Common Questions and Answers

Questions & Answers

Question: What will be the cost of my project?

Answer: In a nut shell here is what you should expect paying for your project; Hard Cost: The Construction itself; this includes the materials and sub-contracted work, the contractor fee and all sales tax; Soft Cost: everything else; this part includes and should not be limited to, the Land cost (for a new site), financing, structural and engineer fees, permit fees and of course the fees for the designer and other professional services.

At PD&D we believe in “Less is More”. When designing your project a functional layout with minimal wasted building space, use of durable, low maintenance materials always gives you more for the money you invested.

Cost for Custom Residential Projects:

As a general rule, you should expect the project to be at a minimum of $150 per square foot and your construction cost can easily go up based on finishes and complexity of the project for new custom residential projects in Texas.

Cost for Residential Remodel and Addition Projects:

Remodels usually cost same as new construction or might even be more expensive due to unforeseen conditions that might be discovered during construction. Expect to pay at a minimum of $150 per square foot for remodels in Texas. Additions can start from $150 per square foot as well. They can be even more than $150 per square foot based on finishes and complexity of the project and how an addition is integrated to the existing home.

Question: Do I need a designer for my project?

Answer: One of the most common questions homeowners ask while remodeling or building their new home “Should we hire a designer for our project?” For most small projects, such as enlarging a window opening or removing a non-bearing wall, the answer is no. The contractor and home owner can handle both the design and construction end. But for large additions, whole-house renovations and new kitchens, consider working with a design professional.

Here is what the American Institute of Building Design says about hiring a designer:

“Building a home represents the greatest financial investment most people will make in a lifetime and few envision how complex the process is until they are entangled in a jungle of restrictive covenants, building codes, zoning ordinances, design options, vendor and contractor choices and so on. Yet, most states do not have a licensing requirement for residential building designers.

When a new home or addition is in your future, a specialist in the discipline of residential design is your best choice to guide you through the design/building experience. Accordingly, it makes sense to secure design service

es from a qualified, experienced source, a professional member of the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD).” Copyright © American Institute of Building Design

Question: What are professional service fees?

Answer: The professional service fees are the fees that you will pay to your designer, structural engineer, mechanical and electrical engineer for the design services of your property. At PD&D we will coordinate and hire all the consultants required for your project. We will provide a list of recommended consultants for your project but will also work with the ones if you already selected any. Before you start your project we will give you either a flat fee for the professional services to design your project or we will work with you on an hourly basis depending on the complexity of your project. You can have them contracted by you or they can be contracted through PD&D.

Question: How much will the professional service fees be for my project?

Answer: The professional service fees will vary depending on the type of the project and complexity and size. The professional services fees will include design fee, structural and mechanical, plumbing and electrical design fees.

Architectural Fees for Residential Project Design:

Residential Projects: the fees can vary anywhere from 3% to 15% of the construction cost. So if you have a $1,000,000 construction cost. You would expect to pay 30,000 dollars to 150,000 dollars for professional services including design, structural. Mechanical and plumbing designs are mostly provided as design build services for residential projects. In other words, your General Contractor will provide a mechanical contractor who can design and build the system and the fee of his design services and construction will be included in his bid.

At PD&D we believe in an integrated design and building. The more the systems and different areas of your project are considered during design, the better the results will be with lower construction cost and fewer change orders during construction will occur.

Question: How long will the design of the project take?

Answer: It takes time to design, get approvals and permits for projects.  The time frame will significantly vary depending on the type of your project, size, and location where you project will be constructed. Depending on your location, some projects fall under several jurisdictions approval process such as Home Owners Association Approvals which are additional approvals that are required and have to be obtained before or together with building permits.

In some cases if you have a simple addition or a remodel, your project might take as short as two weeks to design and produce. Let’s say you have a kitchen remodel and you would not be making any structural changes or plumbing changes. A project of this nature can easily be designed and delivered to you within two weeks.

When you are working with your designer ask them to produce a time schedule for your project clearly showing each step and milestones.

At PD&D, regardless of the size of the project, we create a project schedule for each and show you the phases that your project will go through from start to completion. We also show you ours and the consultant’s responsibilities. We present you deliverables for each phase and tell you what your responsibilities are for each phase. By having a clearly mapped road map for your project, you will know what to expect and when to expect it.

Question: What kind of approvals and permits do I have to get for my project and how much will they cost?

Answer: The type of approvals and permits will be determined based on the location of your project.  Regardless of the location of the project, most projects will need to get a building permit to start your construction. A building permit is a valuable certificate. Most municipalities, for a variety of reasons, are increasing the documentation required to receive a building permit. Though single-family projects are one of the simpler permits to obtain, getting any permit does add time and expense to the process. With many years of experience in residential design, commercial and public building design in a number of neighborhoods and cities across Texas, PD&D has the expertise to efficiently navigate the demands of each municipality’s requirements.

It is important to note that time and fee requirements vary. For most residential projects review time is less than two weeks while some can take a month. Fees required by most municipalities are calculated by square footage, determined by each municipality. Typically most residential new construction is less than $1,000 for building permit fees.

Question: What kind of building design services do I need for my project?

Answer: The routine services many building designers offices offer are;

  • Planning and zoning application
  • Pre-design and Programming
  • Site use
  • Schematic Design
  • Design Development
  • Renderings, 3D Walk-throughs & arounds, models
  • Coordination of all people involved around your project
  • Construction Documents
  • Complete follow through during construction

As a full service design practice, PD&D can help you with all the routine services you would expect, along with the ones that you don’t commonly see in most projects. We have staff, experience and the talent to provide building design services. We consider the whole picture from the day we start working with you.

We believe this holistic approach gives you the best results while you are maximizing your return on your investment and saving you money.

We also provide the following services that you will not commonly find at other offices.

  • Budgeting and financing packages
  • Construction cost estimation
  • Master planning
  • Preliminary project Analysis with Starting Information Material

Before the pre-design, we offer a service to help you decide if you are ready for your big investment and have all the information required to go ahead with your project;  Your first step will be your  Project analysis with “The Starting Information Material”™.

It is in your best interest to take this first step and take it in the right order; just like a new building, the foundation is the most important part of the construction. This service is available to you for a small fee to ensure that you are going in the right direction before you start investing large amounts of your money.

Question: Can building designers guarantee that it will be a successful project?

Answer: Just like your doctor and lawyer, we can guarantee that we will perform our services to the highest professional standards available to ensure the success of your project.

At PD&D, first, we’ll talk with you about your past building designer experiences and what you know about building designers. We want to know your concerns and what is important to you about the process and your project. Then, we’ll do a thorough proposed project examination that leaves no stone unturned. We know from experience that many times hidden, unknown problems exist that you don’t know about simply because you don’t know they are there! We’ll offer you the kind of building design that we would want for our own families. We’ll help you get the right, dream project you’ve always wanted.  We’ll answer your questions and work out the needed meetings to give you the best results as quickly as possible while maintaining the best quality in our services.

Because of our expertise and experience, we often are called upon to deal with very difficult, challenging design projects. We’ve always been successful with those challenges. We will also ask you a lot of questions to ensure the success of our collaboration on your project. Why? Because we believe that a successful project needs to reflect your knowledge, experience, needs, desires, aspirations and personal opinions. We are right for those who want good design and quality of work. We are right for the person who wants a project that is built for their needs and understand the added financial value of working with a building designer. If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you should be a client in our practice.