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If after trying to select or design a home, time or patience starts running out, it may be time to engage the Sun Plans' architect.
While it is encouraged to Contact Us with short, simple questions about either a particular plan or service, complex answers may require the involvement of the Sun Plans architect instead of customer service. Debra has been involved with the design of every Sun Plan. She can give insight as to why one plan should be chosen over the other, the implications of changes to a design and when a custom design may be the least expensive option for constructing a home.
"I sincerely appreciate all the time and input you have given us. It has been very helpful in getting us going. Thank you again," Rebecca
In addition, some questions can only be answered after Sun Plans evaluates both the particular climate, the client's energy priorities AND which house plan(s) are being consider. Seldom is there a one-size-fits-all answer. Further, customer concerns often involve siting the house, choosing a piece of land, changing the foundation type, or wall and roof construction details. These time-intensive services are considered fee-based consulting.
If you plan to send the information and payment for the consulting services by surface-mail, please contact us so that we can place you in the schedule and be on the look out for your submittal. Thanks! (Some prefer to pay on-line via the secure Sun Plans' shopping cart, then send information electronically. Either way works!)
Consulting in General
While consulting services are tailored to each customer, climate, land, budget, etc., as a rule, detailed review and feedback on the information submitted by the customer is provided in the following categories:
Review of customers sketches and/or marked up drawings
Floor plan function
Opinion of probable construction cost
Study Plans of any existing designs that could meet the needs without extensive changes if it is found that an existing home, or parts of one, might be close. (Often parts of other designs can be utilized to help keep the custom design fees low.)
Any additional concerns that might be had, but there could be additional fees depending upon the time involved.
The architect provides insight and comments regarding proposed changes.
- Choose this service for detailed questions about (or changes) to one particular Sun Plan.
- Please see Adapt-A-SunPlan for the recommended process.
- Request the free Adapt-A-SunPlan questionnaire as a starting point for submitting requested changes. (Please use the Contact Us button at the bottom of the web site.)
- Send in the information by e-mail or surface-mail. (If the information and fees are sent via surface-mail, please e-mail Sun Plans to be placed in the schedule immediately and be on the lookout for the information.Thanks)
- Pay the consulting fee through our Online Store OR by sending a check in with any surface-mailed information.
- Typical fees are $395.
With Adapt-A-SunPlan services, receive the Review Set for no additional charge after making the $395 payment.
The architect provides insight to your ideas for a custom design
- It is possible to choose just this consulting portion of the process without further commitment to custom design services. Your ideas (either sketches that you have and/or the completed SunPlans questionnaire) are reviewed and commented on by the Sun Plans architect.
Increasingly, customers are starting with our detailed questionnaire for the Create-A-SunPlan which gathers an abundance of information about the details that are desired in a home, but then ask that we help search for a design (including Sun Plans that are not on the web sites) instead of creating a new plan. Often an existing design can be adapted with less time and costs. It takes a bit more time on the customers part to complete the questionnaire, but then we have a better idea of your detailed needs. The questionnaire is complimentary with the purchase of our book. Or once you pay the consulting fee, we also send the questionnaire as well as Study Plans of subsequent house designs that we think you might like.
- Please see Create-A-SunPlan for the recommended process.
- Pay the consulting fee through our Online Store or by sending a check in with any surface-mailed information.
- Send in your information by e-mail or surface-mail.
- Fees start at $495.
- If you choose to surface-mail your information and fees, please e-mail us once you do so that we can place you in the schedule and be on the look out for your submittal. Thanks!
Increasingly, customers are requesting services that go beyond a house plan purchase or the advice received during the design process. There is a wide range of capabilities of both home owners and builders. Sun Plans is available to help fill in the gaps and can help assure that the home is constructed according to the drawings and specifications especially when:
- The builder is new to constructing a low energy home and perhaps has never built a home to Energy Star standards
- There is no third party Home Energy Rater/consultant nearby to
review the drawings and specs and provide the builder and home guidance
n constructing a low energy home
- The home owners decide to subcontract the home themselves
If one or more of the above apply, then the additional Construction Administration services from Sun Plans can go a long way to protecting the huge investment of building a home. If you have thinking about building a Sun Plan, or have already started building from a set of house plans received from Sun Plans, these please contact us to tailor a Construction Consulting service for your particular needs.Typical services may include:
- Helping with selecting a builder, home energy rater or heating/air conditioning contractor
- Coordinating with a structural engineer
- Preparing a detailed cost estimate
- Selecting particular products especially windows and insulation
- Making additional changes to the drawings if needed
- Fees start at $195 to order one block of consulting. More can then be added as needed. It can be paid for through the Custom Payment link in the shopping cart prior to submitting questions and concerns.
These services can also be arranged to be included with the quote for the Adapt-A-SunPlan or Create-A-SunPlan process. Please just ask for them to be included.
Adapt-A-SunPlan Consulting - Existing Home
- The first step is gathering information to be evaluated. The more information provided, the more comprehensive an evaluation. Recommendations of items to submit include:
- Drawings (to-scale or with dimensions) of the home
- Photos (that are properly labeled) primarily of the outside, but that show adjacent structures and trees and any interior spaces that may be affected and especially south-facing rooms
- Site plan (or legal survey) showing how and where the house is situated on the land- especially the north arrow that is described as either true north or magnetic north (per the compass)
- List of ideas that you are considering, questions that you
have as well as any other information you feel will allow us to best
understand your intentions.
- If there is a large amount of information that needs to be reviewed and you plan to send it electronically, please advise us ahead of time so that we can set up a Drop Box folder.
- Information that is addressed in the consulting can vary greatly based on your requests, but in general includes reviewing climate data, the specifics of the existing design, south windows amount, size and placement, thermal mass, overhang lengths, insulation level, etc. They are all inter-related and must be evaluated all together.
- Review and consulting begin at $395 for basic, written recommendations so please include a check for that amount along with the submittal or pay on-line if you are sending the information electronically.
Additional services, drawings, and energy analyses, if any, that Sun Plans can provide are endless and proposals can be tailored to your specific needs. After the review is completed by the Sun Plans' architect, a review summary is sent by email and can be followed up with a phone call. Also, a phone call can be arranged right after your information is sent in, but before the detailed part of the review is begun if it is easier for you to communicate your ideas that way.
Adapt-A-SunPlan Consulting - House Plans by others
This follows a process and fee structure similar to the Existing Home above except the photos may be eliminated. Sun Plans can recommend changes to house plans from another architect or designer. It is preferred to review construction drawings since that is more thorough, but to a lesser extent design drawings can be reviewed. The actual changes would need to be by the person and/or firm who owns the copyright unless you have a copyright lease and CAD Files. (Typically it is more efficient to have the original architect or designer make the changes.)
Fees start at $395 and are payable through the Adapt-A-SunPlan shopping link or by check if the information will be mailed.
The architect assists you with selecting a house plan.
- Choose this service if you are having trouble choosing between more than one Sun Plan.
- Recommended process, but feel free to adapt to your needs (additional fees may apply):
- Download and review The House Plan Selection Questionnaire
- Pay the consulting fee through the Online Store, by sending a check.
- Fill out and return the questionnaire by e-mail or surface-mail
- E-mail or surface-mail a list of particular concerns (optional)
- Include a site plan of land or lot(s) that you own or are considering
- Request to schedule a phone consultation after the architect has reviewed your information (optional)
- Note that unless you definitely do not have time for a custom design (4-6 months) or the patience to go through the process, then you will receive a more thorough evaluation of your house needs if you select the Create-A-SunPlan consulting instead. Just be sure the state that you are not interested in Custom Design but instead are selecting that service to allow for the submission of a more detailed wish list.
With Select-A-SunPlan services, receive up to three Study Plans for no additional charge after making the $295 payment.
Builders and Developers
Let Sun Plans work with your clients on the home design to free up your time for construction.
- We can work directly with you, directly with the home owner or both!
- Sun Plans specializes in working with those who are currently living in one location, but plan to build in another.
- We are
experienced with long-distance, internet-based communications.
The designer creates a 3D computer model for any Sun Plan of your choice!
- Choose interior and exterior, or just an exterior model. Send us web links to photos showing colors that you prefer.
- E-mail us for details of this new service and we will then send a price payable through our Custom Payment.
- Fees start at $595.
Create-A-Color 2D Exterior
The designer creates colorful drawings for any Sun Plan of your choice!
Choose front elevation only, or all four sides. Our designer will color the exterior to your specifications. Send photos of a color scheme or suggest some colors to try such as through web links of color charts from siding, stone, brick, roofing website. Please list the foundation material and color, the siding material and color, the trim color, the window color, the roofing material and color, front door color and type and any other color-related details that you are interested in. Generally, the services include one scheme with minor, one-time revisions. Additional revisions are extra as are the more complex design changes to the house style.
Email us if you are interested in this new service and we will then send a price estimate payable through our Custom Payment.
Fees start at $95.
* Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
More often than not, passive solar and other high-performance homes end up with grossly over sized HVAC equipment. This not only undercuts potential energy savings but can lead to comfort and moisture related problems. Moreover, when mechanical contractors bid on high performance homes, they tend to propose expensive, top-of-the-line equipment, which ironically, is seldom cost-justified in super-efficient homes.
The Sun Plans' HVAC consultant can assist with the code-required HVAC Manual J calculations for the particular climate and the specific house design as well as home owner preferences. He can further work alongside the builder and the HVAC subcontractor with equipment selection based on the types and manufacturers that they carry. He is happy to talk to all parties to ease concerns of sizing, moisture, temperatures, etc. A pre-requisite for utilizing his services includes the home owners' and builder's commitment to work with a third party technician for testing and verification of the building envelope. This can be a HERS rater that also does the Energy Star home rating even if Energy Star certification is not sought.
Fees start at $795 and include Sun Plans' initial coordination with the HVAC consultant.
(This service is reserved for Create-A-SunPlan and Adapt-A-SunPlan clients.)