A professional will take you from planning and design, through construction, and finally to occupancy, bringing your dream home to life in ways you might not have considered.
No two designers are alike. Each one has their own process to design and system of operation.
Some Designers may only offer planning and design services, And others may offer construction administration services in addition. So how do you decide who is right for you?
Finding the right residential building designer is similar to finding any other qualified professional.
Select Your Designer
Now for the next step; a phone call or email to each name on your list to introduce yourself. Describe the project; a new home, addition, or renovation. The objective is to construct a summary profile of the individual or firm.
Be specific with your questions:
This meeting may feel uneasy as this is where your needs, goals, finances, and dreams for your new home will be candidly discussed.
Just as important is the information you will glean about the building designer prior to engaging their services
The building designer also wants to evaluate you as a potential client. Since a project can typically last upwards of nine months, both parties need to decide if they can work together comfortably for the duration. The interview should last at least an hour or longer if the “chemistry” is right.
Most building designers will not charge for the initial interview meeting, but this is not always the case so be sure to ask if there will be a charge before scheduling an appointment.
The building designer must be able to understand your vision and provide a creative design solution by fitting structure to the architectural style you choose. Photos or magazine clippings you’ve collected will help in defining your goals. Pictures are worth a thousand words…..
It can be easy to be confused with building vocabulary so be sure to ask for an explanation if there is anything you feel uncertain about.
With each interview, ask yourself if this is someone you can work with; do your personalities in harmony? Do you feel this person is right for your project and responsive to your ideas?
Remember that there are many decisions to be made during the development of drawings and specifications for your project that will impact your day to day gratification with the completed project. You will be relying on the designer’s technical expertise, creative skills, and professional knowledge. The right building designer will get the most for your project dollars.
Although there is not a standard for how building designers charge for services, fees can be fixed any number of ways considering different aspects of the project. Designers may use one of the following:
Any fruitful relationship starts with a clear, well-documented mutual understanding. Your written agreement with a building designer should indicate:
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Next: The Design Team
When you are considering a new home or addition, a qualified residential designer is your best choice to guide you through the design/building experience.
No doubt you’ve collected photos about homes you like and have clear and definite ideas about what your dream home should be. But that is just the beginning….
A good designer listens to your ideas for your home and will visualize space within the proposed design and then explore that space with you to ensure it meets your needs and desired expectations. In addition to considering aesthetic issues; form, scale, and balance; structural design and code requirements must also be taken into account.
As your design evolves, a residential building designer will also suggest innovative products and materials that would be appropriate for your new home and may even assist you in selection.
There are no two projects completely alike, and that is true for residential building designers as well. Each will approach design in their own way and may offer different levels of service beyond planning & design.
Next: Finding the right Residential Building Designer for you.
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My name is Judith Ann Koehn and I am the principal/designer for Ontwerpe Studio a Residential Design and Drafting firm. I am passionate about “good sustainable design” and with more than 20 years of experience designing small casitas to large custom homes, multi-family housing and many different kinds of remodeling projects I would be very comfortable helping you bring your next project to life.