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The Process
The Process: How to Get Started

Set aside any uneasiness you may have about the design process, because at Newberry Architects we have vast experience working closely with our clients – beginning with the formation of an inclusive program of your ideas, going through the design and bid process, all the way to final completion and move-in. Whether you're planning a residential, retail or commercial project, when you're ready to begin the design process, give some thought to the following:

Interview & Selection
Meet with at least two architecture firms before making a selection. Newberry Architects will be happy to provide you with a guide to assist you in conducting a thorough interview. A sampling of the items we illustrate on this guide are:

  • What is their work like? If you are not familiar with their work, ask to see both photographs and the actual properties.
  • Are they accountable? Inquire with their references whether the architect follows design and construction schedules, meets budget goals and communicates clearly.
  • What is included in their proposal? Make sure you understand what services are being provided for the fees quoted. Are there any soft costs that may not be included, such as printing or additional consultants?
  • Are you comfortable with them? A good working relationship is critical to a good design. Look for good communications and a comfort level. How do you get along with the architect? Do you feel like you are being heard? Will you enjoy working with this person for a year or more?

Site Evaluation
Carefully consider the site location where you plan to build. Will it allow you to achieve your design goals? A thorough lot evaluation is one of several critical planning steps. Begin by obtaining the following:

  • A fault line or hazard map
  • A current survey to show easements, set-backs, topography and critical tree locations
  • Local deed restrictions including any particular site restrictions or requirements
  • Any preservation codes that apply to existing structures
  • Deadlines for required government approvals

A structural and geo-technical engineering evaluation is also a good idea to check for subsidence due to groundwater removal and local soil conditions. Next, ask your architect for a site visit to evaluate critical landscaping and tree locations, drainage systems, utilities and power lines, and structures on adjacent properties that may influence your design.

It is critical to establish your budget before you begin the design process. You should provide this budget to your architect so that they can work with you to keep the cost under this amount. If requested, Newberry Architects can help you establish a reasonable budget based on recent pricing trends.

Functional requirements
The best designs in commercial, retail or residential properties always meet the practical, as well as aesthetic, needs of the people living or working in the space. During the early planning stages, your architect will ask questions to determine the size of the project, the number and type of spaces and a general idea of how the spaces should relate to each other. You will be a step ahead if you give some preliminary thought to these items before getting started.

We all instinctively know what we like and what works for us, but verbalizing our desires isn't always easy. Clients often find it helpful to communicate their likes and dislikes by collecting images of different styles including colors, textures and materials. Bring all your ideas to the initial design meeting and clearly communicate what you want and don't want.

The team
It is beneficial to assemble your team of professionals and consultants early on in the project. Newberry Architects can help you determine what professionals you may need based on the specifics of your project. These professionals or consultants may include, among others:

  • General Contractor or Builder
  • Structural Engineer
  • Interior Designer
  • Landscape Architect
  • Lighting Consultant

Creating great architecture should be a fun process that brings joy. Newberry Architects can help guide you through the design and construction process and help make it a beautiful experience. When you're ready to begin, please contact us to schedule an initial meeting. We look forward to working with you to develop the final product of your dreams.

For more information or to get started, please Contact Us.