Frequently asked questions


  • How long does it take to design a home?

The amount of time the design will take from start to finish is about 6 to 10 months. This will depend on how complex the design is and how large your house will be. Review board approval is our promise and any resubmittal is at our expense.

  • How does the design process work?

An Architect is your communication tool and guide from concept through construction. We carefully listen to your needs analyze those and, analyze your lot to help you establish preliminary size and construction cost estimates. Then we digest and compose your variables, adding our experience and talent to all of the above to create a preliminary plan that fits you and your lot to a “T”.

We follow this with the production of the construction documents (blueprints). These clearly and precisely communicate to the bidders exactly how to execute the design as you have envisioned and we have drawn.

Finally, “no beautiful design exists until it is beautifully built”. We stay involved through the construction phase to answer any questions the builder has, deal with any unforeseen issues, clarify any gray areas and in general assure you that your home is being built according to the plans. Below is an outline of these services.


I. DESIGN PHASE (6 to 10 weeks) 30% of Fee

A. Programming – Client interview, scope of work, budget & schedule discussed.
Review Board Guidelines and building code review.
B. Site Analysis – Site visit, soil conditions, preliminary landscape, sun angles & wind directions and best location for building determined.
C. Schematic Design – Synthesize & digest above. Study architectural alternatives.
D. Meet with client and revisit programming
E. Preliminary Design – Floor Plans, Site Plan, Front & Rear Elevations.
1. Critique with client & modify as necessary.
2. Submit Preliminary to builders for preliminary estimate of cost.
3. Submit Preliminary to Architectural Review Board.
4. Consultation with Interior Designers (if on board).

II. CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS PHASE (10 to 14 weeks) 50% of Fee

A. Design Development – ¼” Blockout of approved Preliminary (Building
Sections, additional Elevation).
1. Review with Owner (Interior Designer, Builders). Modify as necessary.
2. Study model, if necessary ( extra service)
B. Construction Details (Structural, Foundation, Framing, Materials Selection).
1. Site plan, drainage, preliminary landscape, walks, drives, etc.
C. Interior Details (Sections, Interior Elevations, Materials)
1. Review with Owner. Meet with Interior Designer.
D. Electrical, Mechanical (Coordinate with consultants, as necessary).
1. Review with Interior Designer & Builder. Review budget.
E. Outline Specifications – Establish allowances. Select fixtures, appliances & equipment.
1. Review finishes, walls, floors & ceilings with Owner & Interior Designer.
F. Final reviews with Owner, Interior Designer & Builders.
G. Landscape Plan coordination.
H. Submit for final Architectural Review Board approval.
I. I Help you locate and select a builder
J. Administer the bid process or negotiate with builder.

III. CONSTRUCTION PHASE (10 to 16 months) 20% of Fee

A. Award Construction Contract. Low bid not necessarily selected.
B. Value engineering with Contractor & Owner to be sure we have been pricewise in our design and selections.
C. See AIA Document A205, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction of a Small Project.
1. Observe construction for consistency with plans & specs.
2. Verify accuracy of Builder’s monthly draw requests. Sign release of funds from lender to builder based on monthly observations.
3. Review and approve change orders or supply supplemental information.
4. Review builder submissions and or substitutions.

  • At what point should you bring Cowart into the picture?

As soon as possible. We can not only help you with your custom home design but will help you with your lot selection if you desire. We can discuss your expectations for your new home and then suggest lots that may be suitable for those expectations. We can offer our knowledge and experiences with materials, building codes, review board requirements and help you to establish a budget and schedule that provide meaningful guidance for your lot consideration. Please contact us when you are ready.

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