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How Long Do Architects Take To Draw Up Plans?

In contrast to commercial multi-family projects, designing a custom home can lead to a different timeline and a different set of specifications. However, for most single-family residential designs, most custom homes adopt a standard cadence that seems precise.


The timetable may vary from one architecture company to another, depending on the scope and scale of the design. It is also dependent on the decision-making ability of the owner how long the house plans take to complete. Since house designs include architects, designers, electricians, plumbers, tenants, and government officials coordinating, it's not an easy calculation to estimate the wait time. Note, it's crucial to define the amount of time it takes to get a full custom house design.


A complacent house design can lead to tension and even poor execution, which is why it is important to give the client time before you start the building process to review the house plans and make suggestions for improvements. A rundown of the entire house-plan-drawing timeline is given below.


Initial client conversations and contact

The initial brainstorming process of discussions with a prospective client will last anywhere from a week to a few months. In these initial meetings, a client will decide whether the architect and his portfolio are a good match for their in-the-making project, which is an integral step in ensuring the customer's satisfaction.


As different customers approach architects at various stages of the design process, the period of this first-point-of-contact step varies. While still searching for a house, some may seek assistance, while others may contact an architect when they are ready to begin the project. You will move to the next phase after reaching an agreement on the project's timeline and budget.


Filling out a questionnaire

If you have signed an agreement with the architecture company, a questionnaire that you, as the client, will have to complete will be administered. The questionnaire is a complete account of what you want in your customized home. You will record your criteria, priorities and the must-haves of your dream home on the questionnaire. It normally takes about a week to complete this questionnaire. Using your current or past home(s) as a comparative guide to inform the design elements, layouts, built-in storage, electrical placements you want to incorporate in your new home is a great tip for streamlining the questionnaire level, while simultaneously exposing the design elements and layouts that flopped in your current / former home.


Information gathering and documentation

This is one of the project stages with the most participation. Here, to determine the current conditions, the architects undertake site visits. It will be the responsibility of the design firm you have hired to collaborate with other specialists in the area, such as geotechnical engineers and surveyors. To collect records on the property and get clarification on building and zoning laws, they will also need to be in touch with the city.


This stage also includes reviewing the questionnaire you submitted and any other inspirational materials you submitted, such as a screenshot of an online design feature, images from a model house, or inspiring projects from a Pinterest board. Within a three-week timeframe, this stage is normally completed.


Generating a diagram of the project

In this stage, after gathering information from previous stages, cross-referencing it, and filtering through it to establish physical diagrams, architects create a schematic design. You will hold several meetings with the architecture firm you hired during this process, and review several design concepts. The diagrams would then be built into a 3D model after deciding upon a template.


You will be able to take the designs home and determine whether or not they suit your criteria in order to make a thoughtful decision. Usually, this process takes two meetings for a period of two months.


Developing the design and acquiring permit documents

The architect will plan the building assemblies and create the requirements such as power, materials, appliances, and plumbing as you begin to check-off things on the to-do list and make educated decisions about your dream home.

Here, civil and structural engineering records, as well as consultant information, are taken into account in the design. Usually, this stage takes about a month to complete. Don't be confused by the wide range of options for requirements out there. Be mindful of the desire to extend your range of appliances, supplies, or fixtures. Tensions along the way can be eased by accuracy and a well-defined vision.


Submitting the permits and construction documents

The architect will complete the documents at a technical level throughout this stage, including window and door schedules, construction parts, and other detailed details. In this process, jurisdiction requirements such as stormwater retention design, requirements for energy code, and job site safety will be accounted for. The design schedule will be finalized once the construction documents are submitted. Your architectural company should submit a collection for prior review by the building department instead of waiting around for the complete completion of the design documents.


This should save time because there are specifics that are not important to the construction department, such as material transitions, surface color, or finishes. When the building department starts reviewing the design documents, it will also allow the architect time to wrap-up the construction document information.


You should always expect the unexpected in the phase of design / construction. Other items that may add weeks to the timetable include, but are not limited to: neighborhood covenants, health department approval of septic systems, and water provider approval of utilities.


Final word

It is right to assume that it will take about four months for the architects to complete the project draw-up for most custom single-family residence designs. This four-month construction schedule allows the architects, contractors, and consumers enough time for a satisfying finished product to do their job right.

Are You Looking for an Architecture Firm to Design Your Home?


Ecobuild Architects provides exceptional design and construction administration services for residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects throughout California with an eye towards sustainable/ high-performance building solutions. We are experts in suggesting Cost-Effective/ Sustainable Solutions for any size project. If you are searching for an architect that specializes in Zero-Net Energy Building Envelope Design, Water Reuse, Healthy Indoor Air Quality, & Fire Resilient/ New Home Construction Practices, look no further than Ecobuild Architects in Oakland, California. Contact us today for your free consultation!

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