If you are considering designing and building a new home or renovating your existing home, you are are probably trying to understand where to start.
It is likely that you have the same three questions in mind that everyone has in mind. They are, in no particular order:
1. How much will it cost...........read more
2. How long will it take....................read more
3. What's the process to go from start to finish............read more
Since we are a design and build firm, meaning we do the original design, the architecture, assist with selections and do the construction, we'll explain the process from start to finish on this page. Most people feel a little lost when they meet with us the first time. The process we follow has been well defined based on our experience. It is easy to understand. Most of all it works very well. The first section below gives you an overview of the process of designing and building a new home. Further below, we explain the process of designing a renovation and executing the construction of a renovation.
NEW HOME – DESIGN –SELECTIONS - BUILD
If you have a site already that’s great. If you and/or your Realtor need help finding a site, we can help. We do it all the time. Here’s a site selection checklist you might find helpful.
We firmly believe that a well designed home, from site plan to floor plan, to exterior aesthetics, increases the value of a home.
The design path starts with asking our clients to go through our "think list". It is a simple document which asks a series of questions which helps us understand what is most important to you in the design of your house, what you would like included and what you would like excluded. It is a starting point.
Once we have a basic idea of what you want to achieve we start developing floor plans with the house oriented on the site plan. We will arrange rooms to take advantage of sunlight. We will consider how you want patios and porches to relate to certain rooms. And, we will pay great attention to how each room relates to the way you live.
We generally go through several versions of floor plans and site plans. We will ask you to take as much time as possible to consider each alternative floor plan and we make changes based on your thoughts and ideas. The floor planning and site planning is a refining process. It gets to an ideal floor plan for you because you have taken the time to consider alternatives. If during the process you don't feel as though you have a feel for the size of rooms. We'll visit homes we have built to give you a better understanding.
While the floor plans are being developed we start drawing true-to-scale exterior elevations by hand. Hand drawn elevations give you a better feel for the exterior than flat CAD drawn elevations. The exterior work comes after we are close to the correct floor plan, with minor changes possible. Developing a beautiful exterior like the floor planning, is a refining process. Our standard for how the elevations look is not "ok" or "good". We are not done until you "love" them. The initial elevation sketches will likely include either hand rendered perspective views or 3-D renderings.
After we are all satisfied with the floor plans, the site plan and the sketched exterior elevations and once they have meet the "love them" standard we move to the CAD (computer aided design) and engineering phase. During this phase the CAD drawn floor plans and the hand sketched elevations are mated in CAD. This allows us to do structural engineering and complete Construction Plan details to be used for bidding and the trades. Our plans are detailed enough to give the people doing the construction enough information so they never have to guess about details. We want the house built exactly as drawn. Our trade contractors understand this and are respectful of this.
If you haven't read the "how much does it cost section" you should take a look now. You will see that before we actually start making selections you were given a pretty good idea of what the selections are as we established the preliminary budget and specification for your house.
There are a few things you should know about selections. First, we have a definite order in which we select each item going into your home. Second, you'll have plenty of time to carefully consider each item you are going to select. -appliances, exterior materials, roofing, tile, flooring, lighting, cabinets, buit-ins, etc. Finally, making selections should be an enjoyable process, not a chore. Our system is designed to make it interesting and enjoyable. You basically move at your own speed within an ample schedule.
We have a selections schedule and a selection guide which makes selections a very organized process. We work with you each step of the way to help you as much as you want with advice, accompanying you on showroom visits, providing drawings when needed, etc. Most of the preliminary selections we referred to above are shown in our preliminary specification and budget. Here's a sample of one page from that document which shows items linked to an online source. That makes your preliminary research fairly simple. After you have a good idea of what you want, we show you samples or visit showrooms to see the exact items you are selecting.
It is important to stress that we anchor your selection process so it is not be stressful or overburdening to you.
A frequent topic is cost control while you are making selections. We attempt to make sure you understand each selection allowance before you sign a contract to build with us. It would be disingenious of us to say everyone lives within their budget allowances. In most cases you will go over one or more of you original allowances. That is not to say you can't live within your allowance. If you are very careful making selections you can live, plus or minus within 2% or 3% of the cost of the house. At the extreme some clients have gone up to 10 to 15% of the total cost. That is rare, but it has happened. It is typically the result of "creeping elegance", which is a tendency to upgrade finishes during construction beyond what was originally planned as you delve into each selection item. The point here is that you can live within you budget if we spend enough time doing our upfront budgeting.
The Construction Plans are finished. We applied for a permit while we started making our Pre-Construction Selections. The permit is ready. If we had a house to demolish, it is gone. We are ready to start the house.
Once the preliminary plans have been finished we gave you a construction schedule. The clock starts ticking when we put the shovel in the ground to dig the basement. We will meet that schedule. You will move in as planned as long as all the selections are made as scheduled and on time. Remember, we have built plenty of time into the schedule to make those selections in a relaxed manner with plenty of time.
So what can you expect. As you might imagine keeping you well informed. Every two weeks we provide you with a BI-WEEKLY UPDATE. That update tells you what you can expect to see happening on site in two week increments. In addition, we assign a project manager to each house and a site manager. You will come to know them very well and speak with they regularly during construction and your move-in period. They will give you weekly updates.
We know nothing is worse for a client than to not know what is going on with their house each day. We consciously give you enough information so you know exactly what is happening each week as you watch your house progress.
As the home progresses you will see how the selection schedule melds nicely with the work being done. You will quickly understand the construction process, timing and what to expect as each stage of construction occurs. For scheduling purposes we break down our overall schedule into major categories:
Excavation and Foundation - This is self explanatory, but it is great to see the house started.
Framing - The house takes shape floor by floor. It ends with the roof and windows in place.
Mechanical Stage - This is when we do heating, plumbing, electrical and the exterior finishing.
Drywall - Major stage. You can get a real feel for the room sizes, sunlight and living spaces.
Interior Trim - The finish details start to appear, crown, casing, built-ins, cabinets, flooring.
Interior Paint - We allow a block of time strictly for painting and staining.
Final Finishes - Counter tops, plumbing fixtures, hardware, shower doors, carpet and other finish details are installed at this stage. Move in is close.
Move-In - the anticipation of being in your new home is almost unbearable. But we need about a week to do a very thorough "move-in" cleaning of the house including duct cleaning. When we are finished everything should be white glove clean and the house is yours!
As we turn the house over to you we do a detailed walk through with you and explain the house and systems, room by room. During construction we collected all the manuals and warranties which came with each appliance, mechanical item, plumbing fixture etc. We turn those items over to you in an organized binder. Just before we insulate the house and drywall we took pictures of each interior wall showing the location of all wires, heat ducts and plumbing lines within the walls. We will give you a CD of the entire house. If you are doing any decorating which requires drilling holes in the walls, you will find the photos useful.
Next, you enjoy the house. In 60 days we will arrange a visit to make sure the house systems are performing correctly and correct any punch list items. We do the same type of walk through in 11 months just before your 12 month warranty period ends so we can correct any warranty items.
After that, if you like, our service division can help you with on going maintenance. Most of all we hope that we have created clients for life and that you thoroughly enjoy your new home.
RENOVATIONS – DESIGN –SELECTIONS - BUILD
Renovations come in all sizes. One could be a complete house. Another a part of a house. We might just be doing an exterior make over. We do then entire range.
THINKING about renovating a home you want to buy? That’s a lot of the work we do. We visit homes prospective clients are considering buying to tell them whether their proposed renovation makes sense. We think in terms of SMART RENOVATIONS or not so smart renovations.
Some existing homes lend themselves quite easily to renovating. It depends on what you want to accomplish. We have seen a lot of homes and done a lot of renovations.
Tell us what you want to accomplish. One visit with you and your Realtor and we can give you a good sense of what can be done and if it can be done cost effectively.
We do that at no cost to you or your Realtor. So feel free to ask us to HELP.
Design makes the house. It’s ALL the parts of the design phase – the floor plans, site plan, exterior and interior details. The design will impact value. It will impact how well you enjoy. Here’s an overview of the design process we follow. Click any topic to learn more about how we do it.
Selections are important. So we make sure you have
plenty of time to do them. We SCHEDULE them to keep
ahead of construction to avoid delays.