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Small company logo, The Violet Aster, Residential Design


  • 5. Preparation of Construction Documents
    With schematic drawings revised and approved by you, we begin the computer-aided drafting (CAD) phase and document what will eventually become the construction drawings and specifications of the project. Typically the longest of all phases, this process will be broken down into scheduled reviews, allowing the client to closely follow design development at all stages. For most projects, reviews will be as follows: i. First CAD Review—50-75% Design ii. Pre-Final Design Review At the pre-final design meeting we will firm up any remaining details to be included in the construction documents. This is a client’s last opportunity to make minor changes to the plan, such as water and electrical fixtures or decorative details. Changes to the structural design will incur expenses and delay the project.
  • 3. Design Conceptualization & Space Planning
    This is the phase in which the ideas discussed during the initial consultation begin to take form on paper. We will be in frequent contact with clients at this stage. Plan to meet at least once before beginning the next phase.
  • 7. Invoicing & Payment
    Once the client has approved the final product delivery, full payment is invoiced and due 30 days upon receipt.
  • 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
  • 6. Final Construction Documents Delivery
    Pre-final revisions are captured and delivered in the final deliverable package for client review and approval.
  • 4. Design Development
    Here we upgrade from concept sketches to scaled floor and elevation plans, called schematic drawings. In this phase we plan building shape and height, originate doors & windows schedules, design the initial roof concept, analyze staircase layout, address HVAC, plumbing and insulation considerations, create a starting electrical plan, and initiate preliminary notes and specifications. At the end of this phase, clients will receive their first deliverable; it is the ideal stage for design revisions, as no structural or major costs have been incurred.
  • 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.
  • When should I hire a designer? Do I need drawings for my project?
    We recommend you first hire 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 general contractor (GC), and drawing construction 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. In most jurisdictions, major renovations, including changes to load-bearing members, additions to an existing building, or alterations to the home's utility systems will trigger a residential permit requirement. In this case, we recommend contacting a designer or architect to help you with planning, design and construction documentation. Check with your county office website for local permit requirements. Note: Construction drawings are not only essential for permitting, but for GC's 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 such documents.
  • Do you provide semi-custom services, such as modifying pre-designed home plans?
    Yes, if the client has purchased the plan to include the licensing agreement from the seller, allowing such design modifications. Please check with the plan vendor for 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 structure their fees as a percent of the construction cost, averaging between 8 and 15% for new construction, or 10 to 20% for renovations. For a 3,000 square foot home costing $800K to build, architect fees may fall between $64K and $120K. Our studio offers more affordable alternatives: the same home would average $7K to $12K for design, depending on the complexity of the project and level of service desired. 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 not more than 3-stories or 5,000 square feet. In short, our designed structures must fall within the scope of the International Residential Code (IRC). TVA does not design commercial buildings of any kind.
  • Do you only design homes in North and South Carolina?
    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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