Residential & Commercial Architecture Project Preparation
Prior to contacting us, carefully consider what you want your architecture project to accomplish, and write it down in an organized format. How many people will your new building or addition accommodate? What will they be doing, and how will those activities relate to each other? It may be helpful to make a list of each activity and plot it against the different spaces you want included in your project. Decide which activities have a strong relationship to each other, and which should be kept separate. Which spaces would need to accommodate special equipment or furniture? Make notes about how you want your building to look, but at this early point try not to get caught up in specific details.
To save on our initial fees, gather all of the relevant information about the existing conditions and constraints you can. This will include contacting the county to verify the zoning, to be sure your proposed use is allowed. If you haven’t already got one, you will want to secure a property survey showing not only the boundaries, but also the topography, existing structures, vegetation, easements, and setbacks. This is sometimes called an Environmental Site Delineation (ESD) plan, and may be preformed by either a civil engineer or a land surveyor.
If your site is not served by public water or sewer, locations for a new water well and septic disposal area will need to be determined – and any such systems that are existing should be located. A hydrologist can help with locating the best place to drill a well, and a sanitary engineer should be consulted for septic system design. Often, the latter will require soil samples and percolation tests witnessed by the local environmental health department.
We can work with you to analyze your site for the best building location, considering not only topography and well and septic constraints, but also traffic handling, solar exposure, prevailing breezes, and pleasant vistas. If you want to use sustainable (“green”) design techniques in your project, working with the site features is the right place to start.
If your project will add to an existing building, we will need to measure the building – or ask you to supply us with the appropriate information. To this end, we have compiled measurement instructions to aid the accuracy of those measurements. If you are renovating or adding to a building located in a designated historic district, you may qualify for tax credits, but the work must comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for Rehabilitation”.
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