Home/FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS2020-06-10T18:24:17+00:00

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

About Home Design & Construction

Clients often have questions about working with a residential architect.

Here are some common concerns and their answers.

Please feel free to contact us with your own questions.

START your home project

DESIGN your home project

BUILD your home project

START your home project

Why should I hire an architect?2020-03-24T04:17:00+00:00

ANSWER:

Design and construction is a complex and often expensive undertaking that requires professional training. Creative design, an understanding of construction technologies, structural design, a mechanical & electrical engineering design team, knowledge of pricing, and ability to coordinate lots of complex technical information with a diverse team of people is what an architect will bring to your project. It is the time-proven best way to get a building designed and built. Staying with in your budget and schedule has to be coordinated by an experienced design professional. Without an architect, you will be unlikely to meet your goals and you will be subject to a lot of risk during this process.

Why do you charge for initial consultations?2020-03-24T04:25:33+00:00

ANSWER:

Because of our 20+ years of experience, we provide a lot more information and value in an initial consultation than other design professionals. We call this initial consultation a Home Project Review. During the home project review, we help with defining the scope of work, preparing budgets, give design advice, discuss zoning requirements, detail information on the process of design through permitting, customize services, share pitfalls that could impact the project, and other information customized to the your project’s specific needs. This information is yours to take to any design professional you meet and will give you a jump start on your project and help you define realistic goals. We also offer FREE phone consultations if costs are a concern.

What value does an architect bring to a project?2020-03-24T04:16:59+00:00

ANSWER:

An architect can provide an unsurpassed level of comfort for you, relationship building, cost control, management of the project team, creativity, scheduling, clear communications, construction knowledge, contract documents, cost estimates, quality control, risk protection…all for you.
What payment methods do you accept?2020-03-27T18:51:57+00:00

ANSWER:

Home Architect Studio accepts cash, checks, home equity checks and money orders. We also provide payment options for credit cards, yet need to charge a 3.5% credit card charge to cover the transaction costs.

What is the difference between a designer and an architect?2020-03-24T04:16:59+00:00

ANSWER:

A designer is not licensed.

An architect is licensed by the State and must have completed a minimum of 8 years experience of education and internship, extensive testing and regular continuing education to receive and keep their license up to date.  Architects are also required to have a working knowledge of building systems, such as structure, heating & cooling, plumbing, electrical, and many more.

What do architectural services cost?2020-03-24T04:17:00+00:00

ANSWER:

Compensation for architectural services varies greatly, and is the same as asking “How much does a car cost?”

The rate of compensation really depends on the complexity of the project; as a rule of thumb, most projects have fees that range anywhere from 3% to 15% of the construction cost.  The first step in understanding costs is to have a conversation with an architect before any design is initiated. Our phone consultation is an option if you are still in the early phases of your project.

My contractor says he can design/build my project. What do you offer that is different?2020-03-24T04:30:41+00:00

ANSWER:

There are some advantages to design/build that appeal to many people. How we are different is that as an architect, licensed by the state, we have the duty to act as your agent during the project and to ALWAYS look out for your best interests.  Our experience at being involved in 100s of construction projects makes us your expert and advocate through the course of municipal approvals and construction.
My contractor said that I don’t need an architect2020-03-24T04:17:00+00:00

ANSWER:

 You need an architect and a contractor because each brings separate and necessary skills to make your project a success.

An architect provides creative design skills, an engineering team, detailed documents for bidding and construction, and is the owner’s eyes and ears on the project to ensure quality construction as well as protect the owner’s interests. An architect is your representative and minimizes your risk in all your interactions with the contractor and subcontractors. In residential architecture, this is often crucial to the success of the project.

In addition to designing your project, we can also provide construction management services where the questions between you, the builder, and the architect disappear as we will manage your project from the beginning until the day you move in.

Do I need a full set of architectural drawings and specifications?2020-03-24T04:17:00+00:00

ANSWER:

You will save a lot of money with a good set of architectural drawings and specifications.

The contractors will have very clear and complete information to enable them to prepare a very competitive bid. Vague or incomplete drawings will leave too many items unclear and result in higher prices, delays, and change order costs. You will usually save most of the architect’s fee when you open your contractors’ bids because a complete set of plans and specifications has eliminated virtually all of the unknowns that drive your costs higher.

Can you provide references?2020-03-27T18:49:10+00:00

ANSWER:

Yes we can! To protect our client’s privacy, we only provide references upon request.

DESIGN your home project

When can you start the design on my project?2020-03-24T04:17:00+00:00

ANSWER:

We can begin work on your project as soon as the project details are agreed to and a contract is signed.
This will ensure we understand your expectations and agree to the details of your project.
Based on current workloads, we are seeing a range of 7-14 days before we can initiate a new project.
What is the difference between Schematic Design and Construction documents?2020-03-24T04:16:59+00:00

ANSWER:

An architect will create schematic design drawings before completing construction documents.
Schematic design drawings have a minimal amount of information on the drawings. Information such as the wall locations, room dimensions, room names, door sizes, window sizes, roofs, decks, porches, balconies, and fixtures, so the client can see exactly what the design will look like. This stage is where changes should occur before going to final drawings.
Once the schematic design is approved, the architect completes the construction documents.
The construction documents contain all the relevant building information necessary to build the project. The construction documents show all notes, construction details, dimensions, materials, and so much more. The construction documents are primarily for the owner to obtain building permits,  contractors to build from and to obtain bids/estimates from the construction team members in order to see the total project cost..
What building codes do you use in design?2020-03-30T16:03:07+00:00

ANSWER:

Currently in the State of New Jersey, the following building codes are adopted:
I just need “plans” or blueprints drawn for my permit. Can you do that?2020-03-31T13:55:36+00:00

ANSWER:

We can create permit drawings for you as long as we are completing the design, which ensures that our clients needs are met and that building codes are being followed.

Note: Having a design in mind already, will help speed up the process.

How often are your invoices processed?2020-06-10T18:31:53+00:00

ANSWER:

Home Architect Studio issues invoices on a regular basis two week basis for larger projects, and immediately upon completed completion of smaller projects. Initial retainers are used as a credit toward the final payment. Feel free to contact our billing department for further information.

How long does it take to draw up house plans?2020-03-24T04:17:00+00:00

ANSWER:

Drawing up floor plans depends on a multitude of factors. We have seen projects take one month to some taking over a year to complete.
First drafts take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks.

The speed to draw up house plans depends on:

  • The size of the project
  • The complexity of the project
  • Availability of the client to review the progress
  • How quickly decisions could be made
  • The details needed to build it
  • Defining who will build it.(General Contractor, DIY, Construction Manager, etc)
  • The project plan  on how it will be build
Do you design energy-efficient homes with environmentally friendly materials?2020-03-24T04:17:00+00:00

ANSWER:

Absolutely whenever we can. With our principals being LEED professionals, we strive to provide our clients with the most sustainable design when possible. Here’s a quick list of what we generally put in our homes:

  • 95% efficient furnace
  • 2×6 exterior walls
  • dual-pane vinyl windows
  • R-50 fiberglass insulation for ceilings
  • R-23 fiberglass insulation for walls

 

BUILD your home project

How to obtain a building permit?2020-03-24T04:16:59+00:00

ANSWER:

The process to obtain a permit is similar in most towns.

Step 1. Client should consult with an architect, who will help guide them through this process. Once an architect is retained, then he will need a survey and your zoning.

Step 2.  Zoning Analysis. Once an architect is retained, he or she will need a survey documenting your property’s zoning information. If you don’t have the zoning information, your architect can call the town to find out what it is.  The architect will then perform a zoning analysis, and see what you will be permitted to do with your property. Every town has different requirements, so it is an important step to make sure the design doesn’t go down a path where the project can’t be built.  You can ask the town for a zoning variance, if your property has issues, or a design MUST be a certain way, or you desire to make a building which does not conforming to its zoning requirements.  Some towns are easier than others when trying to get a zoning variance, yet application for a zoning variance is never guaranteed.

Step 3. Design Phase. After zoning analysis, there will be a design phase. Your architect will go over your space needs for your building or house. When the design is complete, the architect will move the project into the construction documents phase. The construction documents are what are used  by the the contractors to build the project as as well as to obtain a building permit.

The architect can then offer you permitting services, or you can take the plans to the town yourself. There you will need to fill out all the required paperwork, and upon the building department’s approval you will obtain a permit. The permitting process can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks to obtain, depending on the building department’s work load. In the event you will need a variance, a denial letter will be required from the building department prior to going before the planning board for a variance.

How long does the home construction process take?2020-03-24T04:16:59+00:00

ANSWER:

The construction process will vary greatly based on the following:

  • Size & scope of project
  • Contractor availability
  • Materials used for the project

It also really depends on your selected construction team members. For example if one of the construction team members is very busy, their start date will be farther than a similar team member who is not as busy with work. The materials used will also vary the construction time frame due to associated labor intensity. Brick houses typically take longer to build than a vinyl sided house.  The more labor intensive the home’s materials, the longer it will take to build.   A typical residential addition on a house can take about 2-6 months to complete, if the proper project management is in place.

Having a proper construction schedule in place with all team members committing to it from day one is the best way to have a successful project completed.

Have any additional questions for the Home Architect Studio team?

Schedule an appointment below to speak with one of our principals.
We would be happy to help you with your home related questions.

Go to Top