Initial Design Consultation: Many clients have a general idea of they want, others have very specific requirements. In both cases, they are usually looking for advice and guidance on how feasible it is, and what it will cost. Robin will meet with you at no charge and review what you want the end product to be.
At this meeting Robin will provide feedback, discuss ideas and options, and talk with you about your construction budget. Robin wants every client to have a finished product that they love, and most importantly one that fits within their budget.
Many people make the mistake of jumping in feet first with a general contractor without having a specific design that details construction. This usually results in potentially three bad outcomes:
- You didn’t get what you really wanted, or worse, you don’t like it at all.
- You dipped into your kid’s college fund to complete it because you went way over your initial budget.
- The building permit office refuses to issue you a permit because your project violates the building code.
Let Robin save you from this! She will follow up from your initial meeting with a proposal for the next step, which you are under no obligation to proceed with. This proposal will be for an hourly rate, which has a cap of a not to exceed amount. If Robin’s time exceeds the contract amount, that is free to you.
Remember: The cost of Robin’s services will always be a lot less than discovering the mistake after construction and redoing the job.
Design Services: Robin will visit the project site and take detailed measurements of the existing structure. If there is no existing structure, Robin will measure the available land for development. Robin will make absolutely sure that your project meets setback requirements and design review with the building permit authority.
Based on the feedback you give her and the answers to her questions on what you want, she will create an initial design that she will present to you. This is your opportunity to love it, like it, or hate it. Robin wants your honest and unvarnished feedback on what you want to keep, and what you want changed. This is a big reason why you hired her! To get the design exactly to what you want with Robin’s professional advice.
Robin will meet with you likely several times to final the design. Once you complete this, you need construction documents to hand to your contractor.
In order for a building contractor to provide you an accurate bid, you need to provide them documents that spell out all aspects of the project (ok, maybe not paint color, but Robin is happy to give you an opinion on that). If you don’t, this is where you risk the dreaded “death by change order”, where your contractor tells you repeatedly throughout your project that was not in their bid because you did not specify it, it will cost you $XX,XXX.
These are the documents that Robin will stamp with her state issued license, which you, her, or your building contractor can take to the building permit office and use for your application.
If you are moving interior walls, adding a new structure, or doing a new build, you will likely also need the services of a structural engineer. Robin has relationships with several excellent engineers and will manage all of this for you.
This is very important because you want a project that will stand the test of time and be structurally robust. Robin’s engineers will also provide a stamp on the drawings that ensures smooth sailing when pulling a permit. All of Robin’s engineers carry their own professional liability insurance.
On more involved or major projects, Robin will engage other specialties as needed including mechanical, electrical, landscape, and environmental.
Contractor Bid Review:
When you bid your project out, you are likely going to solicit multiple bids. If you have any experience going through past projects, you probably have learned that simply going with the lowest bid can have big drawbacks:
- The contractor intentionally bid the job low with the plan of making it up in change orders
- The contractor had little experience in your particular job and it shows in the workmanship.
- The contractor does not have good sub-contractors and your project drags on way beyond the timeline they gave to you.
Robin is happy to assist you in your bid evaluation, provide you with specific questions you should ask, and give you a recommendation on whom to use. Robin has great contractors she has worked with in the past, and is happy to provide you names, but receives no financial benefit if you use them, and you have no obligation to do so.
Construction Administration: Who polices the contractor to ensure they are adhering to the design plan? If you have a large project and are investing a lot of money in it, you may wish to have an advocate and someone to oversee it.
Robin is excellent at keeping people honest; especially building contractors to make sure the product they deliver is the product you paid for. Robin will oversee the entire project, or limit it to periodic site visits depending on the level of service you desire.
Other Services: Robin has provided consulting and other services over the years and wants to meet your needs. Other services include:
- Drafting services: If you need something drawn up in AutoCAD, Robin’s firm can do that for you at a reduced hourly rate.
- Building Permit and Design Review Consulting: Some clients need help navigating the sometimes byzantine permit requirements that various jurisdictions have. Robin is an expert at this and will go with you to the permit office and keep everyone honest. She can provide you consulting services to make this process easier. Robin has hosted meetings with neighborhood associations that require review to make the sale to neighbors on the benefits of the project.
- Time and material consulting: Robin has had clients that have wanted to flesh out the feasibility of their projects or want a professional opinion. Robin’s proposals normally are project bases with a not to exceed amount. Some clients prefer to hire Robin at an hourly rate for a specific task, and she is happy to provide this service.