frequently asked questions

Questions . . . and answers

  1. What range of services do you provide?
  2. How long does it take to design & build a new home?
  3. What are typical design fees?
  4. Architect, Designer, AIA - what's the difference?
  5. Do you have any employment opportunities?


What range of services do you provide?

The core of our practice is residential construction design for both new homes and remodels/additions, from conceptual design through construction drawings (blueprints) and beyond. Our services can include everything from early consultations and feasibility studies to construction monitoring.

Site development and planning for both small and large tracts is implicit in our site-based design approach, and we enjoy working with challenging topographies. We regularly partner with landscape design professionals to sculpt and shape a home's setting.

We also offer consultancy services for non-residential projects including site development, commercial upfit and space planning.


How long does it take to design & build a new home?

The design process, from preliminary interview to the completion of bid drawings, usually takes anywhere from six weeks to six months, depending on the scale and complexity of the project. It also depends upon the time you need to respond and make decisions during design development, and on the pressures of our current workload. If your time constraints are critical, be clear about this from the beginning and we will do our best to facilitate meeting your deadlines.

The design process is followed by the contractor's bid, the bank appraisal, and contract preparation, usually requiring an additional six to eight weeks. Construction can take as little as seven months (less for a simple addition or remodel) or more than a year for a large and complex project. Bad weather, especially around grading & foundation time, can cause significant delays. Allowing for all these variables, an average custom home takes about a year to fourteen months from start of design to completion.


How much should we allow for design fees? How should I expect to be billed?

We will normally propose a design budget which is between 5% and 10% of the estimated construction cost depending on the size, nature and anticipated complexity of the project and the degree of construction supervison which may be required.

We prepare invoices periodically - normal milestones being first design drafts, completion of schematics, completion of bid drawings, and final construction documents. More frequent billing is available if preferred. Payment is expected within ten days of invoice date unless otherwise agreed. Design fees are an up-front cost which cannot usually be incorporated into construction financing - if in doubt, consult your financial services provider.


Architect, Designer, AIA - what's the difference?

Use of the title of architect in connection with the design of buildings is restricted in North Carolina, as in most of the U.S., to those who are licensed with the State Board. Those who perform similar work but who have chosen not to pursue licensing are known as designers, or, if it is their specialty, as residential designers.

Architects who use the letters AIA after their name are indicating membership of the American Institute of Architects, a voluntary professional association. Both architects and designers vary widely in their schooling, experience, competence and talent. Neither licensing and professional affiliation nor the absence thereof are a guarantee of the suitability of any design professional for a specific project.


Do you have any employment opportunities?

We are always interested in talking to like-minded design professionals.