Designing and building a house or building takes a while. Figure a year often more. Why ?
Because there is a lot that goes into it. One doesn’t just build. Just like a chef needs a recipe, builders need complete drawings or else the results are bad and the costs are high… The basic schedule unfolds like this: (medium sized residential addition for example):
a. Design and due diligence-2-4 months
b. Approval and Bidding– 2-6 months
c. Construction-6-10 months
Design and due diligence
Due Diligence: We begin any project by obtaining information and asking lots of questions. We’ll question, investigate, and research available resources. Among the questions, we’ll pose include: What is the proposed use? Who will use it? What should it look like? How will it be built? Who might be the builder? What is the budget? What are the time restrictions to accomplish the final project? What are the regulations pertaining to the job? We don’t want to get this info too late and have to make numerous revisions to the design.
Design/Preliminary: Once we understand the scope of the project, the size, and the related factors, we begin measuring and designing. Several schemes are explored and presented to the Owner or User. We’ll meet several times to discuss the merits and limitations, costs, schedule and approval sequence of each. We work from most general, i.e. where should the building be, to more specific, i.e. which way the door should swing.
Design/ Development-Finalization: We’ll meet to refine the design, “look” and select the materials and systems to build the project. We frequently meet with building and municipal officials to review the project and get preliminary feedback. We’ll develop 3-d images, virtual reality and animations to make it very clear what the project will look like before it is built. We’re using Virtual Reality goggles to help simulate walkthroughs.
Approval and Bidding
Your project will need the approvals of the municipality in which the project is located in. The granting of that permission is call a building permit. In order to get that permit, we’ll usually meet with various municipal agencies, boards and committees to gather their input about the project by submitting drawings, applications and assorted fees and get your permits in order (this is a back and forth process). Unfortunately, there is no shortage of red-tape and “ass-covering” in this phase.
Then, we will contact qualified builders to gauge their interest and availability to do the work, and send them related drawings and documentation so they have a clear understanding of the proposed work. Occasionally, we’ll meet on site with the bidders and walk them through the project and clarify any questions they might have.
When the bids come back, we analyze them and verify that the costs are “apples to apples” and not laden with substitutions or caveats. We analyze the bids side by side to confirm what’s in , what’s out and drill down into the finer “conditions” that contractors will frequently include. We often will negotiate with the Contractors to obtain the best price, schedule, and delivery for the project. We help prepare a written contract between the Owner and Contractor to protect each party from misunderstandings.
During the course of construction, we’ll monitor the work to make sure it reflects the intentions of the drawings and good construction practices. We’ll review schedules with the Builder to make sure the work unfolds in a rational, well-planned sequence. We assist the Owner in advising when and how much to pay the Contractor and help answer question or mediate disputes before they hinder the progress of the job. As the project winds down, we’ll “Close-out” the project by developing a “punch list”, a tally of incomplete or deficient work that needs to be addressed before the project is complete. We’ll monitor the completion of this work and assist with obtaining any necessary additional approvals to occupy the new or modified buildings. Our office also frequently helps the Owner pick out and arrange new furnishings and fixtures to fit-out space.