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The Architectural Process

Construction

Fees

The Most Important
  Question of All

The Initial Consultation

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

THE FIRST STEP

What information or documents should I have ready when I meet with Xiomara for the Initial Consultation?
Please make sure that you have:

  • A copy of you property survey that has not been reduced or faxed (which distorts the scale of the document).
  • A written or mental list of your needs and priorities, discussed and agreed-upon with your spouse or partner in advance.
  • Any sample photos or drawings from magazines or other sources that show style, details, or other ideas that you wish to incorporate within your project.

Should my spouse/partner be at the Consultation?
We strongly recommend that all parties involved in the decision making process (husband, wife, partners, and occasionally seniors living in the household) be at the Consultation. We cover a lot of ground in that first meeting, from design to construction budget to zoning concerns, and it is most efficient to avoid repeating that effort. Where a second Consultation is required, we charge for that time.

Other architects do not charge for their Initial Consultations – why do you?
We typically invest at least one and one half hours of our time at your home, and another hour in the office, to make the Initial Consultation a valuable service that provides potential clients with our creative design, ideas, options and a wide range of information on the construction process, a real understanding of project costs, and preliminary comments on zoning issues.

 

THE ARCHITECTURAL PROCESS

How do you know what we want?
Starting with the Initial Consultation, I listen to your needs and wishes, and we’ll discuss design ideas to accomplish these wishes. We work hard to develop a thorough and accurate description of your requirements, the project scope of work, and any special limitations (e.g. zoning variances). We include a detailed written description of the scope of our work in our Proposal and Architectural Services Agreement, and our three-phase design process is structured to make sure that we meet your needs in a process of clear communication.

Once we retain your services, with whom do we meet – you or your staff?
From the Initial Consultation through the delivery of Construction Documents, I will remain your principal point of contact for meetings and questions. I take pride in producing the design and overseeing the technical work for each and every project. In addition to my involvement, I am proud of our office staff who also remain available to you for questions, comments, and technical assistance. We have a fine team ready to guide you through the process.

What if we do not like what you show us in the Preliminary Design Phase? Do you charge extra for changes?
As long as we stay within the defined scope of work (i.e. we do not significantly change the size, configuration, or requirements) we will make adjustments to our design at no extra charge. I view architectural design as a collaborative process between our office and our client. I pride myself on good listening and clear communication as key elements to the success of your project.

My project includes a Kitchen - do you design the Kitchen?
I love to cook and kitchens are my passion. Where a new Kitchen or a Kitchen renovation is involved, we always design the kitchen layout, which must be integral with the architectural layout and flow of the entire house. In today’s homes, everything revolves around the Kitchen. We show the general layout of cabinets, counters, and appliances, after which the Client’s Kitchen designer/contractor takes the kitchen design to the full level of detail (cabinets, hardware, counters, appliances, inserts, etc.). We also design the lighting as a standard part of our work.

Do you guide us in making decisions on finishes, materials, and fixtures?
In addition to completing the architectural design, we provide guidance and advice to the Client throughout the process. Based on our years of experience, we can often recommend a variety of area sources – tile suppliers, kitchen contractors, flooring stores, light fixture showrooms, etc. – who can also provide expert advice and assistance. Many of these contacts know us well enough to provide “special treatment” and discounts to our clients.

How quickly can you produce Construction Documents?
Once the architectural process starts, the duration of our work depends on the pace of the Client’s decision-making during the design process. The production of the Construction Documents follows the design process, which can last from weeks to months depending on the nature of the project. We will provide you with a time estimate of the duration of our work at the Initial Consultation.

 

CONSTRUCTION

Do you recommend or work with particular General Contractors?
We generally work with a large group of high-quality General Contractors who have earned our trust through their successful past service to our Clients. Depending on the nature of your project – the house style, your town, your personality and particular needs – we typically recommend a limited list of General Contractors as a good match for your project. We also welcome new contractor relationships where our clients have their own pre-qualified favorites in mind.

Do you assist with the Bidding process or bid the job for us?
Within the range of our Basic Services, we typically provide verbal guidance to the Client for Bidding the work to a short list of pre-qualified General Contractors. However, as an Additional Service, we offer different levels of assistance including issuing the bid package, receiving contractor quotes, and reviewing and analyzing the bids on behalf of our Client. However, keep in mind, the ultimate decision is the client’s.

Do you oversee Construction of the Project?
Paredes-Grube Architecture can provide “Construction Administration” at the Client’s request as an Additional Service. Depending on the complexity and size of the project, we typically perform an average of three site visits during Construction to “observe” the work and report to the Client.

 

FEES

Do you base your fees on the cost of construction?
No. Our project fees are based on our own estimate of the architectural work required to fulfill your needs, and the corresponding hours required to complete the phases of the architectural services. Our estimate includes not only the time spent on design, but also the hours to prepare the elements of thorough construction drawings: structural sizing, construction detailing, zoning charts, finish schedule, and specifications.

I have heard that your services are expensive. Why are your professional fees higher than some other Architects?
In comparing architects, you will find that fees vary as widely as the concept of good design and thoroughness. From my twenty-five years of residential design experience I know what is required to produce excellent design and thorough construction drawings. Quality design and well-detailed documents take time – a level of care that ensures a successful project outcome and a trouble-free experience. In return, our Clients typically save thousands of dollars in the construction bid process since our well-detailed and fully complete construction drawings enable General Contractors to price the work more accurately.

Our fees are an investment in peace of mind and minimized aggravation. Also, my fees include “marriage counseling” during construction…just kidding.

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF All

How do you pronounce your name?
We offer several suggestions: “See-O-Mara”, “C. O’Mara”, or “See You Tomorrow” said really fast! :)

 

 

 
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