1- Define your Needs
Whether you are adding on, remodeling your floor plan or renovating a kitchen or bath, I recommend making a list of your objectives before you start making a wish list. This short exercise will push you out of the box while providing you with some ideas and insights about your needs. As an example, if you are thinking about a family room space, before you write down the size you want, make a list of why you want the space. The wish list item = more space, the objective = a place where we can entertain for sporting events or have a space that belongs to the kids or allow the family to do homework or cooking and lounging in one spot…. Each of these objectives will change some important aspects about how the space is laid out and how the activities are separated.
2-Develop a Budget Goal
Get some reasonable budget information early. It’s a fact that the majority of architectural plans drawn for projects (over 80%) do not get constructed. The primary reason for this is that the client didn’t have enough information about costs before they spent money on design services. In some cases, bids came in so far apart that the folks considering doing the work lost confidence that there wouldn’t be cost overruns.
Now it is time to get some light design work done. A conceptual plan can help provide a great understanding of how your ideas, objectives and budget work together. This is where the designer and builder should work together saving you from costly mistakes by value engineering (not cheapening) the design. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT not to take a conceptual plan and treat it like a bid set. There is so much information that needs to be included before pricing can be completed accurately. If there are any issues with zoning, wetlands etc., this is where those items can be taken into consideration.
Preparing the final plans requires a preponderance of the design time. Structural plans, information required by the municipality and all the details that are part of a well run project go into this set. These plans are ready for competitive bidding and have all of your needs met. The list is long and below are a few of the items required to make sure everyone knows what to expect:
- Floor plans (existing-demolition-proposed)
- Exterior Elevations that contain all of the material information as well as any detail drawings required for trim details
- Window and door schedule that will list the manufacturer, finish, style, U-value (energy efficiency), trim information, screen information, hardware information and rough opening
- Structural Sections (a picture of your project cut in half) that detail structural connections, material specifications, insulation values and heights