Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of design-build?

In short, design-build equals communication, efficiency, accuracy and excellence. The more complicated, and detail-heavy a project is, the better suited it is to design-build. Communication between the architects and the build team is absolutely essential to the success of your project. When those two groups know each other and have worked under one roof for decades, we spend less time on explanations and more time completing your project! If the measurement looks off, or we find something during demolition that was unexpected, our teams know how to resolve the issue. In our case specifically, it also means we can fully plan a project from soup to nuts and account for the time and cost of everything in between.

What areas do you serve?

Our team focuses its work in Princeton, Lawrence Township, Pennington, Hopewell and Skillman. That’s not to say we would not travel a few extra miles in any direction, but these locations are our sweet spot.

Do I need to hire an interior designer in addition to the design-build team?

Choosing to work with an interior design professional is a matter of personal preference. We have worked with homeowners who have used an interior designer. We were able to easily coordinate with that person to finalize selections and order materials. If you choose not to work with a designer, our architectural design team will provide you with a list of selections to be finalized (tile, countertop, plumbing, paint color, etc.) and provide recommendations for vendors and brands we work with on a regular basis. Most of these vendors – Ferguson, Home Hardware, Princeton Stone & Tile, Regent – have experts on staff who can assist you in choosing products in the showroom.

What are schematic drawings?

Schematic drawings are a type of architectural or engineering drawing that shows the layout and design of a structure. They are used in the early stages of a project to communicate ideas and concepts before detailed construction and permit drawings are undertaken. Typically, schematic drawings are simplified, two-dimensional representations of the key elements of a structure. They may include a basic floor plan and elevations of a building with key elements such as walls, doors and windows represented in geometric shapes. The drawings help members of the team identify potential design challenges or issues and confirm agreement on design direction. The schematic drawings also serve as the basis for our estimator to prepare a preliminary construction estimate. This first estimate is often broken down by parts of the project. This breakdown will allow you to pick and choose which parts of the project to build.

How much time can I spend with the architect making modifications to the designs?

We sign a design contract with each homeowner which covers a certain number of hours for our architects to finalize design options for your project. This estimate includes a pre-determined amount of time to modify the design option you choose after you review the initial designs. When you request modifications beyond that agreed amount, we will let you know that additional charges will be incurred.

Will I need to separately hire an engineer for my project?

No, if there are questions about your project that can only be answered by an engineer, we will hire that person to consult with us directly.

What does the Township require for permitting and how do I manage the process?

Great news…you do not need to worry about permitting or managing the process! As your custom home renovation partner, we handle all the details including, but not limited to, permits. We will even be there to meet the inspector when he/she comes by at the end of the project!

What is a variance and why do I need one?

A variance is an exception granted by a government agency to allow a property owner to deviate from certain zoning, building, or land use regulations. Zoning regulations dictate how land can be used and developed. They establish requirements for building size, height, setback distances from property lines, impervious coverage, and allowable uses for different types of properties. When a homeowner wants to build something that does not conform to the local zoning regulations, the homeowner may apply for a variance. In Princeton, the process of applying for and having a variance granted can take up to 6 months.

How will you gain access to my home for construction? What about my pets or family members working from home?

Custom-design, custom-build, and fully personalized service is what we offer. We will work out a system that allows you to live in your home during renovation, if that is your choice. It may mean creating a temporary kitchen or bath, sealing off certain areas of your home, or otherwise adjusting our work and your home life in small ways to make the project manageable for all!

How often will we meet during design and construction of my project? How closely do I need to monitor my project?

Our communication plan is tailored to each project and homeowner. Generally speaking, the more complicated the project, the more communication we recommend. If you are more comfortable with a schedule of meetings set up in advance over the course of your project, we are happy to oblige. If not, we are always available by phone, text or email. As a reminder, during the construction phase, our team includes a lead carpenter who is on-site every day and is responsible for every detail. You have the option to check in with your project lead on a regular basis.

At what stages of the project can I continue to make changes in the design of my project?

In order not to incur additional cost and delay, we recommend you make all of your changes before we begin work on construction drawings. However, life happens, and we will always do our best to accommodate your wishes. Bear in mind that additional time and cost may be incurred when we deviate from our original plans.

What payment schedule should I expect over the life of my project – design through construction?

Architectural fees are typically billed monthly as architectural services are provided. Construction charges are billed on a payment schedule customized to your project and based on project milestones.

What if I’m looking for a style which is much different than what I’ve seen in your project designs?

Our style is your style! The design options we craft for you should reflect the discussions we’ve had as a team about your ideal space, as well as some elements that blend the new space into the current style of your home. We have designed and built homes, additions and renovations of all sizes and styles.

To schedule a consultation for any of our services, call us at (609) 921-2822 or contact us online.