Design Your Own Home:

Quality FL House Plans from Your Design

Warren E. Barry
DBA: W.E.B. Designs
(352) 472-2600
Designer Services
Level D3: Semi-Custom Home Plans for Contractor’s Standard Construction - Per Client's Detailed Floor Plan

The Designer Level Services are Florida Architect Warren E. Barry’s most popular services for obtaining house plans. Warren’s Designer services have a very high value per dollar spent and are what he recommends for most single family home construction projects.

Designer Service Level D3 is intended for those who have designed the home in detail themselves and want their design adhered to as much as possible while not being interested in recommended improvements. Some revisions however are often required to resolve constructability issues and to comply with the building codes. This service level typically results in 10 to 15 pages of construction documents for a single story house. 

Designer Service Level D3 requires that you provide, at a minimum, an accurate floor plan locating all walls, doors, windows, cabinets, appliances, equipment, and plumbing fixtures. The home design which you provide must also not infringe on any copyrights.  In addition, you should provide a photo or drawing of the outside of a home that has the exterior character and detailing that you would like your home to have.  This image is not required to match the floor plan you provide, it is used simply to gain an understanding of the “style” and level of detail you would like. For this service level, the floor plan you provide should be finalized to the extent that changes and suggestions for improvement are not desired. For this reason, changes to the design are not included in the fee for this service level but may be requested during the process at additional cost.

Designer Service Level D3 begins with a startup meeting where Warren utilizes an abbreviated questionnaire(abbreviated in comparison to the 15 page questionnaire used on service levels D2 and above) to verify that all major design points (ceiling height, roof pitch, exterior finishes, etc) have been addressed in the design you provide. During this meeting, Warren also reviews with you anything that you have collected to assist in communicating your wants and needs such as photos, sketches, and clippings. Beyond the design requirements, during this meeting Warren reviews the service contract in detail, discuses the design process, and answers any questions that you may have. As part of the project startup process, typically not on the same day as the startup meeting, Warren visits the site that the home is to be built on. This site visit allows Warren to have an understanding of the homes surroundings, context, neighboring homes, tree locations, ground slope, and more which all help with determining where the home should be located on the property, what the best orientation is, and if there are any other special considerations that should be considered.

After the startup meeting and site visit have been completed, Warren draws the floor plan of the home into the computer.  While drawing the homes floor plan, Warren places furniture into the plan which is an asset to the design process in many ways. Placing furniture in the homes floor plan allows the client to have a better understanding of the sizing of each room or space and how circulation will flow through the home. The furniture layout also greatly aids in the placement of doors, windows, light fixtures, and electrical outlets. Once the floor plan is complete, it is e-mailed to you for review.  As previously mentioned, changes to the design are not included in the fee for this service (D3) but this review provides you with the opportunity to request changes at additional cost before the plans progress to a point where changes become very time consuming and costly.

Once the floor plan has been approved, Warren draws the exterior elevations based on the approved floor plan and your supplied exterior design. Once the exterior elevations are approved, Warren adds all the remaining detail that will be utilized in the final Architectural Construction Documents so that you can do a complete review prior to beginning structural coordination (structural coordination will be discussed later). Information added at this point in the design process includes, but is not limited to, a roof plan, a ceiling plan with details, an exterior wall section, elevations of all interior and exterior doors and windows with general specifications, a detailed schematic electrical plan designed to provide quality lighting (not to simply meet code, unless that is desired), a foundation plan with details, and miscellaneous text, tags, and dimensions.

Once the final review set (Design Development Review Drawings) have been approved, Warren begins the structural coordination process with the truss company and structural engineer. Warren has preferred truss companies and a structural engineer that have proven to do quality work at a reasonable price but can work with those you select if you have a qualified, experienced, and properly licensed person/company that you would like Warren to work with. The larger and more complicated a project becomes, the more important, and at times critical, this phase of the project becomes. With all the Designer and Architectural Services, Warren reviews the truss package provided by the truss company in detail to check for compliance with the architectural design and to coordinate the location of interior bearing walls and columns. Warren also verifies with the truss layout that light fixtures, HVAC ductwork, and plumbing can be installed as desired and needed. If conflicts are found, Warren coordinates with the truss company to resolve such issues. Once the truss package is finalized, it is forwarded along with the architectural drawings to the structural engineer. The structural engineer provides structural specifications such as the sizing of beams, steel reinforcement in the foundations, spacing of roof sheathing nails, hurricane straps, and more. Once this package is complete, Warren picks up the package from the engineers office and compares it with the architectural plans to assure that all documents are consistent and to resolve any conflicts that may exist. This structural coordination process (when provided by an individual with the construction knowledge to do it properly) makes the construction process go very smoothly. Once structural coordination is complete, Warren e-mails a .pdf copy of the architectural plans to you for your records and obtains full size (24”x36”) prints for sign and seal by Warren and the structural engineer.  Once the plans are signed and sealed, Warren’s services are complete and the plans can either be picked up or mailed to you.  Once you have received the final plans, you are ready to proceed with the contractor of your choice.

A disadvantage of Designer Service Level D3 is that it is based on a design which you provide. The provided design is adhered to a much as possible with the exception of changes required to resolve constructability issues and code conflicts.  Some home owners are able to generate a nice design but some design floor plans which do not allow for an attractive exterior elevation. Some home owners also design floor plans that have odd layouts which look and/or function oddly.  It is also common for homeowners to not provide enough floor area in certain rooms to fit the desired furniture and allow for adequate circulation space.  If you design a home that is acceptable to you but it is not appealing to others due to its design, you may find the home difficult to sell when that time comes. A second potential disadvantage of Designer Service Level D3 is that, as previously discussed, changes to the design and/or drawings during the process are billed as an additional service at an hourly rate. If you are not certain that the design you have provided is exactly the way you want it, changes can add additional cost to this service. Designer Service Level D2 however addresses both of these disadvantages by including changes in the fee for basic services and including evaluation of the design for recommended improvements.  In addition, Service Level D2 also includes a much more thorough startup meeting which utilizes a 15 page questionnaire. The detailed questionnaire is used to verify that you have carefully thought through your design and that you are aware of optional construction upgrades which can be designed and specified into the plans.  For these reasons, Service Level D2 is typically recommended as a minimum, if budget permits, but Warren is happy to provide whichever service you prefer.

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