Architecture & Design

With rolling hills, bay frontage and the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco and surrounding Bay Areas provide an architectural backdrop that demands extremely creative and skilled architectural and structural design. San Francisco has a diverse range of architecture, from Victorian and Queen Anne homes to brick commercial buildings to sleek skyscrapers.

Turley Construction Marin’s vision and purpose is to create homes that are both intimate and inviting without detracting from the classic San Francisco architecture and style.

How to work with an architect

A step-by-step guide on what to expect

Most large renovations require an architect, but the way the process unfolds depends on the size and scope of your renovation project. If your project is fairly small and straightforward, you may only need a la carte services like schematic designs. For a whole-home renovation or a kitchen or bath remodel that requires moving plumbing or walls, you will need a full-service architect.

Architects typically charge a percentage of the construction cost of a project. Many urban areas  charge 15 to 20 percent for projects in the $20,000 to $30,000 range and 10 to 15 percent for projects of $250,000 and more.

To walk you through the sequence of steps, we have created a step-by-step guide on the milestones for planning and executing a renovation with an architect.

Step 1 – Initial Consultation and Measurements (1-5 hours)

After speaking with an architect on the phone, the first thing that has to happen is for the architect to measure your project site and create drawings. These measurements and initial consultation about what you are imagining for the renovation are the basis for beginning the design process. The architect will use this initial step to create a few different concepts which will be presented to you in Step 2.

Step 2 – Concept presentation and schematic design (up to 8 weeks)

The first design meeting is all about big picture. You communicate your goals and desires verbally and the architect responds back visually with images and renderings. As the conversation evolves, the drawings and designs evolve until you approve a final design scheme.

This stage is for considering major decisions such as layout and functionality, and not for minute details such as finishes. Don’t worry about the height of the baseboards, tiles, or shades of white. Depending on the size of the project, this stage is either one meeting or several.

Step 3 – Permits and Approvals (1 to 3 months)

Once you and your architect are in agreement about the schematic designs, you or your contractor can begin the process of submitting them to the appropriate groups for approval. This phase is the one that you have the least control over. Once the applications are submitted, you are waiting for a board to convene or the city to review your plans. The timeline of the permits and approvals stage once again often depends on the size and scope of the project itself. If you make changes late in the process, plans may have to be resubmitted for approval.

Step 4 – Hiring Turley Construction Marin (up to 2 weeks)

If you came to us by referral, you have probably already hired us to manage your renovation project. It’s also possible that you began this process on your own and at Step 4 are looking for a general contractor to take the schematic design and make it a reality. The architect and general contractor have a critical impact on the successful outcome of your project. They will work with you as a team so it’s important that everyone works well together.

The earlier you bring in a contractor, the earlier you can get a real world sense of the actual costs of your renovation project. It’s important not to wait too long to bring in a contractor since he probably has valuable resources and knowledge that can be applied to your renovation project.

Step 5 – Construction

Depending on the size and scope of your project and your contract with your architect, he or she may be involved a lot or a little in the administration of the project itself. On a large project, the architect may make regular visits to the work site and be in touch with the contractor for troubleshooting and making sure that the design plans are implemented correctly.

Whether your project is small or large, understanding how an architect can work with you will bring clarity to your San Francisco or Bay Area renovation.