Frequently Asked Questions

What types of projects have you worked on before?

We have been designing buildings for the last 40 years. Our scope of work has included elementary schools, state school student housing, banks, car washes, strip malls, commercial offices, house remodels, senior citizen housing, apartments, town houses, condominiums and our specialty: custom residences.

Can you accommodate any style requests?

We have the ability to work in various styles depending on your preferences, site conditions, neighborhood, construction and zoning parameters. From modern to historical, Spanish to craftsman, name it and we can do it!

What are the first steps?

We would love to meet you in person! There is no charge for this meeting and it is intended to introduce our firm and to assess the architectural needs on hand. Typically we begin with creating a list of your wishes, desires and problems to be solved before gathering photographs or web links for reference. We can often brainstorm many ideas in this initial meeting just based on budgetary constraints and city planning department restrictions. At the conclusion of the meeting we should have enough information to be able to offer a proposal or contract for architectural services.

What is the architectural process like?

The architectural services following the as-built phase are broken down into three stages of development:
1. Schematic Design: General design concepts are explored (three as standard scope of services). This phase includes plans only, as this is primarily an organizational study.
2. Design Development: Addition of finish selections and more detailed drawings or models of a single design concept. In this stage, we'll also consider finishes such as exterior cladding types, roof coverings and flooring.
3. Construction Documentation: Technical aspects of the building are solidified. At this stage, design decisions have been made and we are concentrating on developing a set of required architectural drawings. At the conclusion of this process, we would be able to submit plans to the local jurisdiction for plan check review. After which, permits will be issued.

How long does it take?

Schematic design generally takes approximately two months at a comfortable pace, allowing the owner enough time to absorb, contribute to the process and make decisions. This is a guideline and can be expedited if needed. Both design development and construction documentation usually take about one month each, depending on the size of the project. In all of these stages, the limitation is not our ability or our dedication to your project. It is our desire to work collaboratively with you and reflect your design interests—and that is time consuming. We believe taking time ensures you don't feel rushed because a better planned project is more cost effective and of higher quality. But, we can always move faster if needed.

Are there other professional services besides architectural that are required as part of the submittal to the municipal plan check?

Yes. These almost always include structural engineering and Title 24 energy compliance calculations. Depending on the project, other required services may include surveying and additional engineering such as geotechnical, electrical and mechanical. These are not included in the architectural fees and are paid for by the owner as additional services.

What about structural engineering? Is this required?

Structural engineering is required on almost every project. We have a close working relationship with DEJ Engineering. Our contribution is to document the on-site conditions and create architectural plans from which the structural engineer will work. It is a time savings to the engineer because they do not need to have their staff do the survey work. Consequently, the structural engineer service will be less expensive for the client as compared to hiring the structural engineer directly. We have a close working relationship with DEJ Engineering with whom we share an office. We have found this relationship to be a valuable asset to the client as it facilitates coordination between our two offices and ultimately saves the client time and money.

What can I anticipate in the way of City based fees?

"Soft costs" that are typically incurred include plan check submittal are fees which are assessed by the individual city or county we are doing work in. These vary widely and have a complicated tax structure that makes it difficult for us to estimate what these are exactly.

The cost of the building permit is part of the construction services and is not part of Architectural services; this may also include school tax and other fees. The contractor on the project usually bills for these fees as a reimbursable expense as they are a significant. Permitting costs vary widely.

Are there any projects too large or too small?

Size is not the limitation for us—doing quality, interesting and innovative architecture is! We even enjoy doing something as small as a furniture piece or as large as a mall if it meets our simple criteria.