1. Initial interview meeting:
a. Meet at the designer’s office to discuss the scope of the clients’ project.
b. Bring with you any ideas and pictures you may have that reflect the style/look that you want for your new home.
c. Also bring a copy of your lot survey and deed restriction.
d. Extensive notes will be taken by the designer of things such as your budget, square footage requirements, design ideas, etc.
e. Next, the Design Agreement is signed by both the client and designer and a down payment check is issued, by the client, to begin the preliminary design process.
f. This step usually takes around 2-3 hours.
2. A site visit at the lot:
a. This can be done on the initial interview day or at another time, but should be done before any time is spent drawing preliminary plans.
b. The site will be evaluated for overall lay or slope of the land, the location and direction of the best views and objectionable ones, potential home location, direction of the sun’s path across the property, sunny/shady/windy areas, trees to be saved, any special natural features noted and the logical entrance to property for the driveway.
c. Determine whether a well and septic tank system will be used or the availability of water, sewer and gas line hook-ups.
d. Setback lines and easements will also be discussed.
f. This meeting will last between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
3. The designer will then review all of the information compiled and begin the preliminary design process:
a. First a rough concept sketch will be drawn on the site plan to determine the best size and shape for the lot.
b. Then a larger sketch will be started of the ideas that come to mind first, starting a basic floor plan and overlays of other ideas will be drawn to show alternatives.
c. Generally all floor plan levels will be sketched and the start of a front elevation will be generated.
4. Once the sketches are prepared and copies made, a review meeting will be set for the designer to present the ideas to the client for discussion:
a. Additional overlay sketches may be drawn during this meeting as additional ideas and changes are discussed.
b. A copy of all drawings will be given to the client to take home to digest and discuss the information further. This step should be a minimum of a week, since it sometimes will take at least that much time for the client to think of all the possibilities they would like to discuss at the next meeting.
5. The next review meeting will be held to discuss the changes made to the plans, since the last meeting and the new ideas that came to mind after the meeting.
a. Again, overlays may be drawn of the potential new ideas.
b. The front elevation will also be discussed and ideas for the other three elevations, as well.
c. The review meetings will generally take 1-2 hours.
6. This will lead to another review meeting:
a. Generally all the changes discussed to date will have been made to this point and all the exterior elevations will have been roughly outlines.
7. Final preliminary plans:
a. Once all the changes have been made to the floor plans and the exterior elevations, the final square footage can then be calculated.
b. There will be copies made of these drawings and the site plan drawing for your use in obtaining preliminary pricing from at least three builders.
c. This gives the client the opportunity to make sure that what they wish to build will be within the budget range they want to stay within. Also, the builder may have suggestions on things such as material changes that could help to keep the project within budget.
d. This phase will generally take 3-5 weeks.
e. The time spent in design and review meetings will be compiled and any additional money owed to the designer will be paid at this time.
8. Construction Plans:
a. When the client gives the designer the go-ahead to start the construction plans, a downpayment of half of this fee will be paid to the designer to begin.
b. All the drawings necessary to complete the project will be drawn, as outlines in the design agreement.
c. Then the designer will send these plans to the Structural Engineer for review. He will add the necessary structural information to the plans and his seal.
d. After all these steps have been taken, prints will be run of the complete set of plans. A total of 5 sets are provided to the client at this time, included in the fee.
e. The balance of the construction drawing fee will be due to the designer at the time of delivery of the plans. The Engineer’s fee will also be due.
f. Additional sets of prints will be run, as needed, after this and will be charged according to the number of sets.