Q: What do architects do?

A: Architects design custom buildings and spaces, and advocate for their clients. A boutique architecture firm like DFDG is able to provide a high level of personal service as a project moves through the phases of design, permitting, bidding, and construction.

We think this article sums it up nicely.

Q: How does the architectural process work?

A: We use six standard phases for our projects. Your project may not require each of these phases, or your project might require all of them and further Additional Services.

Pre-Design/Existing Conditions – DFDG staff will measure and photograph the space to be altered, and research the existing codes that apply to your property. We will use this information to build a digital 3D model of your space, and this model will serve as the foundation for any future changes.

Schematic Design – We will begin to incorporate your desired changes, in the broadest possible strokes, to the Existing Conditions model. If you’re unsure of what changes you’d like to see, we can provide several options. When you are satisfied with the broad changes, we will proceed to the next phase.

Design Development – we further refine and enhance the model detailing the changes that you have made. It is enormously helpful if the client has selected a contractor by this phase, so that we can make sure the project’s scope, cost, schedule, and budget are in line. We are always happy to assist clients in selecting a contractor for their project.

Construction Documents – From your approved Design Development documents, we create a set of highly-detailed drawings necessary for construction. This is typically the most work-intensive phase of a project for the architect. DFDG will also assemble the drawings/documents necessary for the building permit application, if necessary.

Bidding – DFDG compiles the drawings and documents necessary for pricing, and works with your contractor to manage the standard processes of requests for information, addendums, etc.

Construction Observation – we monitor the construction process and work with your contractor to ensure the best possible project delivery. This includes site visits, monitoring the construction schedule, troubleshooting unforeseen issues, etc.

Q: What if my project is small, or I don’t need each of the standard architectural services?

A: Many small projects do not require an architect, and a contractor may be able to provide the Construction Documents necessary for your project.  

Licensed Architects have a Master’s Degree or equivalent accredited experience, and have had a rigorous (and continuing) education in design, theory, materials and building systems. We create custom spaces that fit you/your project’s needs with a high level of personalized service along the way.  

We offer consulting services – for projects of any size – on an hourly basis.

Q: What are architectural fees like?

A: For the majority of our projects we work on a fixed-percentage fee model, meaning that our fee is a fixed percentage of the construction cost. For many of our fixed-percentage fee projects, portions of the project are done on an hourly basis.

For small projects and consulting services, we typically go by our hourly rates (which vary in accordance with each staffer’s experience and expertise), and commonly have a “not-to-exceed” cost. Please contact us for our hourly rates.

Still confused? That’s okay! Feel free to contact us, read this, or read this. Experience has taught us that having frank discussions about cost, budget, and the timing before the project begins are in everyone’s best interest.

Q: How long does it take to complete a project?

A: No two projects are alike in the world of custom architecture, but we can estimate the length of time that a project should take by analyzing the desired scope, complexity, location, and local zoning ordinances.

While we can give you an estimate for how long your project should take, some elements are outside of our control; for example, the amount of time a municipality takes to review permit drawings, or the decisiveness of our client.

For a ballpark idea of how long your project may take to reach completion, here are some basic timelines drawn from our experience:

Small Residential Remodel (construction cost up to $200K): 3 to 4 months for architect’s design and construction documents, and 3 to 4 months for construction = 6 to 8 months total project length.

Medium Residential Remodel (construction cost $200K-$500K): 5 to 6 months for design and construction documents, and 8 to 10 months for construction = 13 to 16 months total project length.

Large Residential Remodel (construction cost $500K-$1M): 6 to 8 months for design and construction documents, and 10 to12 months for construction = 16 to 20 months total project length.


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