At Urban Design Associates, we know the remodeling process inside and out, but most homeowners do not. It can be overwhelming, so we wanted to help prepare you for your next remodel project. That’s why we compiled a shortlist of questions we’ll ask you (and questions you should ask yourself) so you’re 100% prepared to get started.
We’ll skip over the obvious like, “Do you have a budget?” These are deeper questions that we wanted to explain the why behind and the importance of knowing the answer. So, let’s get started.
Do You Have Existing Plans for your Remodel Project?
By “existing plans,” we mean plans for your remodel. Current Floor plans, blueprints, etc. — any documents like that.
If yes, great! It helps us get the process started. It shows us what you like, what you don’t like, and saves a lot of time with us when drawing plans for your home.
If not, don’t worry. We’ll draw up the plan to match your vision, but it may add some time to the process. We want to get it right so you’re happy after all, so we take the time to get it right.
Have you had a Survey Done?
If yes, great! Again, it saves us time. We’ll have to review it to make sure it’s all kosher, but it’s good to have done!
If no…then what is a survey? It’s not a yes and no questionnaire that you fill out. It’s a survey — a detailed analysis — of the land and property.
A land survey is a drawing that shows exactly where the boundaries of a property are. A survey will also lay out the dimensions and location of any buildings or other site improvements on the property.
All of that is included (and more) in our Feasibility Study, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. It includes:
- Site meeting: An onsite review of lot conditions and photo documentation
- View Study: Determining lot orientation in relationship to the sun, city lights, neighbors, and scenic views. Includes photography of the lot
- Site Analysis: Documentation of City and HOA requirements, and solar & wind analysis
- Program Meeting: Review the design wish list/checklist and budget
- Concept Meeting: Delivery of a conceptual floor plan
Why is a Survey Important?
We provide a full scope of architectural services to make sure your remodel project runs smoothly from start to finish. A key part of our process is a feasibility study to determine if you can construct the remodel of your dreams on your current housing lot. This way, we can avoid zoning issues and preemptively know which areas of your land may cause issues during construction.
Think of it like this: you may have a dip in your backyard that is the result of a small sinkhole. A land survey will let us know of its existence and what work we’d have to do in order to safely build over it. Or, your yard may have a drainage issue, or your remodel could be facing directly into the summer sun. A land survey will help us identify all of these factors before they become a problem.
Have You Spoken To The Town/City/HOA Regarding Your Remodel?
Every city and every Homeowners Association has specific guidelines you must follow. If you don’t, then your project will be shut down and you may have to pay a hefty fine on top of the price to redo everything.
If you haven’t spoken to both entities, then you’ll want to as soon as possible. It all depends on their guidelines — everything seen from the outside of the home, no matter how small, is dependent on HOA and city rules. For example, you may not be allowed to have a pool, or you may not be able to build a basement or second story.
Some HOAs even dictate the color of your home’s exterior, window treatments (and style of said treatments), and what you can and can’t use for landscaping. Make sure you have an idea of the guidelines or know who to contact to find out!
A reputable architect and contractor will make sure they have the go-ahead from all governing authorities before starting. However, as the homeowner, it’s always good to know what you can and can’t do before you start to envision your dream home remodel. It is also, ultimately, the homeowner’s responsibility.
Have You Talked To A Builder?
If you like a specific builder and have been talking with them (or already hired them), we’ll need to know right away. We are not the primary builders or contractors. We just work closely with them to ensure your dream house design is properly brought to life. Let’s break it down even more:
A home builder is a professional who can execute a custom home remodel from start to finish. Meanwhile, an architect is tasked with creating the plans and design of what the finished property should look like. The home builders then use these plans as a reference throughout the construction process.
Shortly put: we cannot build your home, but a custom builder you trust can. We can give you references, of course, but the choice is yours.
Do You Have Repairs To Make Along With The Remodel?
Repairs add time and money to the project. If we don’t know something is broken, we won’t know to hire the proper contractor for the job. Not everything needs to be replaced in a remodel either. For example, if you love your shower, but the pipes are leaking, then that’s all we need to know. We can find a plumber to preserve your shower and fix the plumbing in a jiffy.
Making repairs can also add to the overall timeline of a project. We’ll have to wait on parts and work with a contractor to ensure everything is fixed and up to code. It’s not like ordering a new stove: some parts may not be readily available and can take some time to order.
This information is especially important if the repair directly impacts the remodel or addition. For example, the foundation under the living room is starting to crack and leak, but that’s where you want to put the new addition. We’ll have to repair the foundation before adding to it, or else it will just cause a bigger problem!
And that’s it! Those are the questions you can expect us to ask you during your next remodel project with us. We hope this helped clear up any confusion you may have and we hope you use this as a springboard for your next project!