Architectural Designer FAQs Part 1

Frequently Asked Questions

We know everyone has questions, especially when embarking on a custom home or renovation project with an architectural designer. Every Friday in March we’ll be addressing a few of the most common questions clients pose to Jim Bell. This week we discuss the topic “Working with an Architectural Designer”.


Working with an Architectural Designer

How will I know Jim Bell Architectural Design & Build is the right architectural design service for me?

Finding the right designer is important and meeting with 2-3 architectural designers is a great way to start.

Jim Bell firmly believes that designing new custom homes or planning a renovation for his clients is a collaborative process between designer and client. He listens. He listens very closely and asks thoughtful questions to ensure he understands and identifies your goals and priorities. Your answers reveal how you live, your aesthetic preferences, your budget, and your desired time frame. Our collaboration will integrate your ideas with Jim’s creativity and experience and will uncover the possibilities as we move through the creative design process to deliver the optimal concept for your renovation or new custom home.


What should I expect if I decide to hire your firm?

Expect that Jim Bell Architectural Design & Build will work collaboratively with you to develop a design that will be beautiful, highly functional and unique to your lifestyle—a home you will enjoy for years to come. Professional design and construction management is an investment that pays back in so many ways. Great design will not only make living in your home a pleasure, it will also add significant value to your home when you decide to sell.

Our goal is to create a new living space that meets your functional and aesthetic wants and needs, your expectations and your budget… a space that brings you joy.


Can I buy the floor plans of a home you already designed?

Jim Bell Architectural Design & Build is retained to collaborate with clients to develop unique custom homes just for them. These design plans are exclusively theirs and your plans will be exclusively yours.
Will you come to my home to quote on my renovation project and do a couple sketches?

Jim Bell welcomes the opportunity to meet with you at his Ottawa or Pembroke offices, at your building site or at your home. Getting acquainted, understanding the design-build process and developing the working relationship are all factors in determining if we are the right fit for each client and project.

In order to optimize the benefits of the initial meeting, Jim will request you prepare and provide some information prior to the meeting. Jim will research the zoning bylaws associated with your property. During the meeting Jim will discuss the design potential of your lot based on the zoning requirements, but more importantly, this meeting is a chance for you to get to know Jim and ask the questions that will help you decide if Jim Bell Architectural Design & Build is the right design firm for your renovation project.


Will I be charged for revisions during the design process?

During the design process you can go back-and-forth as many times as needed until you get to your approved design. Once you approve the design for your custom home or renovation and technical drawings are underway, any revisions will come with additional charges. The amount will be determined by the nature of the revision.

It is rare that a design exceeds three rounds of revisions because our design process begins with an essential step called a Program Brief. It documents all of the key elements of your project including: design objectives, space requirements, budget estimates, proposed schedule, site and zoning analyses, site survey and soil/geotechnical report. A Program Brief will not only reduce headaches and smooth the process considerably, but will also reduce your overall design/build budget when compared to skipping this step and jumping into drawings and construction before your needs, wants and budget are fully understood. However, if the revisions become excessive, then we will re-group and re-evaluate your Program Brief and discuss how to move forward in the design process.


Who will be designing my home? Will Jim be involved or will my project be passed on to a junior designer?

Jim designs every custom home or renovation from his offices in Ottawa and Pembroke. He draws on his 30+ years of experience and creates a unique solution for your needs, wants and dreams. You meet with him at every stage throughout the design process; from the “wish list” meeting, to the presentation of his initial hand drawn sketch, to your sign off on the approved design. Jim is involved every step of the way.


Architectural Designer FAQs Part 2 >