How We Work

The Design Process

Projects are broken down into phases
Those used most often are: Retainer,
Floorplan Design, Design Development, and Construction Documents.


The Design Phases

THE RETAINER is the only payment paid in advance – when I am at the property to measure the house or at the signing of the contract. I will provide drawings showing the existing house and property and, during the first meeting at HOMETEC, we will go over a couple of design layouts and City/Country requirements. The homeowner takes these drawings home for further review.

The 10 percent retainer covers work performed up to this point, making this a good way for the homeowner to do a feasibility study without incurring the entire architectural fee. If the homeowner decides not to go forward with the project, no additional expense has been incurred.

THE FLOORPLAN DESIGN PHASE is where we begin playing with ideas. Where will rooms go, what are their relationships, sizes and computer, we develop the design further as to where windows would go, how ceilings might be treated, and how the traffic flow can be best accommodated.

THE DESIGN DEVELOPMENT PHASE is where the project is put into our Chief Architect software, allowing the client to experience the layout in virtual 3-D. At this point we begin working on the exterior view of the house – what do the windows look like, what direction the roof would go, how the roof integrates to the existing, different height elevations.

Also, this level would include completing the floor plan with actual window and door sizes, room dimensions and basic electrical layout. Clients are better able to make decisions because they don’t have to rely on assumptions of what a particular finish or design element will look like. Clients will be able to take home and study software files of the design after each meeting.

At the conclusion of this phase, clients are ready to obtain estimates from contractors and are given plans to do so. Contractors will be able to provide a rough estimate for the construction cost. Clients may begin developing relationships with contractors without the pressure of a bidding condition. If the design exceeds the client’s budget, then the client can return to us, reduce the scope of work accordingly and obtain another estimate from contractors. Since the Construction Drawings can be costly, its important to make sure the project is within budget at this time.

THE CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS PHASE is begun only upon direct instruction by the client. The documents are very technical and so this phase doesn’t require a lot of client input. They take about 4-5 weeks to create. The client is given 4 sets of plans and may now obtain contractor bids. These documents are ready to be submitted to the City/Country for plan check. They will respond with ‘comments’ or ‘redlines’ which are addressed by HOMETEC and any consultants and plans are resubmitted.

From this point, I am basically ‘on call’. The Building Inspectors is at the job site so often it has proven redundant for me to make continuous on-site inspections during construction. However, your contractor is encouraged to contact us if anything arises needing our attention. Sometimes a phone call or email is all that’s required but sometimes I will need to come to the job site to resolve any problems or answer questions. We do not generally charge for this service as we see it as part of the package that construction goes smoothly.

Of course, there can be many other components to a project, depending on Zoning Ordinances, complexity, and necessary consultants, to name a few. But this information should be helpful in understanding the basics and how we approach each project.

Build It Green.

‘Green Building’ is a whole-systems-approach to building that includes multiple strategies for conserving energy and natural resources, reducing waste and saving money.

All cities in the Santa Clara Country have adopted a ‘green’ ordinance and use Build It Green’s GreenPoint Rated Checklist as the standard measure for adherence to it. Not all cities require the checklist to be ‘certified’ by a GreenPoint Rater.

Points are given on the checklist when green building products and practices are incorporated into your new construction or remodeling project in the areas of: Resource Conservation, Indoor Air Quality, Water Conservation, Community and Energy Efficiency.

Green products and practices relate to what type of windows are used, the energy efficiency of appliances, types of plants used in landscaping, paint and wood finishes, recycling demolition waste, using the sun’s radiant heat and the list goes on.

HOMETEC does not specialize in a particular style of design. We are interested in designing to the Homeowner’s specifications. We provide a Homeowner with several ways to accomplish their goal while explaining choices and trade-offs. My personal design choices are secondary to what the client prefers, although it is important that the design be a smooth, cohesive package-resulting in a home that looks balanced and natural, with no obvious addition or remodel – a home that looks like a custom home even though it might have been built in different phases.

Another important aspect of design is that of future marketability. For some Homeowners this is a major concern but for others, a very minor one – depending on how long they plan to live in the home. Each aspect of the design is considered as to its marketability.

Completed Projects

CLICK HERE to see a map locating many of our projects.