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Create-A-SunPlan Summary List
After reviewing the information about Sun Plans' custom home design process on the other pages, some prospective clients like more detail. There are layers and layers of refinement that are not evident in this list. The architectural design services provided are much more enjoyable and interactive than reading this list! Sun-inspired design strategies and climate-specific passive solar analysis are woven throughout the process.Typically, this is the process, but each client and their home is different. The items are not all requirements.
  1. Client reads The Sun-Inspired House esp. Chapter 5: Custom Design Process. (available from Sun Plans, the library or a bookstore).(This helps reduce questions down the road saving the customer time in design fees.)
  2. Client emails a brief summary of the house requirements (size, location, land type and design style preferred) and proposed schedule to see if this fits within the Sun Plans' schedule and general philosophy.
  3. Client requests and Sun Plans sends the Create-A-SunPlan Questionnaire that helps assemble the project requirements and wish list. (Free with a previous purchase from Sun Plans or $30 payable through Custom Payment in the Online Store.) After the questionnaire is reviewed, but before it is sent in, a phone call or meeting can be scheduled if the client prefers to talk about services in general.* 
  4. Client reviews, completes and supplements the Questionnaire with words, photos, ideas. Most send in additional lists and ideas and some have even prepared an entire tabbed notebook! Increasingly, clients send various types of computer files. A floor plan is not necessary as the Sun Plans architect specializes in creating a unique, right-sized one just for the family based on their wish list. Definitely do not send a house plan designed by someone else due to copyright issues although it is fine to include a concept created by the home owners for Sun Plans to evaluate along with the wish list.
  5. Client supplies information about the building site: site plan, survey, photos, movie, etc. or schedules a site visit with the architect if the land is within a day's driving distance.  (Extra fees typically apply).
  6. Client sends in the requested information by surface mail or email along with a payment of at least $495. (Higher if some initial sketches are first desired or if the client anticipates that extra detailed consulting will be needed.)
  7. Architect begins review of information typically within 2 weeks of receiving the package.
  8. Architect prepares detailed list of concerns and items to be further reviewed and discussed along with a preliminary budget, proposed house size range and concept thumbnail sketches of the home. (Extended review and consulting may be extra.) Sometimes it is discovered at this stage that another of Sun Plans' designs may be adapted to achieve the desired features and if so, the subsequent services and fees can be adapted.
  9. Client responds to architect's questions, concerns and requests for additional information as she begins reviewing the submittal.  For complex issues, often a phone conference is scheduled, or an office visit is scheduled if the client prefers. 
  10. Sun Plans prepares a proposal for the architectural services giving options for some services. (A typical fee is around $6,500, but more and more we can use parts of other designs to keep the fees lower. Fees for specs homes for builders can also  be less. Let us customize a proposal for your development. We are also open to reduced fees for projects for non-profits and low-income housing. Note that larger or more complex homes can have higher costs as can those projects where additional services are required or requested.)With detailed clients it is not unusual for the time spent in answering detailed questions typically by email and providing research and evaluation of options to far exceed the time in creating the drawings so one of the questions in our questionnaire is how detailed the client perceived them sense to be! (Architectural fees can then later be adjusted up or down if the services requires are more or less.)
  11. Client signs proposal and sends in the first payment for the preliminary design. 
  12. Architect begins preliminary design of a new design or adaptations of another Sun Plan. Drawings include furniture, which helps determine if the spaces are properly sized.
  13. From here on out, client and Architect exchange ideas and information typically initiated by the architect sending partial drawings and asking for feedback.
  14. Sun Plans prepares optional 3D drawings if desired.
  15. Architect prepares Custom Energy Specs to allow client to begin detailed research of their own.
  16. Sun Plans sends Construction Prints and coordinates with any local building professionals that have already been identified by the client and if these services are chosen.
  17. Sun Plans coordinates with additional services requested such as HVAC consulting or builder selection.
  18. If required or requested, many additional services can be performed such as making more changes to the design, coordinating with other planning professionals. Typically these are extra services, but they can also be written into the initial proposal.
* It is sometimes not possible to tell if the client and Sun Plans make a good match until after the questionnaire is reviewed or a meeting is had face to face. An email or phone call to briefly discuss the project scope and schedule can be a good way to identify issues of concern early on. Sun Plans primary reasons for not accepting work include the house being too large to be considered sustainable, too unusual with complex structural systems or a requested completion date that does not fit the current work schedule. 
(See Chapter 5 in The Sun-Inspired House about options for working with architects or Contact Us if you would like the Create-A-SunPlan questionnaire mentioned above where more information can be found about the fees and the process. If you are ready to start the process, please pick up the phone and call us!)