Our Design Process
To help better communicate your ideas and goals to South Coast & Associates, Inc., consider preparing a scrapbook or a bubble diagram. Its fun and everyone in the family can contribute to their own chapter. Collect newspaper clippings, magazine articles, product brochures, paint chips, photos; anything that will illustrate a desired “look” or convey information about a design detail or style that you like. Collect any existing information, too: a site plan of the property: deed restrictions; or in the case of an addition or renovation, an existing blueprint of the structure.
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Priortizing Your Wish List
When brainstorming your wish list, consider the things you like most about your current residence, and things you wish to be different in your new home. Create two lists to record your thoughts, “new” and “old”. “New” will list conditions and things you want or need in your new home; “Old” will list conditions and things about your current home that you would like to carry over into your new one.
Fine Tuning Your "Wish List"
The next step is to prioritize the items in both lists by order of importance. Of course, items can be reordered any number of times before you’re satisfied. Fine-tuning a wish list with a spouse or family members will delineate your project goals more effectively.
Helping our clients to solidify design objectives is serious work for South Coast & Associates, Inc., but you and your family are the most important parts of the process of making sure everything runs smoothly. Together the notes taken from your research ‘ and comments will define the design-task’ to your expectations. This will ultimately translate into years of enjoyment from living in something you know you helped create.
Working with South Coast & Associates, Inc.
You’ve hired the right building designer for your project. What happens next? Brainstorming sessions to discuss your goals and project wish list: translating that wish list into spaces, which suit the needs and expectations of family members who will use them; integrating these goals with a construction allowance that corresponds with your budget. This planning process is known as developing an outline of construction objectives that are tailored to your specific project.
Establishing a Program & Budget
South Coast & Associates, Inc., will ask many questions during the initial stage of planning a new home or addition. Keep an open mind as you work together. Discussions may lead to creative design proposals which you never thought possible or, perhaps, considered beyond your construction budget. Just about everyone has heard from a friend or relative that their new home or addition cost substantially more than they first expected. Obviously this can happen when some portion of the construction materials or labor has been underestimated, or perhaps overlooked all together. There are many variables involved in construction which rarely make preliminary estimates 100% accurate considering that estimates must be recalculated after each design revision.
Knowing this, South Coast & Associates may establish a contingency amount for each line item in the proposed construction budget. By doing this, the client is made aware of potential cost overruns during design development, and can render informed decisions accordingly. After budgetary decisions are finalized, South Coast & Associates, Inc., will work to secure the most value from available construction dollars.
Design Phase Breakdown
Working with South Coast & Associates your dreams and ideas are transformed into a refined set of construction documents that accurately reflect the scope of the project. Our step-by-step process is outlined below:
A) Establish Goals and Prepare a Program: South Coast & Associates and client meet to discuss and outline the client’s expectations, needs, and construction budget.
B) Schematic and Design Development: South Coast & Associates, Inc., will present floor plans, site plans and usually, exterior elevation studies for the client’s review and approval. The time needed to work through this phase depends on the complexity of the proposed design. At the request of a client, interior perspective renderings can be prepared, or even a scale study model of the design. The goal here is for a client to fully understand a proposed design and to make any possible alterations. Now’s the time to address any lingering questions you may have relating to the layout, size or function of the space.
C) Construction Document Phase: Based on the approved design development documents and any further adjustments in the scope or quality of the project or in the construction budget authorized by the owner,South Coast & Associates shall prepare, for approval by the owner, construction documents consisting of drawings and specifications settings forth in detail the requirements for the construction of the project.
E) The Bidding Process: (OPTIONAL) South Coast & Associates will offer services to oversee the bidding process. First, this involves the preparation of bidding instructions, a set of guidelines to contractors, the intent of which is to secure an “apples-for-apples” quote within an allotted time from each bidder. Next, a select group of potential contractors is given an opportunity to bid on your project. Each is issued a complete set of drawings, specifications and bid instructions. A low bid doesn’t necessarily mean a contractor is best suited to do the job. As an experienced construction counselor, our comments and recommendations will better prepare you to select the best contractor for the job.
F) Construction Phase: (OPTIONAL) South Coast & Associates also may provide project administration services for their clients during construction. Project administration typically involves monitoring the work in progress, acting as their client’s agent during construction. The contractor awarded the bid is in charge of construction and
accordingly, is responsible for the work, which includes accountability for workmanship and materials. A building designer providing project administration services will observe the contractor’s methods and progress and report back to his or her client. Additionally, when the client receives a request for payment from the contractor, the building designer may be dispatched to inspect the work before a check is issued. They may certify that work has been completed as indicated on the requisition for payment; that any conditions spelled out in the contract documents relating to this particular payment have been satisfied; and that a progress payment can be released to the contractor.
The journey to your ‘dream home’ can take an unfortunate wrong turn if drawings are less than thorough and specifications are left in limbo. Contractors routinely refer to construction documents to justify an action, or lack of action. Any resulting squabble can bring construction to a screeching halt while high-priced attorneys iron out a settlement. South Coast & Associates works to avert such conflicts before the process begins: first, by exploring design solutions with their client on paper, and then by meeting with contractors bidding on the project to answer any questions regarding a specification or drawing detail.