Getting Started: Options, Fees, and FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions:


Why pay an architect or designer when the builder will include the plans for free?

The builder is a BUILDER, not a design professional. As such, he or she cannot provide the same services and expertise that will insure a truly personalized custom home. Some "Design-Build" firms retain architects or have their own designer on staff. These design professionals work for the builder and are being paid by the builder. This creates an inherent conflict of interest, as there is no independent individual to look out for and protect the homeowner's best interest. These design and drawing costs are generally not disclosed up front and become "hidden" in the "Design-Build" package.

How much will it cost to custom design and prepare final drawings & specifications?

For design, drafting and engineering services (steps 1 thru 3) as discussed and outlined in "From Dreams To Reality", our fees averages approximately 3% to 5% of the project's total costs. This fee is fixed and firm and is mutually agreed upon up-front before any work is commissioned. (Note: Our 3% to 5% fee, which includes a PE Stamp, compares to a national average of 7% to 15% range for the same level of services and expertise).

Can I buy steps 1 & 2 without committing to step 3?

Yes. You can contract for just the Design and Conceptual/Preliminary Drawings without committing to the Engineering and the preparation of Construction Drawings and Specifications. The fee would be approximately 1.5% to 2.5% of the project's costs, and would be mutually agreed upon up-front before any work is started.

I already have drawings, but need construction drawings & specifications?

Yes. I can work with drawings prepared by other professionals (architects and designers) to Design, provide Structural Engineering and prepare Construction/Permit/Bid Drawings and Specifications as required. The cost would range between $1.50 to $3.00/gsf (gross square foot) depending on the quality of the drawings provided.

I already have a full set of plans but want to make some changes?

Yes. I can supplement or modify existing plans to incorporate desired changes. This can be completed on an hourly basis (@$135/hr), or a mutually agreed upon fixed fee.

I'm not sure I can afford the house I want. Is there any way I can obtain a ballpark estimate of the construction cost before I commit to design & drawings?

Yes. A ballpark cost estimate range can be generated by requesting a "Cost Study" and completing the "Client Design Profile Questionnaire". This will address and query you about your specific needs, wants, and personal preferences. The study then generates a cost analysis and breakdown in major categories based on your specific input and requirements. When applicable, the report also generates cost cutting recommendations. The cost for this study is $800. This fee will be applied towards the design & drafting fee package if commissioned within 6 months.