Day: June 2, 2013

By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

Consultations Between Homeowner and their Design-Build Firm

During the initial consultations between Homeowner and Design-Build firm, discussion of mutual strategies and goals should be discussed.

Obviously the major categories of cost, quality and schedule should be included, but also expectations, from both Parties viewpoints, should be a part of this meeting. It’s always best, in my opinion, if these ‘touchy’ yet quite pertinent parameters are concluded with a mutually accepted level of understanding.

‘Common Goals’ are not only a part of people relationships, but an integral part of the built environment with the natural environment. Our Kailua-Kona Hawaii, Couer d’Alene, Idaho and Sun Valley, Idaho projects have ‘common goals’ with the local Design Review Boards as well as the micro environment.

Further integration of these important sensitivities, is with our Green Building and Sustainable Design materials, systems and installations (please visit Luxury Resorts and Second Home Projects on our website). For our Hawaii project, we are specifying solar energy panels; long roof overhangs; energy efficient windows, bath fixtures and insulation; low VOC paint and sealers; bamboo flooring; and skylights for natural light.

To learn more, please contact us at: www.bsadesignbuild.com

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By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

References, Past Client Projects, and Walk-Throughs

Written as well as telephone communication with the Design-Build companies past Clients, can be a valuable resource for consideration. In particular, a Homeowner who has lived in the same home for lets say 3-6 years, will be able to provide the actual daily living evaluations, resulting from the design and construction decisions.

Also, maintenance; fixture/equipment materials; and functionality parameters is able to be evaluated over time. In person walk-throughs of past projects will reveal the results of the house plans and designs created, when building the house (please visit Testimonial: The Bardwills on our website).

That open floor plan design you saw on the plans that was about 7 inches long, is now a three dimensional reality of excitement, with natural light from skylights, volume ceilings and interesting interior design finishes. As well, the door that was drawn on the plans not even 2 inches long, is welcomed as a piece of art with white translucent glass, iron work and select grade wood rails.

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By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

Design Build Firm’s Presence Signifies Stability

A design-build firm’s years of practice in a particular city likely signifies stability on many levels. Firstly, it substantiates ‘acceptable practice’ for delivering a Project on time, on budget and with quality.

Also, a professional understanding of permit processing, inspector approvals and client satisfaction is evidenced, whether it be a Luxury Home, Remodel or Addition.

As well, an amenable working relationship with subcontractors and material suppliers is thus part of the Team package, working to the client’s benefit.

It’s also worthy to note, that after the project is completed, the general contractor’s proximity to the home site can be quite valuable. Our 24/7 construction management support is available for very timely responses. Repeat client’s are coveted with special interest upgrades and continuity with the same seasoned, quality minded and cost-effective Trades.

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By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

When Building a House

When building a house, don’t forget to consider the big picture first, regarding the type of ‘business structure’ that will include the design and construction requirements needed.

Past methods of hiring a separate architect and separate general contractor, that inherently could result in ‘disconnections’ causing cost overruns and delays, can likely be avoided with a design-build contract format.

With this system, the Principle of the firm is most often the licensed architect and the licensed general contractor, thus the very important cost, quality and schedule parameters can be monitored on a daily basis, in-house.

Therefore, in lieu of the traditional method of designing plans first and then going out to bid and hoping it will meet a client’s budget (which rarely occurs), we take the overall budget first and then back it into properly designed plans, so that at the end of the job, the cost of construction is ensured.

There are huge advantages for the homeowner if a design-build firm is selected to perform your home addition and the principle of the firm submitting the plans for approval is also both the architect and general contractor of record.

For instance, when the plans are being processed through the many entities of the Los Angeles Building and Zoning Code Departments, quite often ‘on the spot’ decisions are made that have a significant impact on the Project’s costs. When the principle is experienced and licensed in both professions, an intelligent ‘on the spot’ adjustment to the plans can be made with regard to ensuring that the overall budget remains in tact, without sacrificing quality.

Also, successful approvals from Design Review Boards and Public Hearings will result in timely plan processing, thus relieving unwanted client anxiety.

Adjunct to these basic services that an experienced design-build firm will be able to provide, is the feeling of a confident, trusting and fun atmosphere during the process.

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By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

Family Expansion and Daily Living Considerations When Adding On To Your Home

Space for children, along with their friends, would be an obvious start for consideration.

These bedrooms, closets and bathrooms should be contemplated, designed and articulated with respect to boy/girl sexes not only as youngsters, but teenagers as well (i.e. two young boys sharing a bedroom may be ok initially, but a separate additional bedroom is likely to be needed as each grows up).

Also, a trend that has been developing, is for that same teenager who graduated college out of town to now find their way back into the home, as well as older in-laws who need some special care, seeking refuge in this home. Thus strategic planning in terms of the architectural design layout/location within the home, possibly with a separate outside entrance, insulated walls, handicap bathroom specifications, etc., should be evaluated.

Another trend, but less prevalent, is to utilize space designed as a junior suite, for rental purposes. In this case, the above accommodations along with other considerations such as an additional third car garage (granted that the property can accommodate this), a small independent stack washer/dryer area within the Suite, utility sink/microwave/under counter refrigerator, service area, etc., should be planned for. Depending on site conditions, if a detached two car garage is existing, adding on to this Garage to accommodate an independent Junior Suite space, may be a viable consideration.

Logistics of the family who chooses to live in their home during a two story addition, as well as their personal schedules, must also be considered.

For instance, we are typically on the job at 7:00 a.m. and ready to perform work. On the other hand, the parents and kids are still getting ready for their day, so a request may be given for us to start an hour or more later, thus losing time from the typical day. Sure, we can work later, but with regards to the other Trades that also need to integrate first thing in the morning (i.e. material deliveries), this inherently creates some ‘stand around time’ inefficiencies.

On the other hand, a one story addition can be ‘sectioned off’ from the existing home much easier. This then allows the family to go about their schedule, with much more privacy and our construction crew can go about their schedule with ‘business as usual’.

Another consideration with one or two story, is sound. Because the one story addition is sectioned off, sounds from saws, hammers, people and material being moved around will typically be muffled within the one story addition. With a two story addition, these sounds will likely transmit much more readily, throughout the home.

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By:
Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

Home Addition Size Considerations

A one story addition ‘footprint’ will typically be defined by regulations with respect to side yard and rear yard setback dimensions, as well as a percentage of the lot size, along with a bonus percentage (for lots not located in hillside zone or coastal area). Therefore, the larger the property, the more square footage can be added.

If the site has a detached garage, this may affect the size and shape of the one story addition. For instance, typically a ten foot separation is required between the garage and the one story addition, thus possibly impacting the floor plan design of the addition.

Given our above regulations, a two story addition can be up to 75% of the square footage calculated for the total one story addition allowance. As with a one story addition, height and step back considerations are code parameters that would be of planning considerations, during the architectural phase of the Project.

The type of residential zone that the property is located in will dictate the percentages of the above considerations and is the starting point for these evaluations.

A typical family with mom and dad and two kids, will likely covet their backyard spaces, in different ways. Planning for needs such as a BBQ/eating area; pool; half court basketball; maybe soccer space; grass area for the dog; etc. should be considered.

In this case, a second story addition, especially if the lot does not have a lot of depth, would probably be the preferred option for a home expansion. As stated previously, yes it is more expensive than a one story addition, but sometimes there’s not a lot of choice.

Also, master planning this out door space for ‘adult entertaining’, while the kids are young or even when they are no longer at home, should be thought of. For instance, level changes; semi-secluded seating areas; outdoor bars; access to the kitchen; music/sound considerations relative to the neighbors as well; catering and trash capabilities; etc. should be planned out in a landscape architectural design appropriately.

As well, strategic planning/planting of trees; shrubs; flowers; etc. should be visualized for current and future growth in terms of privacy/maintenance/smell/sun screening/visual color/etc. In terms of natural resources, watering requirements/conservation along with the possibilities of home grown herbs/fruits/vegetables and compost recycling, can optimize the outdoor/living environment.

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