Do I need to use an Architect for my project?
A The answer depends on the scope of your project. Some people have reservations about paying for the services of an Architect, believing they are saving themselves money. This is almost always not the case, as getting the design right on your project in the beginning is much more economical than making changes on the fly during the construction of your project.
An Architect can also provide ideas and perspectives backed up with renderings so you know what you are getting before the start of construction. This is a great opportunity to make modifications up front and ensure the end product matches your visions.
The other benefit is an Architect can provide cost discipline in the design so that stay within your budget.

My building contractor told me they can sketch out a floor plan and we can work out the details once we start. Why should I not go this route I am saving money right?
A This is risky because contractors are project managers, not designers, and you may find your drawings that you submit to the building department require a stamp from an Architect and/or engineer.

What is the difference between an Architect and someone who refers to themselves as a designer?
A You cannot legally refer to yourself or your business as an Architect or as providing Architectural services if you do not have your license as an Architect. They may have some training, but they have not completed the rigorous internship and licensing exams that an Architect has. They also cannot stamp your drawings for purposes of obtaining a building permit.

Does Robin have building contractors, tradesman, and engineers she works with?
A Yes, Robin has built many relationships over the years of her practice and can make recommendations and referrals if you would like. You are under no obligation to use any of them and are free to choose any company.
If your project requires structural or another discipline of engineering, Robin will manage all of that for you as part of her service. She will also obtain multiple quotes for this service if you desire.

How does the process work with Robin if I want to hire her?
A Robin will schedule a site visit that is convenient for you. She will ask you questions and talk about ideas and possibilities with you at that time. This initial consultation is risk free and no cost to you. She will follow up with a proposal for services. This proposal will be broken down into three phases

  1. Design services. Robin will visit the site and take thorough measurements of your existing structure (if applicable). She will then complete a design and present it to you. You will have the opportunity to provide feedback, what you like, what you may want changed, and she will incorporate all of that feedback. Depending on the scale and scope of the project this may involve several meetings. Once you have signed off, she will complete the design and move into phase 2.
  2. Construction Documents To obtain a building permit, and for your contractor to provide an accurate estimate of the project and begin construction, you must have detailed drawings that spell out nearly everything. This is very important because it forces budget discipline, holds your contractor to a number, results in smooth sailing in the permitting process, and ensures you as the client are getting exactly what you want, and a high quality project.
  3. Construction Administration This phase is optional and depends on how much oversight you would like of your project to ensure the building contractor is adhering to the design and specifications laid out in the construction documents. Some clients opt to go CA “light” and contract for 2-3 visits during construction.
    Your agreement with Robin will be a not to exceed amount, so that you know exactly how much it will cost, and it may ultimately be less. You have no obligation to accept Robin’s proposal.

What if I am not sure my project will pass design review muster at the building permit office?
A This is quite common; nobody wants to spend their money on a plan that ultimately gets rejected at the time of permitting. In this case, Robin can work for you on a time and materials basis on a basic initial plan for feedback from the permitting authority to ensure it meets their requirements. Robin will manage all of the permitting if you desire.
Robin does not want to see any client spend money that is ultimately wasted, and will actively work with you and manage expectations about is and is not feasible.

What types of projects does Robin specialize in?
A Robin has an extensive background in many types of projects both large and small. She currently focuses on residential remodels, residential new builds, and small to moderate sized commercial projects. Please see her bio for her full background and resume.

I want my project to incorporate green and sustainable building materials and systems; can Robin help me with that?
A Yes, most of Robin’s clients want some level of energy efficiency, sustainable building materials, and green technology incorporated into their project. Robin is LEED AP certified, and can provide excellent design and advice on sustainable building practices that fit your desires and your budget.

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