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Designers of Custom Homes, Colorado, New Mexico
Vaughn & Associates Architectural Design Services
Frequently Asked Questions about custom home design


1. How much will it cost to design a custom home?

Each project is different and fees may vary, influenced by site conditions, where it is to be built, design review process, size and complexity of design, level of detail required, etc. After an initial meeting get to know each other and your project, a more precise fee can be proposed. It will be moderate, not based on a percentage of construction cost but on the amount of design work to be done.

2. Should I have a site selected before beginning the design process?

Most of the time, yes. It is difficult to take a stock design and just place it on site. The best designs are created with the specific site in mind, with your needs and desires in mind. The exception to this rule is for production house plans prepared for a builder which are not site specific. A site survey with existing topography and natural features is usually required for most sites. In addition, a soil report is usually required (except for some mountain locations.

3. How does the design process work, and how long will it take to complete drawings?

The entire process from start to finish usually takes from 2–3 months, but can be streamlined if necessary and if you are well prepared. The initial design and preliminary concept phase usually takes 2–3 weeks. At that time, you will have floor plans and an elevation proposed and we critique the plan together. Then the design development phase begins and hand drawn plans are revised and put into AutoCAD for hard line floor plans and exterior elevations. This phase takes 2–3 weeks. Then after review and input from you we move to the final plan preparation phase (working drawings) which takes 3–4 weeks. After plan completion, the plans go to engineering which takes 2–3 weeks, and plans are finalized. More complex plans will take longer, as will those that must go through an extensive design review process.

4. What other professional services will be required?

I will refer you to several professionals to work with, or you may use your own. A licensed engineer to prepare structural drawings is required, a soil engineer to prepare the soil report, a surveyor to prepare a site survey with topography, possibly a landscape architect. You may also wish to use an interior designer &/or kitchen designer, lighting consultant, audio/visual consultant or others. You may contract with them directly and we will work together as a team to create a custom home that meets or exceeds your expectations.




5. Should I select a builder to participate in the design process?

It is often quite helpful to involve a builder in the design process, as they can help in many ways to keep the project within your budget, and to inform us of options and materials available. Builders are usually involved in preparing the final specification sheets for specific materials, manufacturers, allowances for various items, etc. Vaughn Associates Inc. has an extensive list of builder clients and will be happy to refer you to an appropriate builder or builders.

6. Is Vaughn Associates Inc. a licensed architectural firm?

No. However, every custom home design is structurally designed and stamped by a licensed structural engineer who is selected for each project based on the client's requirements.

7. Is a licensed architect required to design my custom home or addition?

No. State law does not require that a licensed architect prepare plans for single family dwellings or duplexes. However, a structural engineer licensed in Colorado is required by nearly all cities and counties to do the structural engineering including a foundation plan based on your soil report. Your selection of a residential designer or architect should be based on their reputation and references, quality of work and creativity, ability to work with you and listen to you and your needs, ability to produce accurate construction drawings in a timely manner within your budget. Fees charged by residential design firms are usually less than a full service architectural firm. You are encouraged to interview several design firms until you feel comfortable with your selection.

Contact us for a free introductory meeting and evaluation of your residential design project.

Call 303-534-0902 for an appointment or email us at david@voncad.com