DESIGN : We provide excellent design, typically within the context of standard construction practices. We listen to the specific needs of you, the client to provide an aesthetic, highly functional space. All design is done with extra consideration for the particulars of our clients' needs. Our careful space planning and design provides the client with better functioning spaces and circulation. Often, our design has helped make additions on smaller in-town lots more feasible. This attention to detail in planning has maintained a “reasonable” size of projects and the corresponding construction costs. Our spaces “work.” In commercial design such as doctors’ offices, our space planning has made for efficient, step saving offices.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTION: Our thorough construction documents help clients get accurate construction pricing from their contractors, whether they are negotiating with a single contractor or whether they are receiving competitive bids. Our construction documents are based on a good knowledge of both standard construction practices and what special work can be done when required. The combination of our architectural practice and our previous construction experience have provided a solid background for assisting clients in working with their contractors. Once the construction is begun, our thorough construction documents help the contractor provide the client with a smoother construction process. There are times during the construction where our expertise – observations of the construction, draw request review and approval, review based on unforeseen field conditions, review of minor changes the client may want to make, etc. – is very useful. However, the thoroughness of the construction documents help the client work with their contractor with less need of our services during the construction process than is required with less complete documents.
ADDITIONS AND MODIFICATIONS TO RESIDENCES make up the bulk of our work, our “specialty”. The addition may be so large that it fully encompasses the original house, changing the character of the preexisting structure. But, our typical addition is more modest and in character with the existing house and neighborhood. We have been very successful in our work in historic neighborhoods such as Druid Hills (Atlanta and DeKalb County), Grant Park and Whittier Mill (Atlanta), the Historic Downtown Area of Dahlonega and the 3-Rivers Area of Rome, GA; historic houses and residential loft buildings; and in neighborhoods of a period character which do not have a historic designation. Additions also include numerous front and rear porches, leaving the “heated” space unchanged. Some of our modifications have been limited to the rework of the interior of the existing house such as kitchen, bath, and basement reworks; basement and attic build outs; and opening up and combining of rooms for a more contemporary flow. We have done modifications to condominium apartments and build-outs of loft apartments.
NEW RESIDENTIAL WORK is custom for individual clients as well as for builders. Our new residential work includes primary residences, vacation houses and second homes, and better homes for “spec” builders. The style of the new work has varied widely – traditional, country French, Tudor, prairie style/contemporary, coastal, etc.
RESIDENTIAL CHARACTER AND RESIDENTIAL SCALE work includes new townhouse office buildings, counseling center additions, a new clubhouse, a fraternity house renovation, and new and modified mixed use residential/office.
SPACE DESIGN AND COMMERCIAL BUILD-OUTS is another portion of our business. These include therapy offices; doctors’ offices, MRI suites, and other diagnostic centers; professional offices; and stores, cafés, and restaurants.
CONSULTATIONS AND OTHER SERVICES include: Construction Consultations where full design and document services have not been required (helping a client work with a contractor, beam and header design for opening of spaces, innovative solutions to design and construction problems, etc.).
Feasibility Consultations for clients who are purchasing houses for future modifications and additions.
Construction Cost “Guesses” of projects which clients are contemplating (These are useful “guesses” because of our understanding of scope of work. However, it is the often changing construction costs and the contractor’s pricing that determines the cost of construction. When we provide costs, we strongly recommend verification of our expected range of cost with a contractor’s idea of cost). Negotiation and Construction Observation for clients working with contractors on repair work, including for Insurance Claims. Expert Witness services for houses.
OUR WORK WITH YOU, THE CLIENT FOR FULL SERVICE ADDITIONS AND MODIFICATIONS BEGINNING THE DESIGN PROCESS/PROGRAMMING: Our services begin with a meeting with you. This is at your home for additions and modifications or at our office for new construction (sometimes it is useful to have a first meeting at the site for new construction). At this meeting we hear your thoughts and the direction or directions you have for the design. For changes to an existing house or space, we help you determine the best direction for the work. For new work, we take into consideration site conditions. From your thoughts concerning the work and from the existing conditions we develop a program. Following the meeting we send you a proposal for providing you with architectural services. This proposal includes the program in a general manner, a statement of fees, a synopsis of the design process, and a general listing of the documents we will provide you for the work. Our fees are generally stated as hourly rates with an expected range of total fees. We find that stating our fees as hourly with an expected range works best for working in a flexible manner with you. We have and will better define our services and provide fixed fees for builders and custom project clients who prefer fixed fees.
EXISTING CONDITIONS INFORMATION: For most additions and for new work, we need a survey from you. This may be a survey you have from a closing when you purchased the house or property. Often we need a new survey. For new surveys, you order the survey with instructions from us for what is required on the survey. Or, as an additional service, we can order the survey. For changes to an existing house or a commercial build-out we measure the house or space as is required for the changes. We draw the existing conditions as is required for the changes. This is often a large amount of our services.
SCHEMATIC DESIGN AND SCHEMATIC DESIGN CONFERENCE: We do a design or designs based on your program. Sometimes the design or designs will have different options. Sometimes, instead of us doing the design and presenting you with the design, we do the first sketches with you and then we use the sketches to do the schematic design. Our schematic design is generally only floor plans. Sometimes we include an exterior elevation and sketches to help explain the schematics. You meet with us and review the schematic design. Where there are different designs or design options you tell us what works best for you. On rare occasions we make extensive changes to the schematic design which require a second schematic design and second schematic design conference. If the schematic design is about correct for your work, the schematic design drawings can be used for a first guess of the construction cost by a contractor (or by an estimating service).
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE: We incorporate the schematic design changes into the design development drawings. These design development drawings should give you a full understanding of the work – floor plans, an exterior elevation or elevations, generally a building section. You meet with us and review the design development drawings. Together, we review the drawings for general design, changes to drawings (minor changes; not major design changes as we may have had with the schematic design drawings), and particulars which you would like to add. Either at this conference or at a subsequent conference, we discuss the electrical and finishes. Both for the electrical and finishes we need to know what you want (we will state the finishes on the drawings in a more general way such as “ceramic tile”, not the tile with manufacturer, product name and number, and color). We determine the electrical and finishes thoroughly with you on a room-by-room basis. Or, you may give us general direction and we can do drawings based on the general direction you give us. These drawings are not full “bid” documents. It is a set of drawings that can be used by a contractor (or estimating company) to give you a better understanding of the construction cost.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS FOR YOUR REVIEW: We provide you with a full set of drawings for your review prior to releasing the drawings for construction. They are fully dimensioned and have extensive specifications which are particular for your work. You review the drawings and call us with any changes.
DOCUMENTS ISSUED FOR CONSTRUCTION: Following your review and our minor changes, we issue the documents for construction. These drawings and specifications are very thorough and very meaningful for pricing. Our construction documents “issued for construction” are the drawings from which you can negotiate with a contractor or receive bids from contractors. Contractors should be able to give you meaningful “real” prices from these drawings. We have a list of contractors who have worked from our construction drawing in the past and with whom clients have been pleased. We appreciate these contractors and appreciate the opportunity of being able to recommend these good contractors for additional work. Amongst them, we can suggest contractors who would be appropriate for your work. Another way of finding a good contractor is to find someone who is good and who is working in your area. Or, you may know of a contractor through a friend. You can review the contractors’ bids and make a decision on the contractor without our involvement. However, many clients have found that reviewing a detailed bid with us helps them understand the meaning of a contractor’s pricing. On some occasions we have fully analyzed and compared contractors’ bids. You decide on the contractor and give (“award”) the contract for construction to a contractor. Included in this is your review and the signing of the contract for construction. We have sometimes reviewed the contract for construction for agreement with our documents for the client.
CONSTRUCTION PERIOD: During the construction period, we provide you with architectural services on an as-needed basis. Per the client, sometimes we have scheduled to review the work at specific phases of the construction. We can also provide you with the service of review for payments to the contractor (“draw requests”). The construction is often not fully understood by the client and I recommend that you use our services during the construction period. However, because of our attention to detail in the construction documents and because most of our clients have worked with very competent, thorough contractors, many of our clients have been successful in working with their contractors with minimal assistance from us.
OTHER WORK INVOLVED IN THE DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS PROCESS AND CONSIDERATIONS IN THE WORK: For new construction and additions we review zoning and compliance with zoning. Where required, we prepare documents for neighborhood, historic, and zoning review. Usually it is the owner who takes our drawings through the different review processes. However, if you prefer, we will provide the full services of attendance and presentations at meetings and hearings. In the metro-Atlanta area, it is usually the contractor who permits the work. If needed, we can bring the construction documents for permitting. (We have often permitted commercial work in Gwinnett County). We have an appreciation of multi-purpose and multi-functioning spaces and will work with the you on the efficiency of your space. Our drawings and specifications always call for good construction practices, including energy efficiency. Based on the particulars of the project, sometimes we recommend better insulation systems. In all work, if you prefer, we will take into consideration a better insulation system and will design with that consideration and specify the system. We have used energy efficient wall/construction systems in our work, though at this time to a limited degree – we designed a house using SIPs (structural insulated panels) which was not built and an ICF (insulated concrete form) house which was built. There are mechanical systems including geothermal HVAC systems and in-line water heating which have been used in our projects. Photovoltaic solar collectors have been used in our projects for primary electrical service. We have an understanding of the advantages – but unfortunately, often the prohibitive cost – of some of these and can work with you in incorporating them into your house. (We have designed passive solar houses, but these typically do not work well in the Southeast. We do often take into consideration the shading of the windows, etc. in a house).