How It Works

Growing Out of your House? Need more space? Or maybe just better space? Dreaming of a new home? The first step is to contact Katrina for a consultation.

Katrina will evaluate your options based on your specific zoning requirements, property size, existing conditions and construction requirements. After the initial consultation Katrina will put together a proposal for  architectural services.  Once a signed proposal has been sent back, your project will be added to the project list.  Please note that Katrina often books out 2 – 6 months at a time, depending on the time of year.

Plan ahead!!!!

The overall process can take much longer than expected.

Once design work is started, the average new home takes about 4 months to complete the design work and documents for permit & construction.  Depending on the project size and scope some projects may take longer.  The amount of time to obtain permits varies widely on the jurisdiction and how busy they are.  Some jurisdictions will turn around plans in a few weeks but most will take 2 to 6 months!!!

Besides getting on Katrina’s schedule, the other first steps are to have a full property survey completed by a licensed surveyor and a soils report prepared by a geotechnical engineer. Katrina can provide references for both services that provide quality work.  Katrina will also help coordinate what is required for both based on the unique qualities of the property and the scope of work. 

Before you invest in services and reports, talk to your bank!

A construction loan cannot be issued without permit plans. However, your banker should be able to discuss your finances and general plans to help you determine an appropriate budget.  Construction loans involve different paperwork, procedures and funding methods when compared to many other loan types. Preparing your documentation ahead of time will help maintain a smooth process.  It is also helpful to talk with a contractor ahead of time.  Construction costs have risen significantly in recent years.  Understanding the current cost of construction is important before starting the design process.

We are ready to start the architectural work! Before design work starts we will have a kick off meeting. We will discuss all design elements about your new home goals including the function of each space, appliance sizes, ideal furniture layouts, indoor / outdoor connectivity, design aesthetic, energy efficiency goals, etc. It is extremely helpful to start collecting photos of interior spaces and exterior homes that have elements that you like.   Photos are an extremely helpful method of communicating your design aesthetic.

Katrina will start the design process by exploring various design options for your home. All design work is done in 3D so that we can work on a comprehensive design of the space and not just a floor plan.  3D interior and exterior renderings will be presented for your review and to get a full understanding of what your finished spaces / home will look like.  See the tab under In Design Photos Construction for an example of typical design renderings.

Through a series of meetings and correspondence the design will be further developed until all goals have been achieved.  At that time there will be a complete DD (Design Development) set of plans.  These plans will include the 3D model, site plan, zoning analysis, floor plans, roof plan and exterior elevations.  The design will be complete but the plans are not yet detailed for construction or permit.

In addition to the architecture plans, survey and soils report there are various other required plans.  The requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Below is a list of what is typically required. Katrina will coordination which of the following is needed and with the engineers as required to complete the plans. 

  • Structural plans
  • Mechanical design
  • Ejector pit design (urban lots)
  • Shoring design (city lots)
  • Well design if there is no water service
  • Sewer design if there is no sewer service
  • Civil plans in some jurisdictions or if the lot is extremely steep

At this time the project kicks into CDs (Construction Documents).  The CD’s will contain the information required to obtain a permit, for bidding the plans and for the contractor to build the project.  The Architect coordinates with the Engineers at this time to create a more detailed set of plans.

A typical set of architectural CDs for a new home will have the following drawings:

* Site Plan with zoning analysis

* Building code study

* Detailed floor plans for each level with keynotes to provide further information

* Roof plan

* Exterior elevations of all sides

* Several building sections with construction requirements

*Construction notes

*Insulation specifications, energy details & requirements

* Details of any unique conditions or custom details

* Diagrammatic electrical lighting fixture and switching plan for each level

Once the plans are completed they are ready to submit for permit and to be bid out. Depending on the jurisdiction either Katrina or the contractor will submit the plans for permit.   

There are two routes to go with selecting a contractor. The first is to select a contractor prior to starting the design process. The contractor can add value to the process by ensuring the design stays on budget. The second route is to select a contractor after the plans are complete. You can select a couple contractors to bid out the job.

Once the bids have come in you can select your contractor, not only by cost but by also evaluating other aspects of the contractor.  When construction is busy and contractors do not need to be competitive, it is difficult to have more than one contractor bid your plans.  It is extremely time consuming to bid out a set of plans.  During those times it is best to select a contractor ahead of time to get on their schedule.   Once the permit has been issued and a contractor has been selected it is time to start construction.