A good home or cottage design starts with great communication and a detailed assessment of your vision for your design project. To help you in starting to imagine and discuss your design options, it is a good idea to first discuss your design options with an architect in a one on one consultation. The design consultation should ideally take place in your home/cottage or at your site. It is a good idea to prepare beforehand and gather all the necessary information for your meeting including a copy of your survey, a collection of any pictures or inspiration photos that you have collected as well as list of needs and wants that you have for your project. At Lakeside Architecture Inc. we offer a three hour Lakeside Consultation where we meet with you and discuss your design project in your home or at your cottage. We discuss your vision for your project, the applicable zoning, setback and conservation authority requirements, your budget and the predicted construction costs, and a sample timetable for the design and build of your project. Prior to meeting with us we ask that you fill out an extensive survey of your projects goals and objectives. This helps to develop the “design brief” for your project and establishes the parameters of your eventual design. If you are still unsure of your design opportunities after meeting with your architect, it is a good idea to have an architectural assessment completed where an architect studies your site, home or vacation property and provide you with a detailed feasibility report that will thoroughly explore all of your needs and options. Lakeside Architect Inc. provides an in-depth written assessment of the attributes of the current site including pictures; your surveys with a possible plan presented, to you help you prepare your project for the design phase. If you have already completed a consultation or an assessment you will be well placed to proceed to the design stage of your project. In preparing the first initial design, your architect should visit the site, mark setbacks and key views and take photos and videos of the site to help inform the design process. An initial design will then be completed based on your vision and their site assessment. This design will be reworked and redesigned to meet your needs and desires. Often when the design is completed, your architect will create 3D images as well as a simple basswood model of the project to ensure that the you have a complete understanding of the proposed layout, scale and look of the final design. The final approved design drawings will include scaled floor plans including room names and sizes with furniture, plumbing fixtures, appliances, door and window sizes and locations as well as the location of any features such as fireplaces and staircases. The elevations will illustrate proposed building height and shape. The drawings can also denote the siding material, window and doors and roofing material. Permit Drawings will be used to obtain a construction and or building permits under the Ontario Building Code. It is often a good idea to have your architect represent you at any committee of adjustment hearings. An architect should not only provide you with a design but should also provide a detailed cost summary of your approved design as well as provide a timeline for the construction of your project. Often, half load restrictions on cottage roads or winter weather conditions provide a short building season that needs to be carefully planned to maximize costs, time and resources. Architects can bid out your project to a contractor or they can provide construction management services. Architects that construction management your project will present bids from trades and sub-trades and help you to coordinate the timing of your project. An architect in this role will be your eyes and ears on the construction site and will keep you informed of the build progress. Architects should also be available to meet with the building inspectors at the time of any inspections and conduct regular site meetings. Getting started with your design project can be a daunting task. Please see our blog on the 10 questions to ask an architect and please download our free e-book “How to Prepare for your Design Project”. This e-book is essentially a series of questions about your needs and wants in your design project. It will help you describe and prioritize key aspects of your design project that will inform the initial instructions to your architect.