Our ProcessFor the People Projects
Working with For the People Projects
It is said knowledge is power. We believe it.
If our clients have the knowledge to make the best design decisions for their project, then they have the power to make their project exactly what they want it to be. We have found that when our clients are part of the design team, they are happier with the results. This is our goal.
Most of what we do is teaching people what is possible, explaining what benefits and drawbacks come with each option, and letting our client’s needs, wishes, and personal style drive the design.
We give you our knowledge, experience, ideas, and advice… you guide the design. Together we will create something wonderfully unique, thoughtful, and crafted just for you. We want you to come away from the process completely confident in every design decision because you understand why each decision was made. To do that we have to educate our clients on what we do, and why we do it. It doesn’t take a design degree to understand it, it just takes an expert to explain it in a way that is clear, concise and straightforward. That is what we do.
First Meeting / Site Visit: This is where we get to know each other. We need to understand your goals, your needs, and your limitations. We need to make sure you have a full understanding of what to expect. If you don’t, we can help you get there. This meeting is when we get a basic idea of the project so we can we talk very generally about probable construction costs, design fees, and answer any questions you have about how we work. Construction projects are big deals, you need to feel comfortable in making that step.
We are happy to show examples of our work, provide client references, and give you addresses where you can drive by to see our projects for yourself.
Developing the Scope of Work, Client Expectations, and Fee Proposal: We take the information from our First Meeting back to the studio and craft a Scope Of Work to outline the services we will provide to you under the contract. We will include any consultant services the project needs such as Structural Engineering, or Landscape Design. All of this becomes part of the Fee Proposal. This document explains our payment schedules and processes, what we expect from our clients, and what our clients should expect from us.
Program Development: In the design world, a Program is a complete list of what spaces or activities are happening in a building and how they are related. This can be pretty detailed, and for a large project – it is worth spending the extra time to get it right.
Existing Conditions or Measured Drawings: We have to start with a good understanding of what is there. We will need to explore the existing structure to know how we can connect to it, or build next to it.
Design: This is the fun part, We will dream, sketch, and find pictures for reference – all while sharing a few cups of coffee. Then our design team will take those sketches and turn them into schematic or preliminary plans. We will review these plans with you, tell you how the plans developed from the sketches we did together.
Construction/Contract Documents(CDs): All the details are contained in these documents. These plans will include building code information, specifications for materials and outline of how we expect the General Contractor (GC) to perform on the project. These documents are called Contract Documents because they are the basis for the contract you have with the GC. Your Contract with the GC should refer to the Contract Documents they used to create the estimate and get the building permit.
Building Permit: We will submit the documents to the authorized jurisdiction (usually the city or county where the project is being built) for approval. We will communicate with the city to make any necessary changes required to get approval. It usually takes a couple of rounds of communication to get approval.
Bidding and Negotiation: This is the process of selecting qualified General Contractors, distributing the Contract Documents, answering any questions in a method which verifies all contractors are bidding with the same knowledge. We make sure you are comparing equivalent bids, comparing apples to apples. We will review the bids with you, help you interview the contractors, set up any site visits that are required, and make sure you have all the information to make a well-informed decision. We have an extensive network of contractors who are known to be competent, trustworthy, have a high quality of work. Most of these contractors we have worked with before, so we know from first-hand experience. If you already have a relationship with a contractor, we are happy to work with them.
After the bidding process will also help you negotiate your contract with the General Contractor you choose. We understand industry standard practices and can make sure you understand them too. We know what we can ask for, and what is reasonable to expect from the contractor. We can also explain how certain practices put you at risk, and how to avoid them.
During construction, we are available to assist you and the General Contractor with any questions, issues, and verification that work is done according to the Construction / Contract Documents.
As your project comes to a close, we have processes that help wrap up all the loose ends and make sure the work is completed, your warranties are intact, and you have all the information you need from the General Contractor.
Want To Plan & Design The Perfect Space?
We can help you understand the steps you need to take to get financing and provide an appropriate budget.
We will guide you to define a scope of work for the project that makes sense for your project.
We will work with you at the table to design the new space together.
We will be there for you through construction to make sure you understand the contracts, the costs, and what is industry standard or common practice for contractors.
You will have over 15 years of experience at your side through the entire process.