Why Imprint Architects?
Designing and building your home may be the most exciting, interesting, and complex process you’ll ever undertake. As architects, we have been trained to assist you in the decision making process required to design your new home. We can help you weigh alternatives as well as recommend solutions you may never have considered on your own. Working with a licensed architect insures that you will get the maximum value for what will probably be your biggest investment.
Imprint Architects has been designing homes in Central Iowa since 1994. No other architect, home designer, or home builder is more qualified to assist you with the design and construction of your home. Imprint Architects blends the following areas of the home design and construction into every project we complete:
DESIGN of Building
SCIENCE of Building
CRAFT of Building
BUSINESS of Building
Residential Design Process
Pre-Design (Design Programming)
What do we want
The design process often begins with something as little as a photograph clipped from a magazine or a picture taken of a house or lodge while on vacation. Other images and floor plan ideas are added over time and categorized into a home design portfolio. As the time for construction draws near, you may decide you need to sit down with an architect to begin the formal design process. We refer to this initial meeting as the Design Programming meeting. It is at this meeting that we begin to understand not only what your functional requirements are, but also what aesthetic goals you may want included in your new home. We will also talk about site and budget constraints as well as features you would like to have incorporated.
The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” carries a lot of meaning at this meeting. We encourage you to bring in photographs, plan sketches, and magazine clippings that you may have been collecting. We may also have you complete a “Needs, Wants, Desires” list. We may discuss your existing home and features that you like as well as those you don’t like.
We will also talk about programming requirements such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas you would like to have. How many levels should your house have as well as the preferred location of the owner’s suite. The sizes of these rooms and any functional relationships that you require. The project budget will be discussed as well as what possible fees can be expected. All of this information will be used as we begin the formal design process of your new home.
After the meeting and before we begin designing, we will complete a space analysis that lists all of the rooms you want in your new home along with their approximate sizes. These net square footages are then increased approximately 15% to include wall thicknesses, circulation, and ancillary spaces. This final estimated gross square footage is then used to develop some preliminary cost estimates.
Order to the Chaos
Once we have decided on what you want to build, we will begin to sort through the written program requirements to ascertain a more precise target square footage. Once this has been determined, a designer will begin designing your home with a series of rough sketches that show the general room sizes and relationships. If a final site has been selected, these sketches are placed over the site plan to insure the plan footprint fits within the site constraints. These sketches are further refined to include doors, windows, cabinets, and other details and arrangements that help to develop the design.
Once we have completed the sketches and/or models, a meeting will be set up to review the design with you. This design will still be very schematic in nature and we expect to have both positive and negative feedback at this meeting. Remember, it is your home, if there is anything you are not happy with, now is the time to let your designer know. It is much easier and more cost effective to make changes now, than later in the design process.
The design will be very preliminary at this meeting. It will have enough detail to express the design intent, but will lack much of the information and details necessary to get a firm estimate or bid. These drawings will be completed in subsequent design phases.
Refining the Order
The next step in the process, called design development, involves taking the schematic design sketches from the previous phase and incorporating your comments we received at the schematic design meeting. Additional details are added to the plans and the exterior elevations are developed showing doors, windows, and materials.
This is also the time we add volume to the spaces and work through not only the horizontal relationships of the spaces, but how the spaces relate to each other vertically. Much of this information is communicated through building sections and further development of the virtual model.
Technical issues such as structural layouts, mechanical systems, and thermal/moisture protection need to resolved at this time. All decisions that are to be documented in the final working drawings also need to be made at this time. Design Development drawings are often completed to the point where general contractors and suppliers can begin to get material take-offs and determine project scope for more accurate pricing.
Communicating your design
The Construction Documents Phase of the project is that time when the drawings are completed and dimensions and notes are added to the documents. A basic set of construction documents includes floor plans, exterior elevations, wall sections, stair sections, and roof plans. For additional fees we can also complete interior elevations, millwork details, building sections, finish plans, full kitchen and bath design, and any other drawings needed to communicate the design to the builder. These drawings along with a project specification become the basis for the general contract. The project specifications can be completed either by you, the owner, as an outline of requirements or they may be completed by the contractor as part of their proposal. On larger custom home projects, the specification is typically completed by the architect and is included with the drawings as part of the bidding and contract documents. Remember, the more complete the construction documents are the more accurate your bids will be. Full construction documentation will also result in fewer problems and less change orders throughout the construction phase of your new home.
Choosing your builder
There are a number of ways to select who will build your home. Many people will have already decided on a builder prior to the design phase while others prefer to complete the design process first and have two or three selected contractors submit bids. As your architect, we can assist you early on in choosing which method works for you as well as facilitate the process to insure accurate and complete bids.
Imprint Architects also provides full Design/Build services that provides are clients with a one stop shop for the design and construction of their project. There are many advantages to design/build including shorter project timeline and greater budget control. Click HERE to learn more about the design/build process.
Our expertise applied to the construction of your home
Our involvement does not have to stop with at the completion of the design phase. We can act as your representative by monitoring the contractors work for conformance with the construction documents. As the designers of your residence, no one is more qualified to ensure your home is built as it was designed. From the first shovel of earth turned to the final walk through and punch list, we can be there to help facilitate the construction process.