The Design Process/Frequently Asked Questions:

How do we start a new project?

Call my office between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment or use our "contact form" on this website to email me and I will call you.  Appointments are available 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.


How much does an appointment cost?

There is no charge, cost or obligation for your first appointment.


What does the appointment accomplished?

This allows me to examine the existing structure, style of architecture, foundation design, roof design and provides a general overview of the dwelling.  This also provides time, at the site, to discuss your ideas and needs while allowing me to suggest additional design concepts based on code requirements.  If this is a new home design I would suggest we met at the new property site to discuss view lines and dwelling location.


What about county and city code requirements?

As part of the appointment, I review the proposed project with the Planning and Building Departments for project compliance.  We research the required property line setbacks, height limitations, lot coverage, easements and general building requirements for your specific property.


How much will the drawings, structural engineering & Title 24 cost?

Once the research and initial appointment is complete, I will develop a proposal based upon your specific project design requirements.  As a rule, you will receive a proposal within 3-5 working days after our appointment.  


If we accept your proposal, what is the next step?

We schedule an appointment for me to return and dimension the entire house and property.  The site dimensioning and evaluation provides us with the "as-built" information to start your preliminary design.  Depending on the magnitude of your project, you should allow approximately two (2) days at (8) hours a day to record, draw, photograph and document the necessary field information.  Using our field lap top and AutoCAD we record and draw the existing floor plan, foundation plan, floor framing plan, roof framing plan and detailed site plan as a base to start your design work.


What if we dislike your preliminary design?

We simply redesign the preliminary around your comments and concerns.  Remember . . . our primary goal is to provide you with the layout, function, design and environment (within structural and budgetary limitations) you wish to achieve.


If we accept your preliminary, what is next?

We develop the site plan and elevations.  The floor plan and elevations are the most important plans to you because they represent the entire appearance of your project.  This step will take approximately 7-14 working days depending upon the complexity and size of the design.  A meeting will be scheduled for you to review the drawings.  We also invite you to join DropBox so you can view and access your project as it's revised on a daily basis.  If you have additional design requirements or corrections we may have missed, we will correct accordingly and return for your approval.  If the project drawings meet your approval, you will sign off on the plans as a "Final Design Approval".


After the Final Design Approval, what is the next step?

Once the preliminary plan has become a Final Design, this allows us to continue with the full set of Working Construction Drawings required for the Building Permit.  We continue with the site plan and project information, foundation plan, floor framing plans, roof framing plans, cross sections and construction details.  We also prepare the energy calculations (Title 24) and our structural engineer prepares the final structural analysis, calculations and sizing of structural members as required.  Again, depending upon the magnitude of the project the final step will take approximately 15-30 working days.


What do we do once the drawings & documents are complete?

When the project is complete we need to submit all drawings, documents and calculations to the city/country for Plan Check.  Plan Check is a procedure used by the city/county to review our drawings, documents and calculations to make sure they meet the requirements of the California Building Code, county codes and ordinances, as well as, local city codes and applicable ordinances.


Do you help us with the drawing & document submittal process? 

Yes... in total.  I recommend we meet at the proper agency together to make application, sign the necessary paperwork and pay the Plan Check Fees.  We first need to submit and obtain the approval of the Planning Department, then submit to the Building Department for the actual Plan Check.  Our firm provides the submittal service to our clients at no additional charge or fee as we feel it is important to guide our clients through unfamiliar procedures and processes.  We fill-out all the paperwork, provide proper number of copies and sets of required drawings, Title 24 calculations, structural calculations and any other special submittal requires needed for Plan Check.


How long does the Plan Check take?

This process varies from city to city and from county to county.  Most residential Plan Check requires approximately 4-10 weeks for review and comment as it depends on the agencies work load and available staffing.


What happens if you make a mistake, are we denied our Building Permit?

No.  Once the Plan Check is complete, the city/county will call our office and/or notify you by US mail/email.  If there are items that need to be revised, corrected and/or clarified, we prepare the revisions and resubmit the drawings and documents for you.  Usually, within a week after the re-submittal, your Building Permit is ready to be issued.


What about contractors, do you help us with the selection?

Yes . . . I would highly recommend inviting a number of qualified Contractors to a formal Bidder's Meeting through a written invitation with the date of the meeting, a set of drawings, specifications and any special submittals.   The Bidder's Meeting allows me to address any questions or concerns of the Contractor and assures the Contractor is aware of site issues.  I prepare a Contractor's formal Bid Form so we can address specific cost issues for our project and allows us to compare apples for apples when tabulating the Contractor's bids.  

 We work with a large number of well qualified Contractors and would be willing to assist in helping you select a group that could offer you a bid package for competitive bidding.  The qualified Contractors we work with are more than capable of completing the scope of work required for custom home, general home improvements and additions.


What if we choose our own Contractor and he does not understand something about your plans?

I highly recommend once you have selected your Contractor that we have a meeting at your home or the project site before he starts the construction.  This allows the Contractor to ask questions and clear up any concerns before he starts the project.  This is also helpful in creating dialogue between your Contractor and our office or me.  Should he require further information or assistance while he is working on your project, we are usually available to visit the site the same day or talk with him on the telephone.


Do you visit the site to check the work?

Yes . . . as a rule, we check the project at three (3) critical points.  Once prior to the foundations being poured, once during the rough framing stage and once for mechanical, electrical and plumbing.  We will also visit the site when a Contractor has a problem or question that needs to be resolved on the job site.


When do you consider your portion of the project complete?

When you invite me to the completion party or open house.

Would you like to discuss your specific project?

Please contact us at +1 510 795.7842. 

Or feel free to use our contact form.