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Small company logo, The Violet Aster, Residential Design

FAQ's

  • 3. Design Conceptualization & Space Planning
    This is the phase in which the ideas discussed during the initial consultation begin to take form on paper. Clients can expect to receive conceptual sketches and floor plans for study and revision. Plan to meet at least once before beginning the next phase.
  • 2. Building Survey (Renovations & Interior Design Only)
    In this phase, a full survey of the existing space will be conducted. We: • Obtain as-built drawings and existing building documentation (if available) • Establish exterior and interior dimensions, and location of wall openings • Determine load-bearing walls and other potential structural constraints • Identify materials and construction methods of existing building • Identify existing utility locations and project impact • Determine building orientation and setback requirements for additions • Take photographs
  • 5. Final Construction Documents Delivery
    Once we have met and discussed the pre-final design, the last revisions are captured and delivered in the final deliverable package for client review and approval.
  • 4. Design Development & Pre-Final Drawings
    In this phase we plan building elevations, originating doors & windows schedules and expanding on roof design. We'll also address HVAC, plumbing and insulation considerations, create a starting electrical plan, and initiate finishes specifications. The design development phase culminates in the pre-final drawings, when clients receive their first set of prints.
  • 1. Initial Consultation
    An opportunity for us to meet, get to know each other, and answer all of your questions. We will talk about your essential project requirements, budget and whether we are a good fit for your home design needs. Our initial consultation is free of charge. Following this consultation, we will provide an estimate of the design cost and submit a service agreement detailing the price and schedule of deliverables.
  • Do I need drawings for my project? Do I need a designer?
    Construction drawings are not only essential for acquiring building permits, but for general contractors (GC) to accurately meet both client expectations and engineering requirements. Drawings are treated as a legal document in your construction contract, ensuring that GC's build or renovate your home in accordance with designed specifications. Reputable and licensed GC's will not agree to perform work without them. We recommend you consult with a designer or architect before beginning any major project, and when you are ready to obtain a full set of construction documents. Those can then be used for obtaining bids from a GC, and getting permits. Small renovations which do not alter the structure of a home or involve upgrade of utility systems (electrical, plumbing, etc.) generally do not require permits or drawings. Major renovations, including changes to load-bearing members, additions to an existing building, or alterations to the home's utility systems will typically trigger a residential permit requirement. In this case, a designer or architect can help you with planning, design and construction documentation. Check with your municipality for permit requirement details.
  • Is TVA an Architect/Engineer firm?
    No. TVA is a residential design studio, not an A/E firm. Anna holds an ABET-accredited engineering degree and has over 20 years of experience with drafting, design, and civil construction—working for the U.S. Navy Construction Force and Civil Engineer Corps. However, she found her passion and creativity designing homes and interiors, and presently works only as a residential designer. See FAQ no. 1 for answers on the different professionals in the design industry. For any projects that require it, TVA works with independent Professional Engineers (PE’s) registered in both NC and SC to prepare and seal structural drawings in accordance with local regulations.
  • Do you provide construction cost estimates?
    No. But with a full set of construction documents, clients may obtain bids from any number of contractors. We believe licensed general contractors are the best suited professionals to properly estimate construction costs, though you may also obtain this service from an architecture firm or cost estimator.
  • What is the difference between a residential designer, an architect and an engineer?
    Residential designers are experienced professionals who are familiar with floor plan and home design, building codes and regulations, and construction documentation. Registered Architects (RA's) are licensed to design homes, as well as public, commercial and specialty buildings. Full-service architecture firms typically have a large team at their disposal, offering a wider range of services than most residential design studios, including project cost estimates and construction management. Due to their extensive services, RA's normally charge higher prices than residential designers. They often structure their fees as a percent of the construction cost, averaging between 8 and 15% for new construction, or 10 to 20% for renovations. Our studio offers more affordable alternatives for a comparable experience in bespoke residential design. Engineers do not generally design homes. They are licensed professionals responsible for a wide variety of roles in the planning, designing and construction of public and private infrastructure. In residential projects, structural engineers are tasked with designing the "bones" of a home, which must meet design constraints and environmental forces, such as gravity, wind, snow, and earthquakes. TVA works with independent engineers to obtain required structural drawings needed for permitting and construction. Their drawings can be identified by the Professional Engineer (PE) stamp, signifying that they have properly designed and reviewed all associated structural documents for a project.
  • I want to build a custom home but don't know where to start. Can you help?
    Absolutely. Please schedule a consultation with us; it is free of charge. We will be happy to discuss the many options you have to procure a building site, design a custom home, find a contractor, and finance and build your dream home (even if you don't choose our own design services).
  • Can you help me finish designing my own house? I have most of it figured out.
    Yes! We’d love to help you with your own design; TVA will ensure that the final product meets building code and is ready to be permitted for construction.
  • What types of structures do you design? Do you provide commercial services?
    TVA designs and styles residential buildings and their interiors—single and dual-family homes, residential workshops, garages, pool houses, sheds, and other residential structures. In short, our designed structures fall within the scope of the International Residential Code (IRC). TVA does not design commercial buildings of any kind.
  • Which areas do you serve? Do you only design homes in North and South Carolina?
    Most of our clients are located in the Charlotte metropolitan area, although we also occasionally work with remote clients throughout the Southeast. Residential design is an industry regulated at the state level. Therefore, for a custom home, we generally recommend working with a local architect or designer. However, pre-designed home plans are available online for purchase in any state. If you are able to build a home in your state without architect-sealed plans, we can work with you on a custom design. For the structural drawings, which include the foundation and framing plans, we recommend you hire a local engineer to design and seal the required documents needed for permitting and construction, in accordance with local regulations. Structural engineers must be licensed to practice in the state where construction will take place.
  • Is TVA a general contractor (GC)?
    No. We design residences and produce their associated construction documents, which may be used by contractors for bidding, permitting, and building purposes. We do not build homes or other structures.
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