FAQ

Construction & Remodeling | Certified Green Professional | Commercial Construction | HVAC, Plumbing | Electrical and Lighting

1. How do you charge?

For new plans we charge by the square foot under roof. This would include the “Heated & Cooled” areas, Covered Porches, Garages. Simple Patios and Decks do not count. Remodel Jobs are by the hour and/or complexity.

2. How are the payments set up?

We require a 25% deposit to get started. The balance is due upon completion of our part. Any Engineering will be billed directly to you by the engineer upon their completion of their part.

3. If Engineering is required or requested, how is that handled?

We have an engineer we work with that we believe is very knowledgeable and fair. We however do not have to use our engineer. If you have one you would rather use, we will gladly work with them.

4. How long does it take to get a finished set of plans?

This obviously depends on how much information you bring in on the initial meeting. We have helped people from having no real idea of what they wanted to someone coming with most everything drawn out to scale and we helped the finish the working drawings. The more information you have and a more thought out idea of what you like, and dislike will greatly speed up the process. We feed off your energy. If you know what you want and are ready to go, we will work fast to complete the drawings and get you out the door ready for permitting. If you are unsure of what you want and not in a hurry, we will take our time and take it one step at a time.

5. How long does it take between meetings?

We shoot for two weeks or less any time “the ball is in our court”. Most often it is less than that. When the preliminary is in your hands, you are in charge. You can come back as soon as the next day or take weeks or even months. We have had the process stretch out for over a year but that was at the client’s discretion.

6. How many copies of plans do we get?

I initially give you three copies for the permitting process. Most permitting offices require two sets. This would leave you one that you and/or your builder can use to start the bidding process. Once you get your permit just let us know and we will get you the additional copies. The total number will depend on where you are building and is required. We will discuss this at the first meeting. You can expect at least five sets. Sometimes more are needed.

7. How will we receive our drawings?

You will pick up the three printed hard copies upon completion from our office. Then pick up any remaining copies again at the office. If you would like to receive a PDF copy just ask and one will be emailed to you. This comes in handy for most banks and some builders like to use them as well. If you are an out of town client, we can either mail you hard copies or email the PDF file to a local printer to print for you.

8. When do we pay the balance of our bill?

Once you have agreed that the plans are to your expectations and we are ready to send them to the engineer.

9. Do we have to take the drawings to the engineer?

No. We will handle that for you. We will export the files from out software to the format required by the engineer. Once he completes his drawings, he will email me the finished files. I will print his files along with mine and you will pick up complete sets containing my drawings as well as his.

10. What determines if I need to use an engineer?

Certain cities require and engineer. Some do not. Sometimes the design of a house will guide us to want to use an engineer. If you want to build your house to meet the “Gold Fortified Certification” then you will be required to have it engineered.

11. What is “Gold Fortified Certification”?

FORTIFIED Home™ provides a uniform, voluntary, superior set of standards to help improve a home's resilience by adding system-specific upgrades to minimum code requirements. The FORTIFIED Home™ program has three levels of designation – Bronze, Silver and Gold.

12. Why would I want to get “Gold Fortified Certification”?

The main reason would to build a safer home. The second reason would be to save money on your insurance premiums.

13. Is there an additional fee for going Fortified?

There are no additional fees for having the drawings “Fortified”. There is however and additional fee to have it inspected by an independent evaluator.

14. Can you design a house for me even if I do not live in your area?

Yes. We have designed many houses in other states and countries. We will be required to check the local codes requirements and design specifically for that area.

15. Do you visit the site where the house will be built?

We can and do. This is not required. We do not see most of the lots the house will be built on.

16. Do I need to have a builder picked out prior to having my house designed?

No. Having a builder on your team can help though.

17. Do I need to have my house designed prior to hiring a builder?

No. Many times people will get their plans completed prior to picking a builder.

18. What are the pros and cons to having a builder prior to having the drawings completed?

This is my opinion. If you have a builder on your team up front, they can help during the design phase keep you within a targeted budget but then you will feel obligated to this builder. If you have the plans completed prior to hiring a builder, you risk having a house the may cost more to build than your budget will allow. You will be able to get bids from multiple builders for estimating purposes.

19. What if I get completed drawings and then must make changes after for any reason?

This is my opinion. If you have a builder on your team up front, they can help during the design phase keep you within a targeted budget but then you will feel obligated to this builder. If you have the plans completed prior to hiring a builder, you risk having a house the may cost more to build than your budget will allow. You will be able to get bids from multiple builders for estimating purposes.

20. What do I need to bring to our first meeting?

Most people have already given a lot of time to their plans. The will bring in clippings from magazines, internet articles, Pinterest or Houzz sites. Parts and piece of houses they have seen, and we help you put it all together. I joke too to let me know what you do not like. Then I know not to go in that direction.

21. Do you have stock plans?

Yes. We have thousands of plans to choose from.

22. Will it save me money if I pick a stock plan?

Yes. If you pick something we already have, and you do not make any changes, you can save hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.

23. How much do stock plans cost?

It depends on the plan; how old it is and where it will be built. The reason for the variables is because building codes change.

24. How can we pay for the plans?

Most people pay by check. Cash is accepted. You can also pay by any credit card “Square” will accept. We pass along the 3% charge.

25. What building code do you design your plans for?

We are in Mobile County which is currently under the 2012 IRC (International Residential Code). We will design for any code. We just need to know where you plan to build.

26. How many times do meet? How many changes are we allowed to make?

The number of changes that will be made mostly depends on how much information you initially bring us to work from. The more detailed the information, the quicker we can get the drawings to where you want them. This will all influence how many times we need to meet. You can count on meeting at least four times.

27. What is the shortest time it took to have plans completed?

We had one client come in and knew exactly what she wanted. It was only a two-bedroom beach house, but we had the house completed the next day. Emailed a copy to the owner and she emailed it back with only a few changes and said she was ready to go to the engineer. We made the changes that day and sent it complete on our end that afternoon.

28. What is the longest it has taken to have plans completed?

We have had more than one set take almost two years but that was because the client would take their time on their side.

29. What is the average time it takes to have plans completed?

I would say between a month and a half to two months.

30. Do you only do custom individual plan?

No.

31. Do you work with Builders and Developers?

Yes. We love to build a relationship with the Builder & Developer. We have worked with Adams Homes since February 2003, DR Horton from 2006-2017, Breland Homes from 2009-2012, Halifax Homes from 2012-present and recently started working with Serenity Homes. We also work with many other builders that may do just a few houses a year to many more. We will work with you at any volume.

32. Do you offer volume discounts?

Yes.