At that stage, your sub-contracted engineers can start their work on the plan while we wrap up our end. Files can easily be transferred between us and the engineers to simplify the job.
Difficult building site? Need your site info! Do you have topo if lot is has slope and do you know where you want to put the house? Are there view issues? Is the lot accessible? Design Guidelines? Architectural Review? All of these issues may or may not affect you choice in plans or introduce obstacles you will want to investigate. They could have drastic impact on fees and timeframe.
Should I see your building site? I encourage site visiting but for obvious reasons that is not always practical. I might even come see your site depending on the project and location. I enjoy traveling and meeting my clients and do it often if it fits into my schedule. We can discuss this option based on the project and sometimes (depending on location and circumstance) might do so at no charge or work out some other type of beneficial arrangement.
What to Look for When Hiring a Design Professional
Experience - There is no substitute for experience. This is especially true for design professionals. How many homes have they designed?
An Office - Your first meeting should be the designer's professional office, not over their kitchen table!
Examples of work - While in the designer's office ask to see his or her latest work. This allows you to compare work and styles.
Reference materials - To stay on the cutting edge of design, professionals will have reference material such as books, CDs, manuals, code text, catalogs and samples of materials on hand.
Finished Projects - A professional will show photographs and provide addresses of completed home designs.
References - Ask for a list of clients who will discuss the designer's performance.
Contract - A professional designer has a contract or agreement for your review. It will cover the fee and terms of payment, as well as the specific services that will be rendered for specified fees.
Professional Affiliation - Membership in a professional organization (such as American Institute of Building Design or American Institute of Architects) says that this professional maintains high standards within the building design profession.
Seals on Drawings - This indicates that the design professional is affiliated with a recognized organization that regulates professionals within the field of Residential Design.
Continuing Education - This is a requirement for a Professional Building Designer. Continuing Education Units are vital for building designers to improve skills and keep up-to-date.
*From the American Institute of Building Design
I hope I have given you some good information. If you have any other questions feel free to contact us via email and/or by calling my office or cell. Don't forget we have a toll free number too. We can be reached Monday thru Friday at 1-866-284-7400 I would be happy to give you as much info as possible and to answer all of your questions.