Architects are often asked how the process of a house design project works.  Well, that depends on many factors, which vary greatly between projects and clients.  However, there are two general types of residential projects – new construction homes and addition/remodeling to existing homes.  For SKL Architecture, LLC, here is a summary of the process of each of those types of projects.

For a new, custom-designed home, it starts with a conversation between the architect and potential client(s).  This could be a meeting in person, a phone call, or an exchange of emails.  Ideally, there would be an idea of style, square footage, desired rooms/spaces, special/preferred features, budget, and possibly location. The client may not know everything at this point, which is completely acceptable. During this conversation, the architect will go through a checklist to help guide the client with providing helpful information.  If a construction location is already selected, a site visit may also take place during this time.  After enough information is gathered, the architect will put together a Proposal of Services for the potential client to review.  Once both the client(s) and the architect agree upon the terms of the Proposal, the client(s) will sign the contract and provide a deposit. Until this Proposal is signed, there is no charge.
Once the documents are in order, the design portion of the project will begin.   The architect will come up with a number of design concepts. These will be reviewed with the client(s) to get feedback and possibly narrow them down to one or two preferred schemes. After some likely revisions and the schemes are acceptable by the client, it is then a good time to get some contractors/builders to provide some quick pricing estimates. This will help assure the project is still on track with budget.   The architect will work with both the client and any potential contractors to get the design to meet budget while maintaining as many desired features as possible. Once that point is reached, the project can move into the construction document phase, resulting in a set of drawings useable for permit and construction.

For work done on an existing house, things start out a little differently than with a new house. Although there would still be a conversation discussing all of the desires for the new portion of the home, a site visit to the existing house is critical. It is extremely important for the architect to understand the layout and structural elements of the existing house, and to see where the new work is to be performed. Usually, the first meeting is at the existing house, and includes the discussion of new work. After this meeting, the architect would put together a Proposal of Services, just like that provided for new construction. An additional service that would be included in the Proposal is field measuring and drafting drawings of the existing structure as required for the project. Similar to the description of new construction projects, once this Proposal is signed and a deposit is provided, the design work would begin. After that, the process is just about the same.
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