DESIGN + BUILD: The Process And The Way I Typically Work
1. Initial Conversation. A client contacts me and we have an initial phone conversation, during the course of which the project scope is defined. We will often talk about the project’s “program” (a new house, a remodel, a coffee shop or warehouse renovation), and this will include discussion of square footage, time frame and budgetary target (see my short blog post on budgetary targets and discussions).
2. Site Visit. Once we have had the initial conversation, I like to make a site visit. This helps me to get a better sense of the project and what it will entail. It also gives us a chance to meet for the first time, have coffee and further discuss the project and what you (the perspective client) are trying to accomplish. Based on this discussion, I create a project outline. The Project Outline is an initial overview of the investment range, project size and level of finish needed to meet the goals set forth in previous meetings. Once I have developed this, I submit it to you for review, revision (if necessary) and approval.
3. Contract Phase. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. Once the project outline has been approved, I create a contract where I spell out the scope of the project and responsibilities , the general time frame, and the schedule of payments breakdown. As I am both the Project Architect and the General Contractor, the cost for all services will be reflected in a single sum; however, this sum won’t be firmly established ye, only estimated. We can’t price something until that something is clearly defined, and this will happen in the design phase. So, at this phase I ask for a small retainer (2.5%-5% of the estimated project budget, the number depending upon the size and complexity of the project). Upon your approval of the parameters set forth in the project outline and once the contract is signed and the retainer paid, design begins.
4. Designing The Project. The duration of this phase will vary depending upon project size and complexity, but this phase is really exciting and fulfilling. I develop 2-D and 3-D computational models very quickly. This allows us to accurately see the project spatially, and to easily make changes. By the time we are done, I will have built the project virtually.
5. Construction. Here we go…I structure everything in phases. Each phase is associated w/ a payment that is a percentage of the overall budget. For example, on a new construction project, the phase breakdown looks like this…
• Phase 1- Site work (civil engineering if necessary, any clearing of land, driveways built, installation of septic, etc…)is done and inspected by local building inspectional services.
• Phase 2- Foundation is done and inspected by local building inspectional services.
• Phase 3- Rough Framing(deck, walls, roof) and inspected by local building inspectional services.
• Phase 4: Weather Tight Building Envelope (roofing done, windows and exterior doors installed, cladding in place).
• Phase 4.1 (some overlap here)Rough plumbing is done and inspected by local building inspectional services.
• Phase 5: Rough electrical is done and inspected by local building inspectional services.
• Phase 6: Insulation is installed and inspected by local building inspectional services.
• Phase 7: Interior wall skin applied- blue board and plaster or sheetrock , taping and skim coat.
• Phase 8: Any cabinetry (kitchen, bathroom, etc…) that is specified is installed.
• Phase 9: Finish electrical and Plumbing is done and inspected by local building inspectional services.
• Phase 10: Finish carpentry and detailing is done.
• Phase 11: Finish painting and surface treatments are done.
• Phase 12: Punch list
Renovations follow a similar but slightly modified trajectory.