Why hire us for your project
We are trained to clearly identify what your needs are through one on one discussions and observations.
By correctly identifying the problems of a space, site or environment, or lack of, we can come up with the right design solution.
Our education and experience can help you get the best design possible for your budget and circumstance. Good design leads to a better human experience.
We have many experienced consultants that we bring on board as needed for each project giving you the best expertise in the various disciplines required.
We have many years of experience in navigating governing agency processes and building code requirements allowing us to procure the various permits needed for any project.
We interact with the contractor/construction crews, enabling each project to obtain the best craftsmanship and consistent workflow possible
We can increase the value of your property since well designed buildings increase and hold their value over time.
We make life easier for you as you go through the process of enhancing your property and having a design you will enjoy in years to come.
WHAT IS USUALLY NeedeD FOR A PROJECT
Whether the project is a new home or a residential addition or significant remodel, you will need governing agency approval and permits. This is to ensure that the new structures will be safe to use and will be compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods and environments. The course of work usually follows as such:
CONCEPTUAL DESIGN - this is where we ascertain your needs through discussions and observations. From there we explore various design options and and eventually focus on the design solution that will best meet your needs, budget and governmental approval.
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT - this is where we refine the design and create more detailed design drawings for the governing agency design review, if required. The design development drawings are the base sheets for the construction documents and what the other disciplines will work off for their drawings. This is the time where materials, systems, fixtures, appliances and other building items are selected. This is also a good time to bring in the Contractor.
DESIGN REVIEW - this is the time the design of the project is reviewed by the governing agency planning department and any HOA committees if required. The review time is based the size and complexity of the project. Most design review boards will be looking at the siting or location of the project on the property, the overall look of the project, its compatibility with the neighborhood and if it meets the zoning requirements of the area.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS - These are the working drawings that the governing building agency reviews and issues permits on and the drawings the contractor will build from. They are legal documents that need to be followed throughout the course of construction. Depending on the complexity of the project, other disciplines will have drawings that will be in addition to the architectural drawings such as Civil, Structural, Energy, Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical and Landscaping
BUILDING REVIEW - this is the time the governing agency building department reviews the construction project to see if everything is in compliance to the State building codes.
BIDDING - If a contractor is not selected at this point, then a few selected contractors bid on the project while the construction documents are in the governing building review process. It is not unusual for for a contractor to charge for bidding a project, since it is a time consuming process that offers no guarantee that they will get the project.
CONSTRUCTION - This is where we see all our work materialize. We visit the site and work with the contractor to help the construction process to go as smooth as possible and work with the governing building department as the project goes through its various inspections. If there are changes to be made, these can be accomplished through Change Orders or Field Revisions.
MOVING IN: This is where we pop a bottle of Champagne.
who would be on our pROject
It depends on the complexity and location of the project. We work closely with all consultants to create a complete and progressive set of design and construction documents.
CIVIL ENGINEER will design, calculate and prepare drawings for earth work, retaining walls and drainage systems if the project has any significant grading or drainage issues
SURVEYOR will survey the sited create a topographical site plan showing existing structures and significant trees/ monuments
SOILS ENGINEER/GEOLOGIST tests and analysis soils conditions. Most projects will require a soils report that will give the structural engineer the information they need for their foundation and lateral calculations. Small projects may only need a soils memo (site visit by geologist) during trenching when construction has started. It all depends on the governing building department.
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER engineers the structure including the foundation, wall and roof systems along with wind and earthquake lateral analysis.
ENERGY CONSULTANTS prepares the State mandated Title 24 Energy report for any building that is new or adding any additional habitable square footage. This report directs what energy saving and air quality measures need to be incorporated in the project like R value of roof, wall and floor insulation, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, energy efficient lighting, fans and such. They work with the mechanical engineer in designing the heating an cooling systems for building comfort.
MECHANICAL ENGINEER designs and prepare the drawings for the heating and cooling systems, usually only required on new structures but can be available for any project.
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER/LIGHTING DESIGNER designs the lighting and electrical layouts and calculates the electrical loads, usually required for larger projects and can be available for any project
ARCHEOLOGIST may be required to provide an archeological report depending on the project site/ location.
BIOLOGIST is only required for projects that will build on virgin land in sensitive habitat areas. They take inventory of the vegetation and animal life on the site.
LANDSCAPE DESIGNER designs the landscape and provides plant and irrigation drawings for areas around the building, usually only required for new structures in certain developments and can be available for any project
INTERIOR DESIGNER helps support the the architects vision for the interior of the building and creates detailed drawings of the interior spaces.
PV SOLAR CONSULTANT designs and install PV solar panels for those clients desiring to reduce their energy footprint their monthly energy bill. Our PV consultant works with the local electrical utility company on getting the best system for your building.
GREEN BUILDING CONSULTANT is for our environmentally conscious clients who want a cutting edge sustainably designed "Green" project. We have consultants that can provide design support and certification for LEED, PassiveHAUS and Living Building Challenge programs
Each State has their own adopted Building Codes that all building design and construction must comply to. Here in California we are using the 2016 edition of the Title 24 Building Codes:
CALIFORNIA BUILDING CODE - governs all non residential design and construction
CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE - governs all residential and multi family housing design and construction
CALIFORNIA ELECTRICAL CODE - governs all electrical work including lighting
CALIFORNIA MECHANICAL CODE - governs all mechanical work including HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning)
CALIFORNIA PLUMBING CODE - governs all plumbing work and plumbing fixtures
CALIFORNIA ENERGY CODE - governs all fixtures, appliances, equipment and other items that consume energy and a Title 24 Energy Reports is required for all projects that are new or adding habitable square footage.
CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL CODE - governs all qualified historical structures or buildings
CALIFORNIA FIRE CODE - governs and establishes minimum requirements to safeguard the public, including fire fighters and first responders from fire hazards and matters related to fire suppression like fire sprinklers.
CALGREEN CODE - governs the environmental impact of buildings by requiring or encouraging sustainable practices, materials, energy and water efficiency. Each project will have CalGreen mandates and Best Management Practices as part of the construction documents.
What building codes govern our project
PHOTOS - As painful as it may be, photograph the damaged structure or property, . Take an inventory of everything you have lost. Everything.
INSURANCE - Find out what your insurance will cover. Does your policy have a “fixed cap” on improvements? Does your policy include “replacement” costs (to rebuild the same size building you had, including permit and consultant costs). What provisions does your policy have on temporary living arrangements. If you have a good and competent insurance company, they will often help you navigate some of the the rebuilding process, or you might want to hire a public adjuster.
LOAN SERVICER/BANK - If you had a mortgage on the property, contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. There are usually various relief provisions for property owners that have lost their home or job due to a disaster. You will need to find out how the bank will work with the insurance company. Often the bank retains the insurance funds and dispenses it as the work gets done.
FEMA - If you did not have insurance or you do not have enough insurance coverage, you can apply to FEMA for available funds to rebuild.
Also contact a housing counseling agency approved by the US Department of Housing and urban development. If the disaster affected a large area, the governing jurisdictions usually have some sort of housing counseling services.
CLEAN UP - Before you attempt to clean up the site, notify the governing building department for requirements for heavy equipment and the disposal of any possible contaminates on the site.
NEW PERMITS TO BUILD - Talk with the governing planning, building and public works departments involved. Most jurisdictions will have some sort of provision for "Disaster Rebuilding” which may include reduced review time and fees as a means to expedite the project through the permit process. This expedited process is usually available to those property owners that want to rebuild a larger structure or relocate it to another part of the property.
Note that all new building construction will need to comply to the current zoning and building codes, but if some portion of the building is remaining (more than 50%), they may let you “Rebuild-in-Kind” to the old footprint and structure size. The remaining portion of the building will need to be assessed by a structural engineer to determine that its structural integrity has not been compromised.
In many instances it is easier and more cost effective to start from scratch, rather than trying to repair and rebuild an existing damaged structure, unless it is historically significant.
PREVIOUS DOCUMENTATION OF THE SITE AND BUILDINGS - check around if there are any existing drawings of your site and buildings. The County Assessors will have recorded property maps, the governing jurisdictions may have some drawing on file in archives or on microfiche and previous consultants like architects, civil engineers and surveyors that worked on the your property or adjacent properties, may have some drawings. If you were part of a development, the developer or governing jurisdiction may have drawings.
NEW DOCUMENTATION - You will need to have your property surveyed to locate property lines & corners, roads, driveways and other access ways, significant vegetation, landforms, utilities easements and such. The property may have gone through some changes due to the forces imposed on it. Consultants such as architects and engineers will need the new survey to start their work.
To make life easy, hire the right professionals to assess what you need. Hire qualified engineers to assess the structural integrity of the soils and remaining structures. Hire an architect who can navigate you through the design and permitting process. Hire licensed contractors or subcontractors to any work to be done on the site. Get references before hiring anyone. Unfortunately, situations like disasters attract scammers
LIVING ARRANGEMENTS - Find a place to live that you like since you may be in that place for 18 months to 3 years, depending on the extent of damage to your property and the surrounding areas that may have been significantly affected by the disaster. Areas and communities devastated by a large disaster, the community infrastructure may need to be rebuilt before individuals can rebuild their properties.
You will need a lot of patience and perseverance to get through the rebuilding process on top of the grieving you will experience in dealing with your loss. Surround yourself with the most supportive people and professionals you can acquire. Take advantage of local assistance and support groups. You will find others that have gone through similar experiences. You will be surprised how many people will want to reach out and help you.