Process: Service Option #3

Working with PD&D as your Home Designer, your dreams and ideas are transformed into a refined design and then into a complete set of construction documents that accurately reflect the scope of the project. This step-by-step process is outlined below.

 1.) Initial Contact:
You make initial contact by calling or emailing PD&D about your interest in our firm. During this initial contact we will schedule an Interview Meeting.

2.) Interview Meeting:

The Interview meeting is the first meeting between Designer and Client. This meeting is really just an interview and fact finding meeting for the Client to gather information on PD&D, our process, and our fees to determine if we are a right fit with each other. The Programming process is began during this meeting as we gather information on the Client’s wants, needs, and goals; however, most of the Programming occurs in a second meeting. This meeting usually last no more than 1-hour. As Mr. Phillips offices from his home this meeting is usually done at your current home or a mutually agreed to location in Bastrop, TX.

We request that you either send ahead or bring to the Interview the following information if you already have it. If you do not have it we can help you obtain this information once we have signed a contract.

  • Property Survey
  • Deed Restrictions
  • Title Policy, Schedule B
  • Basic Design Information for your new home

During this meeting you will receive our Client Package that will help aid you in the design process whether you choose to work with PD&D or another design firm. Our Client Package includes the following:

  • Client Application
  • New Home Design Questionnaire
Phase One: Programming Meetings

3.) Programming Meeting:

This is our Programming meeting where we define the needs and wants of our client, basically your “wish list”. Prior to this meeting we will have you and your family, fill out our “New Home Design Questionnaire”. We will also ask that you bring any pictures you can find in books, magazines, etc. that illustrate the character and ideas of the home you want to create both inside and out.

During this meeting a budget will be established for your new home. It is also very important that couples both attend this programming meeting along with the subsequent Schematic Design meetings. When designing your home we like to have input from both parties as even in the best of relationships there are different opinions and views that we want to make sure are addressed at the beginning of the Design Process.

This meeting is schedule sometimes to be done at your future home site or your current home if you prefer. This programming meeting helps by allowing you to discuss more about your project and to ask further questions along with allowing Mr. Phillips to gather more information about you and your project.

Once we have researched your site, project and established the level of detail required to create your construction documents we will put together your “Project Package”. In this package you will receive a proposal showing our fees, structure of the project, and time line for your review along with other details on your project. We will email your “Project Package” to you usually within 48 hours. We can then set up the next meeting or do a meeting by phone if you prefer.

4) Project Package Meeting:
The next meeting you will meet with Mr. Phillips where he will explain the Project Package you have received. This package will include all the specific key points from our programming meetings, information such as permitting, zoning, HOA rules & regulations applicable, proposed design services project schedule, and a proposal for our services.

To begin designing your project we will require the signed proposal and an initial retainer which is 20% of the total estimated fees.

Phase Two: Schematic Design Phase

5) Schematic Design Phase:

The first schematic design is the first view of the client’s floor plan based on the programming phase. During this meeting you will either be given hand drawn sketches or computer drawn plans. We have no specific reason for either but only based on Mr. Phillips choice for each individual project. Several owner/designer meetings are typical during schematic design phase to make decisions and determine a direction for the design to evolve. This phase will typically average about 6-8 weeks but can take longer.

The First Schematic Design meeting you will typically be provided with the first drawings that will include the site plan and the floor plans with all rooms labeled with room names, sizes and overall dimensions.

At the end of this phase it is common to have the following documents:

  • Site Plan: A drawing depicting the buildings location on the site and zoning regulations.
  • Floor Plans: Drawings of each floor showing the size and locations of the various rooms/functions.
  • Key Elevations: Drawings of appropriate building sides (elevations) to convey conceptual design direction for the project.
  • Key Sections: Building cut through drawings depicting the heights and relationships of the various floors and roof.
  • Preliminary Cost: A rough estimate of the cost of construction based on the current building design.

The preceding list of drawings may still be rough in nature at the end of this phase. Their intent is primarily to determine a design direction with which to proceed into the next phase.

Once you have approved the Schematic Design, a second retainer of 10% of the total fee will be required to proceed.

Phase Three: Design Development

6) Design Development:
The Design Development Phase is the refinement of the client’s approved Schematic Design. During Design Development Phase the following will be addressed.

  • finalizing the size of the rooms and spaces
  • refining the look
  • selecting materials
  • deciding on door and window types and locations
  • lay out of HVAC and structural components
  • develop interior and exterior finishes
  • hardware, lighting and accessory selection
  • fixture and appliance selection

At your request we can also provide exterior and interior perspective renderings, a scale study model of the design, 3-D exterior walk around, and/or 3-D walk-throughs. The goal here is for you to fully understand the proposed design and to make any possible alterations.

During this phase is where the other consultants become involved. If you will be using an interior designer, kitchen design consultant, engineers, and/ or security consultant they will need to be included in these meetings. During this phase the consultants begin design and draw up their portions of the work. Our job is to coordinate the work of these various consultants and implement their drawings into the design.

At the end of the design development phase the documents from the schematic design phase have been updated in further detail. It is common to also have the following documents:

  • Outline Specification: Preliminary written description of the project’s major systems and materials.
  • Renderings or Model: 3D renderings or a physical model depicting the overall look of the building.
  • Key Interior Elevations: Drawings depicting the relationship and material choices of the project’s interior rooms.
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans: Drawings of the ceiling depicting locations of lighting, equipment, & level changes.
  • Interior Schedules: A preliminary list of the type and location of interior finishes.
  • Key Details: Preliminary Large scale drawings of specific elements within the project.
  • Systems Consultants’ Drawings: May include structural, civil, and mechanical drawings.
  • Revised Cost Estimate: A revised estimate of the cost of construction based on the current building design.

This phase will also include several owner/designer meetings, which are critical to finalizing decisions so the detailed documentation can begin in the next phase. Design Development Phase can range from 2 to as long as 8 weeks.

Once you have approved the Design Development, another retainer of 15% of the total fee will be required to proceed. Any major changes such as moving walls, adding or removing square feet, etc. at the end of this phase may be considered a change order which may incur additional fees.

Phase Four: Construction Document

7) Construction Document
The Construction Documents Phase involves adding a level of detail and technical information to the Design Documents so a contractor has a set of instructions to build the project as designed. It will occasionally include selecting and finalizing interior finishes, plumbing fixtures, appliances and decorative light fixtures that was not completed in Design Development. This phase is when the designer and consultants work through the technical aspects of the project.

Once we have received all engineering plans and have done our in house review we will schedule the final Client review. Once you have approved the Construction Documents final plans will be submitted to HOA for final approval and to city or county for permitting (when applicable).

Final drawings and specifications are prepared for your approval. A completed construction document set is highly technical and extensive. The following are the typical plans included in our construction documents.

  • Cover Sheet
  • Site plan
  • Foundation Plan (Engineered by others)
  • Floor plan(s)
  • Roof Plan
  • Exterior elevations
  • Building sections
  • Reflected Ceiling Plan
  • Interior and cabinetry elevations (as required)
  • Ceiling Framing Plan
  • Roof Framing Plan
  • Details & Wall Sections
  • HVAC Plan (as required)
  • Plumbing Plan (for rough layout only)
  • Electrical plan(s)
  • Engineered Framing plans (as required)
  • Specifications

Once you have approved the Construction Documents, another retainer of 20% of the total fee will be required to proceed. Construction Documents Phase typically takes 3-6 weeks.

Phase Five: Final Review and Permitting

8.) Final Review and Permitting

We will send you a Final Review set in PDF format to confirm that all previous mark-ups have been completed and your house plans are ready for construction.

During this phase the project is submitted to the local building department (when applicable) for a plan check, which is the process by which city agencies review the submitted documents for compliance to the zoning and regulation codes. The owner will be required to pay a fee to the city when the documents are submitted. The time frame varies depending on your project’s size, complexity and the speed of the local jurisdiction. The plans are also submitted to HOA for final approval when applicable.

This phase will typically take 2-8 weeks with the lengthier time being in municipal permitting approval.

At completion of this phase another retainer of 10% of the total fee will be required to proceed.

Phase Six: Bidding

9.) Bidding

The goal in this phase is to get pricing from a contractor to set the cost of the project. This is a phase that as your designer we can be of tremendous influence and help in helping to find general contractors to bid your project, then help to obtain possible price reductions through negotiated changes. Our counsel at this stage can make a project happen, where it might have been stalled otherwise. This phase will typically take 2-8 weeks with the lengthier time being in municipal permitting approval.

When it comes to hiring the contractor the owner typically has two choices:

    you may have already selected a contractor hopefully during programming or schematic design phase based on qualifications, capabilities and/or referrals. If this is the case, the contractor will put the drawings out to bid with multiple subcontractors at this time. Typically, 90% of the project is competitively bid. The contractor will then select the best bids from the subcontractors, and put together an overall project bid. The owner can then negotiate the terms with the contract including their fee and if there is a guarantee max price.
    if you did not get a contractor involved in the design phase, the next step is putting the drawings and specification out to bid with two or more contractors. We will help preselect contractors who are a good fit for your project. We will then assist the owner in evaluate the contractor’s bids. Please note bidding is still an option even if you selected a contractor during the design process. However, if you end up selecting another contractor, it is customary to pay the contractor for the time they put up front in the design.

There are positives and negatives to both processes. Either way, it’s important to determine the method of contractor selection early in the process. PD&D can help you determine which method is right for you.

Bidding Phase first involves the preparation of bidding instructions, a set of guidelines to contractors, the intent of which is to secure an “apples-for-apples” quote within an allotted time from each bidder. Next, a select group of potential contractors are given an opportunity to bid on your project. Each is issued a complete set of drawings, specifications and bid instructions.

Unfortunately, things can get confusing from this point on. Clients can find themselves in a world that makes no sense as each contractor attempts to woo them into their camp. Also, a low bid doesn’t necessarily mean a contractor is best suited to do the job. Making sense out of all this is where we come in as your Building Designer and will prove to be your best ally. As an experienced construction counselor, our comments and recommendations will better prepare you to select the best contractor for the job.

Note regarding Construction Cost Bids: no owner anywhere is happy with the prices contractors propose to build their projects.  Without fail, they want to see if the project can be built for less cost.  That’s where this crucial building designer’s service can help the owner a great deal.  The building designer is the only party to the project that has the project detailed understanding that will allow a coordinated price reduction, without sacrificing important items that could seriously damage the project (if changed without the building designer’s guidance).

Once Bidding and Permitting Phase is completed another retainer of 10% of the total fee will be required to proceed.

Phase Seven: Construction Administration

10.) Construction Administration

The complex service of Construction Administration typically involves monitoring the work in progress, approving contractor shop drawings for the various items of the project, including but not limited to doors & windows, insulation, concrete, wood, paint, and many other items, and coordinating specialty consultants such as engineers or interior designers/decorators in general, acting as your agent during construction. Without the building designer’s watchful eye, any of these items could be changed by the contractor and suppliers without the owner’s knowledge, cheapening the project, damaging its durability, increasing its monthly utility charges and possibly leaking, rotting and being compromised structurally.

Additionally, when you receive a request for payment from the contractor, we will go out and inspect the work before a check is issued. Without this knowledgeable service, owners overpay up-front, which can induce a builder to walk off the job later, after they have obtained too much money too quickly, leaving the owner stuck with a project that will cost more to complete than remains in the budget.  We will certify that work has been completed as indicated on the requisition for payment; that any conditions spelled out in the contract documents relating to this particular payment have been satisfied; and that a progress payment can be released to the contractor.

Very few owners have this type of experience there for we highly recommend you use our serves for this phase. Serious situations that arise and without the building designer’s wise and helping hands, projects can develop all sorts of problems that can have them come to a screeching halt.

The contractor who is awarded the bid is in charge of construction and accordingly, is responsible for the work, which includes accountability for workmanship and materials and scheduling. PD&D as your building designer providing Construction Administration services will observe the contractor’s methods and progress and report back to you.

At the completion of Project Administration which would be when your new home is completely constructed and you are ready to move in the final fee of 15% of the total fee will be due.

About Us

We are a Professional Building Design Firm specializing in Residential Design of Luxury Homes and ICF Homes. We love residential architecture and believe through design is the only way to create your dream home. We are not architects, Mr. Phillips, our lead designer is a Professional Building Designer (P.B.D.) registered with the A.I.B.D. We are located just outside of Bastrop & Austin, TX but offer our design services throughout the state of Texas and most other states.

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