What are the steps you need to take when starting an architecture project?
Building in the Bay Area is an expensive and time consuming process. You don’t want to just jump into something without laying the proper groundwork first. Whether you are thinking about a house remodel, addition, new house, or accessory dwelling unit, the first steps will be the same. It doesn’t matter if you live in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, or any other Bay Area town, the first steps will be the same.
This is the series of steps that I recommend to clients when starting out on an architecture project:
I strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy of my book, Project Planning Checklist. It is a short book, which is a checklist of tasks I developed that you should consider prior to starting any residential architecture project. I have been using this checklist for years and it is very useful for my clients to start thinking about the project, the process, and the resources necessary to carry out a project.
Once you have read, and hopefully completed, the Project Planning Checklist, the second major step is to book an Initial Meeting with me. The Initial Meeting is an hour long, on site design consultation with me. It isn’t a “meet and greet”, nor is it a sales meeting. It is a consultation where we get to discuss the problem you have with your home and the potential solutions to your project. I answer questions you might have about potential solutions, the approval process, the likely schedule to complete the project. You can book an Initial Meeting using the booking form on the right side of any page on my site.
After the Initial Meeting, I recommend proceeding with a REALITY CHECK feasibility study. The REALITY CHECK is a stand alone service, with no expectation of further work. I help you think through the major issues with the project, including viability, budget, and schedule. I will research the planning code requirements for your site and determine the approval process required for your project. The finished report can be used by any architect to provide you with an estimate for services based on real information.
Those are the first critical steps to starting a project.
After the REALITY CHECK is completed, I can prepare a proposal for the project, if you want to move forward. It makes no sense to prepare a proposal prior to completing the Initial Meeting and the REALITY CHECK feasibility study. Doing so is pure speculation, and likely to be subject to changes that will only frustrate you.
However, having gone through these early processes allows both you and I to come to a better understanding of the problem and the process, and even get some idea about the potential solutions. It provides a more complete picture of the services you will need and the process required to gain approvals and permits. Any proposal prepared after completing these steps will be far more accurate, and therefore more useful for you.
Those are the first three steps. Step 1 is easy. You can do it today.