The process begins with an introductory meeting. I will charge a $150 fee for this meeting to assure me that you are serious in your desire to have a custom house designed for you. The fee includes my submitting a detailed architectural proposal defining the process and giving you a choice among different fee options to choose from. If we sign a contract to proceed, the nominal fee is folded into the architectural fees. Full professional services start with an informal meeting or two to discuss at length your basic needs and dreams. Careful thought is given to your current lifestyle and expectations regarding possible adjustments over time. If you are comfortable with meeting at your current residence, I find it helpful to hear from you what you like and dislike about where you live now. It also gives me an idea regarding how your household functions and noting furnishings you may want to include with the final design or what furnishings you may want to replace to fit functionally in your new home. If you already have property where you want to build, I will visit the site with you to observe the conditions of the site. Site conditions include sun and wind patterns, locations of trees, road access, any surface water conditions and try to determine if there are any issues regarding stormwater runoff. If your site is large, do you have a favorite spot you like to be while there? It might or might not be the best location to build as any building would change the aspect of your favorite spot forever. If you have yet to purchase a site for your new house, we will discuss the kind of things to look for in buying property. Remember, the best design is unique to the owner and the site, so normally, I will not start on design until a site is determined.
Discussions continue through the design phase until a final design is ready for production of “blueprints” otherwise known as “Contract Documents.” You may have a builder you want to work with, or you might want to act as your own builder (depending on your experience, confidence, and competence), or I can recommend builders I am familiar with. During the construction phase, I will be available to visit the site on a regular basis to check on the builder’s progress and respond to any problems that might arise during construction. I will be involved in your project up to the time when you are moved in and satisfied with the builder’s results.
This process is similar to architectural services I could also provide regarding renovation or remodeling of your existing home or of a home you are purchasing to improve upon.
If you are not quite ready to go through the formal process briefly described above that results in a new or renovated home, I am available for consultation services on an hourly basis to discuss many of the elements you should consider when contemplating new home design or remodeling. Even though I would love the opportunity to be the architect you choose to work with when it comes time to have your ideas realized, you are not obligated to engage in my professional services for any future construction.
If you are interested in my appearance at an upcoming event of yours to speak about general or specific aspects of green building, please contact me for availability. Fees for speaking are affordable and sometimes gratis depending on the occasion, sponsoring organization, and venue.
My background is appropriate design. In brief, that means not only a design that responds to the needs of your family on a particular site, but also a design that results in a high-performance house. A high-performance house is durable and designed to include construction materials to result in an energy efficient house. If you choose to include renewable energy systems, such as solar electric and/or solar water heating systems, the house could be designed to be a “Net Zero Energy” house, one that can be expected to produce as much energy as the house demands. A high-performance house also takes advantage of collecting and using water wisely, including graywater and wastewater considerations. Careful attention will also be given to encourage clean and non-toxic indoor air quality.
I have dedicated my professional career to promote green building practice at all levels of construction. I wrote the family of green building programs now being used by Build San Antonio Green in my capacity of being the technical coordinator there. The Build San Antonio Green programs were produced for all ranges of residential construction and especially fine-tuned for the Central Texas climate. I am also a co-author of the Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting and former chair of the Committee on the Environment at the San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. I was also one of the 60+ stakeholders who collectively wrote the Green Building Guide used by the National Association of Homebuilders that became the basis for the NAHB National Green Building Program.