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Site Development

Design Development is where we first begin to communicate design objectives. While it is important to communicate clearly what priorities you may have as the client, even more important is the designer’s ability to listen and put the client’s ideas down on paper.

If the designer is not be able to clearly see the design objectives of the client, the communication breakdown can be very frustrating for both parties. At Articulate Design Services, we have several solutions to this problem that eliminates this communication gap.Design Development

Most of our clients cannot read plans, even if they are generated on a computer by CAD software. The tools used at our company offer the latest in 3D building modeling software.  We employ Chief Architect®, one of the most sophisticated and effective design instruments available.  Chief Architect® allows us to create a complete 3D model of your home, allowing our clients to view the home before it is actually built rather than trying to teach the client how to read plans.

Don’t let anyone design your home using ancient CAD software… not when you can take a virtual tour of a 3D virtual model in full color.

A 3D Virtual Model of your home is first created using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. This is a complete replica; including walls, windows, doors, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, appliances, etc. We can even include furniture to project your future furniture placement. You will be able to virtually “walk through” your entire home. This is a somewhat new and unique service but is vital to ensure that your home is satisfactory to you.  Once a model is created, you can easily see where you might like to make changes to the design.  We then can use that model to draw up all of the construction plans & elevations of your project for construction. After making any alterations to the preliminary drawings, we begin finalizing the construction drawings.

Custom Residential Design & Drafting Company

Site Development

We develop efficient concept site plans and renderings, researching codes, ADA, parking, easements, and more.

Building Design

Building design from exterior to interior layouts, equipment, workflow, and accessibility.

Construction Documents

Our full drafting service produces high quality, complete, coordinated building plans for architectural, structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and civil disciplines.

Green Energy

Our energy specialists help you meet green building requirements, including energy efficient design, energy calculations, and produce documentation needed to save costs and obtain any available rebates.

What are your fees?

The Design and Drafting Fees for our services are very reasonable. Fees are usually based on the square foot of the project and range between $1/sf to $3.00/sf, depending on the complexity of the project. These fees reflect the quality of our work, not a high profit margin. We spend more time and effort to ensure accuracy and quality than the competition. You will be quoted an estimated fee before you sign our contract.

 

How do we design for free?

Most of our clients love us at the end of the project because they did not “technically” pay for our services. How is this done?

On most projects, we are able to save you enough money to cover our fees by suggesting alternative designs and methods of construction to accomplish the same end result… but costing you much less.

For example, one client wanted a covered patio at the rear of his home, but he could not afford the posts, beams, concrete footings, and labor to install it. So we simply suggested that he use “cantilevered trusses”, which do not require support beams or posts, etc. This suggestion saved him more money than our services cost him, and he still got what he wanted: a beautiful patio.

Typically, we make up for the cost of our services by saving you money during construction through design modifications. This means that if you had gone to a drafter and had him draft your plans without considering the design, you would have paid less for the plans, but more for the project overall due to poor design often featured on pre-drawn plans in plan books.


Current Fees*

Design Rate

  • Design Service: $75/hr.


Residential Drafting Rate

  • Single Story, Slab Foundation: $1.35/sf
  • Single Story, Raised Foundation: $1.60/sf
  • Two Story, Slab Foundation: $1.65/sf
  • Two Story, Raised Foundation: $1.95/sf

Commercial Drafting Rate

  • Commercial Drafting Varies per project.


Energy Rate

  • Energy Efficient Design: $0.35/sf
  • Energy Calculations: $0.15/sf
  • ACCA Manual D Duct Design: $0.50/sf


Engineering

  • Varies, Contract directly with engineers only.

*All fees based on a trussed roof and only represent the base fee for drafting & design services. Additional fees may be required for your particular project.  Contact us for a free quote.

Should I purchase internet plans?

In times past, some of our clients have felt that they could save money by purchasing pre-drawn plans via magazines or online websites. These websites offer many different designs and give the impression that their plans are guaranteed.

In some areas, the building codes are universal across several states. But in our area, we find that this state requires specific notes & details to meet such requirements. You may choose to purchase pre-drawn plans, but we must inform you that modifications will likely be required by local building departments, unless the plan was previously drawn by us.

In addition, most online plan companies do not list the cost for modifications. The reason is obvious, so be very careful.

We prefer to work with design ideas and sketches you come up with as the client. Our qualified designer will be able to get the general design concept of your home simply by providing this sketch. From there, we can create a custom design to meet your needs and save you any added unnecessary costs.

We do, however, recommend that you browse the online and printed resources of these pre-drawn plan companies, such as homeplans.com, to develop the concept of your home. Research the plans they provide and it will help you determine your own preferences in the design of your new home. Then our qualified designers can put together a plan that is customized for your needs.

You may use the links below to search plan databases for plan features that appeal to your needs & wants.  Provide us the plan numbers, and we will create a custom, unique plan just for you!




RELATED LINKS

    Use the links below to browse thousands of plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many homeowners planning to remodel are often surprised when asked if they have plans for their project. While a contractor may be able to draw a set of building plans, residential designers are specialists who are trained to use space most efficiently and educated in all the newest trends and products available.

They not only draw plans, but also spend time with each client to determine their specific needs, lifestyles, priorities and budgets to design a custom room, addition or entire home. Residential designers can best be described as a cross between an architect and an interior designer.

Q: Why seek out a residential designer to design my remodeling plans when so many contractors offer free design advice as part of their bid service?

A: Contractors generally tend to fill a client’s requests in the most straight-forward manner possible, keeping things simple to avoid confusion and spending any more extra time than necessary. Getting the job and building it are their number one priorities. By contrast, the residential designer’s whole purpose is sit down with you and work out your design puzzle in its entirety, with the emphasis on finding the best solution rather than the most obvious. Helping you understand the complexities of the project fully before it goes to bid (or worse, gets built) prevents misunderstandings and possible regrets about your choices.

Q: But isn’t using a residential designer expensive?

A: Not at all. In addition to saving time and effort, it often saves you money. Most contractors are so thrilled to get well-documented, professionally designed plans that they often rebate some or all of the residential designer’s fees back to the consumer when they sign up with them. They recognize that detailed plans with full specifications and interpretive drawings result in a smooth-running project. A client who understands and wants exactly what he is getting saves the contractor from the potential barrage of change-orders, time and money over-runs, and bad feelings on both sides that can easily result from misunderstandings and/or ambiguities. Having accurate plans before the bidding process even starts makes it easier on the contractors and the client. If multiple bids are obtained, everyone is bidding on EXACTLY the same materials, brands, models, etc.

Q: So when should I bring in a residential designer? Do I need to know precisely what I want before I talk to one?

A: Although ideally you’d meet fairly early in the project’s planning process, anytime prior to construction is appropriate. You need to have a basic idea of what you’d like to accomplish, but skilled questioning by the designer to help determine even your hidden wants and needs is a very important part of the process. An incredible array of products is available and getting guidance from a professional saves you time, effort and money. Questions about your lifestyle, creative solutions, or suggestions for new/specialized products may even trigger your looking at your project in a whole different light. The designer takes everyday usage practicalities, future growth potential and multi-use possibilities into consideration when creating your final design.

Q: What is the range of services that a residential designer typically offers?

A: It varies, but generally includes development of design options, working out the final floor plan with notes and specifications, a custom electrical plan, cabinet elevations, room isometrics, and door/window/appliance/finish schedules are available as desired. Full working plans (i.e. permit-ready) for homes or additions are usually available also.

Q: Should I purchase predrawn plans from the internet or magazine?

In times past, some of our clients have felt that they could save money by purchasing pre-drawn plans via magazines or online websites. These websites offer many different designs and give the impression that their plans are guaranteed.

In some areas, the building codes are universal across several states. We find that the this state requires specific notes & details to meet such requirements. You may choose to purchase pre-drawn plans, but we must inform you that modifications will likely be required by local building departments, unless the plan was previously drawn by us.

In addition, most online plan companies do not list the cost for modifications. The reason is obvious, so be very careful.

We prefer to work with design ideas and sketches you come up with as the client. Our qualified designer will be able to get the general design concept of your home simply by providing this sketch. From there, we can create a custom design to meet your needs and save you any added unnecessary costs.

We do, however, recommend that you browse the online and printed resources of these pre-drawn plan companies, such as homeplans.com, to develop the concept of your home. Research the plans they provide and it will help you determine your own preferences in the design of your new home. Then our qualified designers can put together a plan that is customized for your needs.

You may use the links below to search plan databases for plan features that appeal to your needs & wants. Provide us the plan numbers, and we will create a custom, unique plan just for you!

Use these internet sites to browse thousands of plans:

eplans.com
Dream Home Source
HousePlans.com

Q: How much do you charge?

The Design and Drafting Fees for our services are very reasonable. Fees are usually based on the square foot of the project and range between $0.85/sf to upwards of $2.00/sf, depending on the complexity of the project. These fees reflect the quality of our work, not a high profit margin. We spend more time and effort to ensure accuracy and quality than the competition. You will be quoted an estimated fee before you sign our contract.

Q: How do you design for free?

Most of our clients love us at the end of the project because they did not “technically” pay for our services. How is this done?

On most projects, we are able to save you enough money to cover our fees by suggesting alternative designs and methods of construction to accomplish the same end result… but costing you much less.

For example, one client wanted a covered patio at the rear of his home, but he could not afford the posts, beams, concrete footings, and labor to install it. So we simply suggested that he use “cantilevered trusses”, which do not require support beams or posts, etc. This suggestion saved him more money than our services cost him, and he still got what he wanted: a beautiful patio.

Typically, we make up for the cost of our services by saving you money during construction through design modifications. This means that if you had gone to a drafter and had him draft your plans without considering the design, you would have paid less for the plans, but more for the project overall due to poor design often featured on pre-drawn plans in plan books.

Engineering

structural-engineering
The International Building Code, or IBC, is the code to which all structures must comply. If the proposed design for your project does not meet the provision for “light frame” construction, the building department will require that an engineer perform an analysis on the building. The engineer must establish the maximum potential loads that may be applied laterally (seismic & wind) and vertically (gravity) and design the building to resist these loads. He/she also ensures that the structure is safe and will protect you and your family during a disaster.

If you do not know any engineers and are not familiar with this process, there’s no need to be concerned. We only work with the best engineers available, those who are conscientious, have good business sense, and have reasonable rates rates.

Although Architectural Services does not provide engineering services directly through our company, we would be happy to assist you in locating a licensed engineer that would be qualified to complete your project. We can even coordinate with them to streamline the design and drafting process.


What Structural Engineers Provideengineering_1

  • Knowledge of common construction materials such as steel, concrete, wood and masonry
  • Determination of lateral forces, such as wind and seismic, and expertise regarding the structural analysis and design of structures.
  • Selection of framing systems and recommendations for construction and economic feasibility.
  • Assessments of building safety. Construction coordination and preparation of plans, calculations specifications and reports.

Energy Calculations

WindmillsEnergy calculations are required for all projects by the state, mandated by state law. This requirement is not only a necessity, but if done properly, it can save you money as well as improve energy efficiency.

Basically, energy calculations are the result of a computer analysis of how much energy seeps through the walls, windows, doors, floor, and roof of your home. It does not reflect A/C or Heating design. On a hot (or cold) day, this can be a considerable amount of energy if not designed properly.  A loss of energy in your home is “money thrown out the window”, so to speak, because it seeps through poorly insulated or low quality windows. Only through the use of approved energy calculation software can an analysis be done properly. We use only approved energy calculation software and are highly qualified to ensure a comfortable home by assisting the owner and designer with all of the necessary information for improved energy efficiency

CAD Drafting Service

Looking for a CAD drafting service?

Our drafting service specializes in producing construction drawings (or building plans) for your project.  The construction documents communicate to the building department, the contractor, and any subcontractors what to bid and build. If drafting of the plans meet the proper standards, a building permit is easily obtained and construction proceeds smoothly and efficiently. If the CAD drafting is garbled, sloppy, inconcise, or missing important information, problems will escalate from the start.  And drafting problems lead to increased construction costs.

Our experienced drafters specialize in being familiar with current building codes and expectations of the California planning and building departments.  The goal of our drafting is to provide clean, neat, concise drawings; which makes reading the plans and using them much easier for the contractor.    From concept design to construction, our clients benefit from the experience and expertise of our designers while saving construction costs.

BENEFITS OF GOOD ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN


  • Avoid Construction Problems

  • Reduces Construction Costs

  • Good Design and Layouts

  • Ensures Good Construction Methods

  • Adequate Lighting, Parking, & Flow Patterns

CAD Drafting Service

If this is your first time building or remodeling, we encourage you to be very cautious regarding the decision to hire a designer.  Some contractors imply that some major decisions can be left to the construction phase.  While true in some cases, there is no substitute for a well thought out design.  Change orders are expensive to the owner, and in some cases, the contractor will benefit from field changes.

Our designers highly recommend that appropriate funds be dedicated to the design and documentation process, as these lay the ground work for the entire project.

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