Brian Scott - Building Designer
Creating custom building plans for Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties
Frequently Asked Questions

How do you charge for your services?

The fee for my services is based on the scope of the work to be completed, the complexity of the project and the amount of design time involved. Each project is unique and the most accurate way to give a quote is to look at the home and what is involved. I offer a one hour consultation in your home at no charge. I will be able to give you information regarding setback requirements, building heights, suggestions as to floor plan layout and roof tie in and most important, new exterior design suggestions.

 

How much experience do you have?

I have over 40 years experience in the construction and design industry.

 

Do you do sub-out any work to outside vendors?

All of the design, preliminary plans and working drawings are all done in-house. Surveying, structural engineering and soils engineering is done by outside vendors.

 

Do you draw your plans by hand, or are they computer generated?

All of our plans are drawn using several software packages that incorporate the latest CAD technology.

 

Why is it important to see the plans in 3D?

We are among only a handful of Designers to use true to scale 3D technology in our design and presentation work. This amazing technology allows us to work with you in getting the exact plan and details you want.

 

Are you familiar with the building and planning department in my city or county?

My years of experience have given me the opportunity to work with numerous building departments throughout Southern California.

 

Do I need my “as-built” plans for my new room addition?

No. We measure the existing structure to ensure accuracy. If you have the “as-built” drawings, we will gladly use them as reference.

 

How long does it take to design and draw room addition plans?

The time required to design and draw room addition plans can vary. Many factors such as the complexity of the project, the amount of design time involved and the need for soils reports or structural engineering can influence the time needed to complete a set of plans. As an estimate, it can take anywhere from 5 to 12 weeks for a complete set of plans.

 

How will I know how much construction costs will be?

We are not contractors and we cannot give exact construction costs. Construction costs can vary widely depending on many factors. We are happy to pass along information on current construction costs provided to us by contractors. 

 

Will I need structural engineering?

Depending on the building department, it may require structural engineering for a single story home. Structural engineering will be required for a second story addition.

 

Will I need soils reports?

This again will depend on the city or county building officials. Southern California is an active seismic area, and soils reports may be needed depending on the topography. Generally, building on uneven or steep sloping property will require soils investigation and reporting.

 

What are the advantages of selecting a building designer first?

The advantage of selecting a building designer first is it allows you to have a completed set of plans which you can obtain bids from contractors. Each contractor will bid on the same set of plans, giving you an accurate means for estimates, and ensuring you receive the best value for your money. Second, it allows me to work with you to come up with a design to exactly meet your needs, wants and fits your budget.

 

How much are city, school and other fees related to room additions?

There are fees and taxes that the city and/or county will charge when a permit is issued. These fees can vary depending on your location, the scope of work and the size of the addition. It is best to check with your city or county office to inquire about these fees.

 

After the plans are finished, do I have to deal with the city or county to submit the plans for plan check?

In most cases, it is included in my service to submit the plans for plan check and work with the city for plan approval. This can be the most difficult and time consuming part of the process, and my experience gives me insight into making this process as easy for you as possible.

 

Do you do the actual construction and how long does it take?

We do not handle the construction phase of the project however, we can refer a contractor to you. Construction time can vary depending on factors such as the contractor’s schedule, size of addition and weather. 

 

After the plans are completed, can I act as an owner-builder?

Once your plans are approved by the city or county, the homeowner is allowed to perform the work as an Owner/Builder.

 

How long does the city or county take to complete its plan check?

This time can vary greatly depending on the plan checker, the city or county office, the complexity of the project and the time of the year. The spring and summer months are usually busier times of the year for building departments. Based on my experience, the initial plan check can take anywhere from 3-5 weeks and a re-check can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks. 

 

Should I wait until I have permits before I hire a contractor?

The answer to this question depends mostly on the homeowner and the timeframe they have in mind to complete the project. Some of my clients begin speaking with contractors during the preliminary plan phase of the project. Other clients wait until the working drawings are completed to obtain bids from several contractors. 

 

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