The following will give you an idea of the step-by-step stages of Archaeo’s architect/client relationship, as we work from start to finish. It is our intention that – if we become your architect – you feel informed, confident, and knowledgeable about the process.
Our goal is to orchestrate a design and building procedure that you will look back on fondly as a rich and fulfilling experience.
We’re suggesting that you read this through while you’re considering having us design your house. It will give you a view of how meticulous we are, as we make sure that everything you ask for, and everything we design, is translated exactly into your home.
In this first stage we gather as much information as possible; about you, about the house you’d like to live in, the site you have, or will, choose. We’ll ask you about how you live: Do you entertain a lot? Large gatherings, or small? Intimate dinner parties that require you spending a lot of time in the kitchen? Do you have hobbies, personal routines that are particularly important? When you enter the house is it through the kitchen, the front door, the garage?
We’ll ask you to share pictures of homes and features of homes you like – interiors and exteriors – images off the Internet, cut from magazines, photographs you’ve taken. We’ll ask you about homes you’ve lived in, homes you’ve visited, potent memories from childhood, vacation locales: what you liked, didn’t like, what you would change.
As we get to know your more intangible feelings about the house you’d like, we’ll also be concentrating extensively on its more tangible, functional aspects. We will need to determine four primary aspects of your home: scope, quality, schedule and budget. We’ll also want to know such things as:
These are just some of the aspects of your house we’ll be going over with you as we get a clearer idea of the house you’d like us to design for you.
During this time, we’ll go over your budget for the house and give you a rough estimate of what we think the final overall cost will be, and the length of time to finish construction.
Please remember, however, that construction costs are unpredictable, and our estimate is just that: an estimate, which can be greatly influenced by external events beyond our control or our ability to predict.
After we’ve collaborated with you in gathering all the information about the “feel” of your home and your specific functional requirements, we will begin the creative part of the process. Our intention is to incorporate everything in Stage 1 into the design, to create for you a house of architectural elegance that will uniquely express you and your aspirations.
In this stage, we’ll create:
What we will have created up to this point (Stage 2) is the “basic design”. After reviewing with you what we’ve done so far, we’ll ask for your approval to go ahead to Stage 3 and fill in more of the details.
Now we begin to advance the design you approved at the end of the previous stage. We’ll bring in structural engineers and other consultants. We’ll create more detailed drawings, including a roof plan, and interior elevations (what the rooms will look like when you’re standing at various points inside them). There’ll be more 3D images to give you a “feel” for what the house is going to be like, including more detail about the finishes and materials.
The design we create in Stage 3 will give contractors a firmer grasp of what it will take for them to build your home. At this point we’ll be able to submit the information to a contractor or contractors, so they can provide a preliminary estimate of the cost of your home. In discussions with contractors, we will sit in on the conversation as an advisor to you and will clarify any issues the contractor may have. By the end of this stage, you’ll have a fairly good estimate of what your home will likely cost, within +/- 5% to 10%.
This stage for us is the most detail-oriented part of our services. Although some architectural firms may hand off to the builder a complete set of plans with as few as 10 or 12 sheets, for us a set of plans that contains 50 to 60 sheets is the norm. We want to be sure that every detail of your house will reflect your vision (Stage 1) as accurately as possible.
We specify details concerning:
During this stage we create a “project manual” for your house that details all the lighting fixtures, appliances, plumbing fixtures, door and cabinet hardware, etc. We also provide to your builder detailed construction requirements (type of concrete, level of paint finishes, etc.) based on industry standards and on specifications our engineers have provided at this stage of design. At the end of construction, this information will be combined with information you’ll receive from the contractor, so that five or ten years from now if you need to replace something, you’ll have a record from which to refer.
We use three-dimensional architectural software that allows us, throughout the design and construction process, to create as many perspectives, walk-throughs, sections, etc. as may be necessary for you and the contractor to fully understand the design intent. Many other firms still work in a two dimensional framework. We have found the 3D imaging process is an invaluable tool in creating excellent thoroughness.
Once the construction drawings are complete, we issue them to the contractor for a firm contractual bid. At the same time, we apply for the necessary permits. Now construction can begin.
Even though the fully detailed plans for your house have now been completed and given to your builder, we at Archaeo still have work ahead of us. During this stage our office provides oversight of the construction process by collaborating with your contractor at the construction site. We want to make sure that your house is an exact translation of the house you and Archaeo created during the initial stages.
Another part of our oversight during this phase is double-checking with the contractor to ensure that supply orders, such as windows, doors, hardware, lighting, etc. are ordered in a timely fashion and delivered to the site and installed as specified in the plans.
We also oversee your contractor’s monthly applications to you for payment as each stage of construction is finished: Is the work in compliance with the plans? Is it complete as described? When all is in order, we notify you that payment for that part of construction is approved by us, and you can then release the funds to your contractor.
After construction has finally been completed, and the contractor is about to pack up and leave the premises, Archaeo goes through the entire house from top to bottom, inspecting everything – flushing toilets, turning on lights, running the furnace, opening and closing windows and doors, turning on the stove, etc. At the end of this tour of your house, we issue a “punch list” (a list of corrections and/or refinements for the builder) that, in some instances, can run to numerous pages of items that need to be modified, fixed or replaced.
You can now move in, but for us it’s still not over.
Eleven months from the date construction is finished and you are now in your home, Archaeo will arrive at your house one more time to go over it room by room with a fine-tooth comb. This time, we make sure that anything that falls within your 12-month guarantee can be repaired or replaced at no charge to you, while your warranty is still in effect.
Please let us know if we can provide any additional clarifications. We want to be sure you are entirely comfortable and fully informed about our services.
We strive to exceed your expectations and thank you for your interest in Archaeo Architects.