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Home Information and Links What an Architect Does

What an Architect Does

What I Do

A common concern is what I do for you during a project.

In a nutshell, when we begin we will get together and discuss what you hope to achieve with the project. This first meeting is typically no cost, as a get-to-know-you meeting. From this discussion I give you a proposal/agreement. If you decide to go ahead, we will meet again to go over your needs in greater depth. Before anything starts, I review the current zoning of your district and make sure that in general you can do what you are thinking about.

Schematic Design: I will then do a general measuring and survey of the house (and property if necessary. For a bigger project a survey may be needed), sit with you again to discuss the ideas further, and then draw up base plans to design with and work up initial ideas for the plans. I typically work up the ideas in 3-D to see how the inside and outside could look, meet with you to go over it all, and refine the ideas that we decide to go with into greater specificity. I like the design process to be interactive, and believe strongly that this sort of collaboration produces the best possible outcome from a functional and aesthetic perspective.

For a new home or a complicated site or addition, there is the coordination with a civil engineer or with any pre-prepared site elements, and then the assessment of the opportunities that site has for the orientation of the house.

Development and documentation: Once you agree to a design, I continue to refine the design. We meet again to go over the more fully developed design, and then I develop the construction documents including the blueprints of the plans, outside elevations, cross-sections and details and any structural information that might be needed. I also lay out the new outlets, lighting and coordinate heating/air-conditioning locations, and write up specifications of all the materials, fixtures and other things needed to build the project. For a new home, there will be civil engineering and site development plans, additional structural plans, land use and utility plans and others as a town may require.

These drawings are good for the permit application and give the builder and you the big picture and the details needed to bid and to build.

Construction: During the construction phase, I am available for questions, and can visit the site regularly to review the progress, answer questions or resolve discrepancies or unforeseen conditions, and generally make sure you are getting what you paid for.

For fees, I usually define the scope upfront and work with a lump sum fee derived in part from a percentage of the assumed construction cost, from similar projects and an assessment of the difficulty of the project. I can also work on an hourly basis, giving you a budget number to work against, which will allow us to work on the best solution to the entire project taking only as much time as necessary.  Depending on the extent of the project, I can also do a separate preliminary design stage for a set fee, and then determine the final construction drawing production costs from the project that emerges. A design-build arrangement with a GC is also an option.

Thanks. Please feel free to contact me to go any questions you may have.  Don