Our Process

I take pride in providing highly personalized and responsive service to my clients. Although my firm works on many different size projects, including churches, medical buildings, and various commercial buildings, I find the process is remarkably similar for many building types, including renovation and addition projects.

The following is a typical scenario of complete architectural service for your new, beautiful, energy-efficient Sun-Earth Home.

Here is how we will work together as Client and Architect:

I. Preliminary Phase:

A. Site Visit:

My service typically begins with a visit to the proposed building site with discussion about the pros and cons of various house locations. Sometimes we visit multiple possible sites. During this visit and afterward, you will tell me your needs and desires in regard to your new home, including number and type of rooms, budget, time frame, etc. I then compile your information in a written Program of Space Needs. The Program is a descriptions of the problem to be solved. After review and discussion we may revise this Program as you direct.

B. Area Relationship Diagram(s):

With Program in hand, I return to my studio and begin the process of design. The first step is to translate the Program into a Plan Diagram where rooms and spaces are represented by circles. Travel paths are shown. The purpose of this Diagram is to show what spaces should be adjacent to what other spaces — for smoothly functioning floor plan — without being concerned about size or shape of the rooms or home at this time. After discussion we may revise this “Bubble Diagram” as you direct. Alternate Diagrams may be explored.

C. Plan Diagram(s):

After the Area Relationship Diagrams are agreed upon, I prepare more formalized Plan Diagrams which represents walls by single lines and show the general size of rooms and required furniture. Since the diagrams are now drawn on the computer, we can begin to better understand the amount of floor area required in the Program. A site diagram is also prepared showing the position of the house and driveway on the site, as well as direction of sun, wind and views. At this time we will discuss square foot costs and the resultant range of total costs that may be expected when bid by local custom-home contractors. In light of this information, we may revise the Plan Diagram.

D. Preliminary Design Drawings:

Once I receive your approval of the Plan Diagrams, I will create computer-drawn, dimensioned, Preliminary Drawings which show the overall size and appearance of the home. These drawings are developed in several teps with your approval of each step, prior to proceeding. The final Preliminary Drawing Package typically includes dimensioned Site Plan, Floor Plans, Cross Sections and Exterior Elevation views. If you wish I can also prepare a cardboard model or 3-D computer model presentation.

II. Bidding Phase:

A. Bid Package Preparation:

The object of this phase is to get an idea on what your Project will cost before we spend time developing Final Working Drawings.

First, the Preliminary Design Drawings are revised and changed into Preliminary Working Drawings that provide more detailed information about the project, which the contractors bidding the job will need. The goal is to provide enough information that is uniform so that several contractors can provide good apples-to-apples bidding. Even with my excellent architectural drawings, experience has shown that bids from equally qualified contractors may range in cost as much as 50% from high to low — which illustrates the wisdom of taking advantage of the marketplace by getting multiple bids using professionally prepared bid documents.

The work product of this phase is the Bid Package which includes revised Preliminary Drawings plus the addition of roof plan, framing plan(s), foundation plan, outline specifications, etc. Dollar allowances are provided for as yet undefined items such as lighting, floor coverings, electric wiring, heating and air-conditioning, etc.

You review and approve the Bid Package before release to the Contractors.

B. Bidding:

After I distribute the Bid Package to you and the bidders, I answer any questions the bidders have and then evaluate the bids received from them. I place these bids on a Spreadsheet for easy line-item comparison. This excellent method exposes all prices to view so there is nothing hidden.

I then meet with you to discuss these bids and also the qualifications of bidders. You may wish to personally interview each bidder and see samples of his or her work. Finally, with my assistance you will select a General Contractor and send a Letter of Intent selecting him or her to do the job if all else is satisfactory.

We then convert the Preliminary Working Drawings used for Bidding into Final Working Drawings and Specifications (Contract Documents) by adding structural, electrical, lighting fixture and interior design information. These documents define in detail the materials and methods to be used and are the basis of the Contract. I then collaborate with you and the contractor on contract terms and prepare a Contract for signatures.

IV. Construction Administration Phase:

During the construction phase, I provide Construction Administration Service as your Representative to check that the project is being built according to the Drawings and Specifications. This includes site visits, reports, telephone calls, additional drawings, authorization of pay requests and change orders, preparation of final item lists, etc. I assist the contractor in finding materials and am available round-the-clock for questions. When your job is complete, at your request, I do a final inspection and approve your final payment to the Contractor.

Gary Watrous, Architect