Start with a Design Contract that will cover all of the steps required in order to help you make the best decision. A Design Phase contract should include;
Design Feasibility Studies: In this phase, we will gather measurements and put together a plan that outlines layouts and options that we think will accomplish your design goals. Clients will sit with the design team in the studio and go over the floorplan and collaborate together on changes and revisions. Homeowners may also receive broad pricing information during this initial phase. We want clients to know if their scope of work and budget are possible. What benefit is it to a client if their design team draws a plan that is twice their stated budget? We try and eliminate that potential problem early on so clients can explore the realistic possibilities.
Engineering: Only after a floor plan is decided on should the engineer be called in. To do this step prematurely only makes the homeowner pay for professional services that most likely will have to be redone once the floor plan is finalized. The Design/Build team should provide this service and the homeowner should not have to find their own engineer. After the engineer makes the final structural call outs and calculations, the pricing and proposed budget may be updated to reflect these changes, if any were made.
Construction Drawings: At the end of the engineering phase, the homeowner will have a design and budget that they are ready to proceed on. At this point, the Design/Build team will then create a set of plans that are ready for city submittal. This process may take weeks as all of the information needs to now to be integrated into the final set of build ready plans.