The first step in the construction process is designing a set of construction drawings or plans. The plan will be used throughout the project and is the most important contract document because of the amount of information it contains. It helps all parties, involved visualize the completed project. The plan defines the scope of work to be done. It specifies an array of details including; lumberyard materials, construction procedures, code mandates, kitchen and bath fixtures, cabinets, countertops, appliances, floor finishes, windows, doors, siding, roofing, decks, porches, wall and ceiling material and finishes just to name a few.
Obviously developing a precise and complete set of plans for your project is the most important step in the construction process. A good plan will make the whole process smoother and eliminate unnecessary confusion and miscommunication. The value of your completed project will be directly affected by whether architectural norms such as traffic flow, space utilization, aesthetic appeal and authenticity have been taken into consideration.
There are two methods for creating plans for your project. The first, and we believe best way, is to hire a design/build company who has the capability to handle everything from plan design to building within one organization. This option is less expensive, allows seamless communication throughout the project and makes one party accountable for all design and construction issues.
The other option is to hire an independent design consultant or use the builder’s lumberyard to produce plans and then hire a separate construction company to handle the building. This option, which is becoming less popular throughout the country, leaves much to be desired with regard to an array of issues.
It is very important that your plans have at least the minimal essential elements so that they are considered working drawings. The essential parts are: plan views of all levels (top looking down), four elevations (side views) and appropriate cross sections (a cut through and assembly like a wall, foundation or roof section). Other pages that are not absolutely necessary but are desirable are plot plan, which is required for permits (shows lot lines and position of existing and future buildings with distances to lot lines, well & septic locations and driveway location). Interior elevations (interior views), Window & Door schedules and interior room schedules.
For more in-depth explanation about the advantages of design/build verses independent design consultant and builder, please read on.
What is a design/build company and how does using one benefit you?
Design-build companies are just that, they are responsible not only for the building of your project but for the design and design related issues as well. Many contractors do not design new homes, additions or remodeling projects for their clients for several reasons. Many lack experience or training with drafting, design issues, new product specification and or building code compliance. Good design with proper engineering requires time, experienced staff and accountability which can be issues in smaller companies which may cause them to avoid design altogether.
Legal reasons to choose a design build company.
Design build companies have expertise in all of the above areas and must legally take responsibility for them. Many contractors use lumberyard designers who have no insurance or accountability for their designs and have no particular allegiance or legal responsibility to you the owner. They are not always reachable and are understandably busy selling lumber and servicing their own customers as well as other contractors.
Independent architects and draftsman can provide better service, but have similar time constraint issues, which can also slow the production phase when challenges arise and they will always charge for additional time. Both lumberyard designers as well as architects and draftsman will have disclaimers on the plans to avoid any liability for “unforeseeable problems” which are also disclaimed in the builders contract leaving you holding the ball. Again, because Tice Construction is a design/build firm, we cannot legally disclaim errors made by us on our own plans.
Choose Tice Construction, a full in house design/build company and you’ll have the peace of mind that all of these issues are the responsibility of one party, the company you’re paying to be responsible for them.
More reasons why design /build is better.
Hiring an independent architect or draftsman is expensive. Most work on a percentage of project fee, which can easily exceed thousands of dollars on a new home or larger remodel. Extra meetings, visits to the site and research of local building codes are all things you are likely to encounter and can all lead to additional hourly charges in excess of the base charge when dealing with independent designers.
Furthermore, independent designers often specify items or processes that your builder is either not familiar with or has no existing material supplier for. Seeing this, when the builder bids the plan they will tack on a “safety margin” to cover ‘unforeseeable items’ that they don’t have experience with. The resulting extra costs can add up quickly, taking funds you could have used elsewhere.
By partnering with a design/build company you save money. Our design program is clear, convenient and understandable. Fees are reasonable because our design work is a service to you, hopefully our future client. The design process helps us build a relationship with you and conversely gives you a chance to get to know us. Our hope is that when it comes time to sign a contract, having a comfortable working relationship in place will make it easier for you to choose us. If you do end up building with us, all design fees are credited to your contract price and you end up paying nothing for our design service. The fees are only in place to cover our time in the event that you end up choosing a different builder.
Convenience and continuity
As you go through the design process both you and your designer develop an intimate understanding of your project that is then seamlessly carried forward into production. With our design program your designer is there for you not only in the beginning as plans are developed but throughout your project, in person, over the Internet, or over the phone, at you’re convenience, with no additional charges.
When questions arise on site, our production manager, lead carpenters and sub-contractors know who to go to for answers and can get those answers quickly.
Our design service program is designed to help you develop your ideas into a set of preliminary construction drawings quickly and efficiently so that the pricing process can begin. It is of the utmost importance that we carefully spend time listening to your needs and desires, looking at your lot or existing home and asking questions about your project priorities, timing and budget before we get started. This initial information gathering helps us to create a design that fulfills your expectations and also fits your budget.