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Conceptual designs

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The answers to questions for all project types are generally similar with respect to satisfying the client’s concerns and their project requirements.  An example of frequently asked questions for a residential project is listed below:

Q:   I want to build an addition to my home.  What are the steps I should take to get  started?

     It is recommended to first consult with the Architect to discuss your project requirements.  Identify what you like and dislike about your existing home; some areas too small, not functional, etc.  The answer may require expanding existing rooms and/or adding new areas to satisfy your project requirements.  Most common additions and or renovations for residential projects include expanding and or adding bedrooms, sun rooms, family rooms, kitchens and bathroom expansions.

Q:  What information should be available for the first meeting with the Architect?

    Information that is helpful to have available when meeting with the design professional is the existing building drawings, if available and a property site plan (survey).  The site plan locates the residence by dimension to property lines.  This is important because the available space between the residence and property lines will determine the size of the addition allowed by local zoning requirements, which is required for obtaining the building permit.

Q: Why Cost Considerations are Important?

    A working budget should be available to serve as the basis for determining the design parameters for beginning the conceptional and preliminary design phase to identify the cost constraints which will be the basis for the scope of work  The scope of work may need to be scaled down or up depending on an established cost for the project.

Q: What are the Steps for Preparation of Architectural Construction Drawing?

    a). Preliminary Design Phase:  During this phase optional design for floor plans and exterior elevations are prepared in connection with meeting with the client to discuss and select a design that satisfies the client’s project requirements and to establish a realistic working budget.  An examination of the site is provided in order to expose any conflicts where the addition is planned; conflicts may include location of existing underground utilities, topography, on-site septic systems, well location, etc.  Site orientation for planned additions for sun exposure should be considered.  Decisions to address building orientation for preferred sun exposure is easier when designing a building on an empty lot, when adding to an existing residence, it may limited, but should still be reviewed for available option, for example, Sunroom’s, Kitchens, and Family room’s are better to have natural light longer during the day with southern exposure, rather than no natural light or limited sunlight exposure.  After coordination and approval of all the above coordinated design issues, the next phase is the Design Development Phase. 

    b.   Design Development Phase:  Develop the preliminary drawings to set final dimension’s  for floor plan layouts and confirm the design for Exterior Elevations.  The floor plan layout is coordinated with the location and design of exterior windows, doors, room finishes for floors walls ceilings, light fixtures, electrical switches and receptacles.  The exterior design for the new addition will address esthetic considerations by tying into the character and design of the existing residence for review and approval by the client.  It is important that all of the information in this phase is communicated, coordinated, and approved with the client before starting the construction drawings.    

    c.   Construction Document Phase – Permit Drawings:  This is the final drawing phase and includes preparation of construction documents for submission to the local building department for their review and approval for issuance of the building permit.  Their approval confirms that drawings are in conformance with all local and national codes. These drawings include: Structural framing plans, Foundation plans, exterior elevations identifying finish materials, window and door schedule, building sections and construction details necessary to identify the project requirements.  An outline specification identifying technical product information to assure that construction is completed in accordance with the design drawings.


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