The following list of questions has been organized in a start to completion order…
How do you know what we want in a home Design?
Find some pictures out of magazines, photographs of exterior homes you like or sketch something on a piece of paper, these are very helpful for us to understand your tastes. Your tastes on the exterior can play a big role in how we put the interior together. Equally important is what you want in your home, give some thought about the basic layout and flow.
Your budget is also going to play a role in the square foot and detail of your home. In this day and age, it’s hard to get everything we want, it’s also hard to get everything we need. I do my best to get all the things you need into the design and as much of the things you want. However, there are times when something needs to be compromised, so give some thought to the priority of the things you want and need in your new home.
On the exterior, think about what materials you want to use… brick, stone, vinyl, wood or a combination of them, window trim… wood surround, shutters, flower boxes, etc.
Can we view the design prior to a lot of cost and detail?
You sure can. In fact, a preliminary plan is drawn first so you can see and verify that the layout is what you’re looking for. The preliminary plan can be marked up as necessary before we continue onto the final drawings.
If you like we can make a 1/4 scale copy and set up another appointment to go over the plans, whatever works best for you. If you are from out of state or far enough out of the area we can do a net meeting – an online meeting where I can share my screen and look at your plan in the CAD software.
What do you charge for a custom design plan?
Plan costs vary depending on the detail and size of the house. Plans are priced as a basic and standard house design (a square and simple house). Any jogs, porches, angled walls, specially designed roofs, dormers, bay windows, wall heights, etc. will be charged separately. Average cost calculation of most plans is 1.20 cents per square foot.
Do you charge for consultation time?
Included in the base cost of the plan is two free hours of consultation time. Usually, this will cover the time needed to do the complete plan. If more time is needed a cost of $85.00 per hour will be charged to the final plan costs. If additional office visits are made, or lengthy phone calls made by you or the contractor, a bill will be emailed out with a list of the visits and/or phone calls.
When and How do we pay for our plans?
The costs are broken down typically into two parts. If you are a contractor, who would like to use our continual services you will receive a bill for half the cost of the plan when the first layout or design phase (the preliminary plan) is started. The final cost will be due after the completion of the full set of construction-ready plans.
If you are a customer who is going to contract your own house or will have a contractor build your home, the cost will also be broken down typically into two parts. Half the cost of the plan is due when we start the design phase (the preliminary plans) and before it can be taken from the office or emailed. The final cost will be due upon the completion of the full set of construction-ready plans and before it can be taken from the office or emailed out.
If the plan stays in the design phase because of design alternatives being explored, or extra time is needed for review, a second and third preliminary bill may be issued and due upon receipt. If a plan is not completed for any reason, the Owner will be billed for any remaining hours and payment due upon receipt of the invoice.
The final payment will list the details and prices according to the price list found on the Custom Design Fees page. The final payment is due upon receipt.
Can we make changes to the design?
You can make as many changes to the plan as you like. We charge two different ways for changes made to the plan: Design & Rework.
Design relates first to the initial layout of the floor plan and elevations. It can also relate to changes to the design that require further thought of how something will be put together. The cost of design time is $85.00 per hour. In cases where the plan has been pre-designed, design time may not be charged. If we design a plan, our design time will vary in most cases from one to six hours and maybe more for very large and complex homes.
Rework relates to most of the changes made to a plan after it’s been through the preliminary stage. The cost of rework is $85.00 per hour.
Do you use a computer or drafting table to draw your plans?
I have been using a computer for over 30 years now to design and draw house plans. When designing on a computer there is no limit as to what can be achieved. The drawing objects can be moved or stretched in any configuration to obtain the perfect house plan design.
I have been asked if we can rotate the house so it can be viewed from a different perspective. I am happy to say that we can, however, we are a production minded company to keep costs down and use the 3D geometry to generate the elevation views for detailing later. The 3D model we generate can be used to view alternative structural and roof designs. But we do not take the model further as that requires a great amount of time and costs.
I have done extensive programming in AutoCAD’s programming languages and have made it a great designing and drawing platform. While I do still own my drafting table from 38 years ago I can’t fathom the thought of going back to it. The one thing I’m glad I no longer have to do is tell the customer that the change they want will require a new sheet of paper, (we have to start over.)
Since I have been designing on the computer I have come to the conclusion that a lot of houses that were built in the past came to a point in the design phase where someone said, “That’s good enough”. Because your drawing is on the computer, you have my guarantee your design will never be just “good enough”; it will be exactly what you want.