Design Process

Our custom designs are a creative, integrative, and artistic collaboration with you, supported within an intelligent process. We’re passionate about capturing your needs and desires in a uniquely beautiful design that caters to your lifestyle and stands the test of time.The following walks you through the step-by-step phases of TAG’s Design Process.

Initial Design Consultation (Complimentary)

In this initial conversation, either in person or on the phone/Skype, we’ll want to hear all that you can tell us about your needs, ideas, and dreams for your project, as well as its location, estimated size, budget for design and construction, and timing. This open dialogue helps us understand how we can best serve you, determine the scope of work, as well as answer your questions.Given this understanding, if you’d like to pursue further, a Proposal is drafted and sent for your review, outlining the estimated size of your project, scope of work, and associated design fees. Upon your approval of the Proposal, a Design Agreement is prepared for your review, and once signed, serves to formally engage our services to commence work on your project!

Pre-Design Phase

Once engaged, TAG conducts a site visit at your property to evaluate access, view planes, determine wind direction, and ideal positioning of the structure(s), based on the topography and all the variables affecting the project. We gather all the information which may be needed, such as a topographical survey, plot plan to show property lines, setbacks, and drainage. (NOTE: Modern computer technology has revolutionized architectural design so that not all projects require an initial site visit.)During this Pre-Design Phase, TAG’s Design Team will collect and study additional information on zoning, county requirements, and your specific neighborhood design guidelines, (where applicable). Simultaneously, we conduct a detailed Design Evaluation with you to go over what we’ve determined about your property site, discuss options for different building methods and any sustainable elements you may wish to incorporate into your project. Using this in-depth questionnaire, we gather information about your lifestyle and determine your preferred aesthetic design style.

Conceptual/Schematic Design Phase

Now that TAG has gathered your information, we can begin the fun part…Designing! We realize that most people have a hard time envisioning what their project will look like in a 2-D floor plan, so using the latest 3-D software technology, we create your initial design layouts in a 3-D model that is perfectly to scale. No longer limited to your imagination in trying to visualize how a space will look and function, your first design concept enables you to see your project layout on your property, including the size and shape of the building(s), as well as the relationship between the spaces and how they will function and flow. Either via ‘shared computer screen’ or a face to face meeting, we walk you through your future dream project from both exterior and interior views from any angle, showing you interior room sizes, initial windows and doors, and a preliminary furniture layout. This walk-thru is exciting to see, as well as efficient for design discussions and making design adjustments. You may know what you’d like right away, and/or you may wish to take time to study the layout and come back with questions and revisions. TAG’s Design Team will assist and guide you through this process and make sure that you are happy before moving forward. Once approved, the design proceeds to a higher level of detail, and to the next phase.

FRK sketch photo 2Design Development (DD) Phase

The DD phase takes the 3D model produced during the previous phase and develops them a step further. Structural and other building systems are planned and the project’s code compliance will be confirmed.FRK sketch photo 1Collaborating with you either via ‘shared screen’ or a face to face meeting, TAG’s Design Team will work to select specific windows, doors, flooring, ceiling treatments, cabinetry, countertops, appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting, as well as other materials/products needed for construction. During these interactive sessions, TAG will offer suggestions that meet your design aesthetic, suit your project’s budget, and provide you with cost-saving recommendations on materials and finishes.FRK sketch photo 1At the end of Design Development, your material/product selections and interior finishes will be finalized, so that the detailed documentation can begin in the Construction Document Phase.


If you hire any additional consultants, such as additional engineers, solar, lighting, audio visual (AV), landscape, etc., TAG will coordinate the work of these various consultants and implement their drawings into your design. Not all projects require additional consultants.

FRK sketch photo 3Construction Documents (CD) Phase

Once you are satisfied with the plans for your design, Construction Documents will begin.  In the Construction Documents Phase, TAG’s Design Team will be sizing the building components and focusing on adding a level of detail and technical information to the Design Documents so that a contractor has a set of instructions to build the project, as designed.

Submitting to City/County and Design Review Boards

A set of permit drawings is a simplified construction set and is used to submit, coordinate, and obtain your building permit from the city or county.  The local reviewing authority doesn’t care to review each and every detail of a project. Their focus is to make sure the drawings meet state, city and local codes.  It may be an effective use of time to turn in a “permit set” early in the process, covering the requirements, and getting the ball rolling with the city/county while TAG continues to work on the more complete drawing set required for construction. In addition, some neighborhoods have a Design Review Board (DRB) and, if this is the case with your project, then this set of plans may also be submitted to the DRB for pre-approval. SPECIAL NOTE: Each reviewing authority has their unique submittal processes. What is outlined above is a typical process, however this process may vary in your specific location.
Simultaneously, while submittals are taking place, TAG’s architectural designers and consultants will continue with the Construction Document Phase, working through all technical aspects of the project, including finalizing all structural engineering work and technical design details to produce the completed architectural set of plans for your project.

The Bidding Phase – to attain a General Contractor (GC)

Once your construction set is complete, it is customary to submit your finished plans to several General Contractors for competitive bids. Depending on your location, TAG may be able to help you find qualified contractors, if desired. Even if you’ve already received a rough preliminary bid early on, now is the time to get an updated contract price from the GC candidates. Upon request, TAG can also help you manage the bidding process by reviewing submitted bids, provide analysis, and help you compare construction time frames, budget, and desired quality, however ultimately you will make the final decision as to whom you’ll award the job for construction.

During Construction

Understanding that your project will benefit by having clear communication between your Design Team and your contractor, TAG will answer all General Contractor’s Requests for Information (RFIs) by phone or email about the architectural and interior design, as needed, throughout the entire construction process.  TAG can also arrange to visit your jobsite periodically, either in person, or efficiently via Skype, to assure conformance with the design intent and to address any field conditions as they arise.

Design Services / Fees

Click to EnlargeThe Design Team at TAG aims to make your design process as easy as possible, and to help you determine the level of design services best suited for your project. Since each project is different from location to complexity, each project is costed individually. In general however, we establish fees for our services base on the size of the project, as well as the number of detailed drawings and services we provide – our mutually agreed-upon “Scope of Work”. It is our experience that the more detailed a set of plans, the more accurate a contractor’s bid and the less mistakes made on the job, as well-documented drawings are not left open for interpretation. The construction of your project is the most expensive part of the process, and what drives construction costs up are change orders and corrections. A well-thought-out design, specified and documented in detail, can save you in the cost of construction and in many cases will outweigh the cost of the design. NOTE: For international projects, we typically team up with a local architect in your area to insure compliance with local ordinances. 
Regardless of what level of service/design detail we provide for you, our greatest joy is in creating a beautiful customized design that will surpasses your highest expectations!