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Your Home Remodeling Team

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Home Remodeling Teamwork

Home Remodeling – Your Team

Home Remodeling TeamworkYou are thinking about a home remodeling project.  You will have an idea what to do first by watching my video Home Remodeling: What Do I Do First?  In this post, I want to talk about assembling your team for your home remodeling project. Your team starts slow and build over time as your progress with your remodeling project, so don’t worry.  It’s like eating an elephant, one piece at a time.

Size Matters

The size of your team will depend on the size of your remodel.  The larger the project; the larger the team. Other factors also come into play, building & planning department restrictions and requirements.  The location of your remodel can affect the size of your team actually.

A Quick Story

Let me share with you a recent example.  I had clients who wanted to build a new custom home.  They had purchased the lot several years ago and were now ready to design and build their dream home.  I started on the project. After visiting with the county planning department, we realized that because the lot was very steep and in a sensitive area, we would need to submit our preliminary design and other reports to the planning department for review before we could receive our building permit.  In addition to our preliminary design, the planning department required the following information & reports: a Geological Report (Geologist), a Soils Report ( Soils Engineer); Topographical Map (Land Surveyor), Grading Plan (Civil Engineer); Archaeological Report (Archaeologist); Biological & Botanical Study (Biologist/Botanist).  That is before we get into the technical working drawings.

So the team assembled before we even submitted for our building permit was eight people, not including a contractor.  Now that story shouldn’t scare you off from remodeling your home, but it should forewarn you that you need to investigate your property before you start your own remodeling project. Let me briefly outline the players that could be part of your team.

Potential Team Members

  • Architect – well yeah that’s a given
  • Structural Engineer – also automatic – thought on small projects I will do the structurally work
  • Civil Engineer (CE) – The CE will work on all site elements; grading; utility and stormwater protection.  Used on Medium to large remodeling projects and always on new custom home.
  • Mechanical Engineer (ME) – The ME handles the design of the mechanical system (heating and air condition).  I will use this team member only on very large residential projects. Most remodeling projects I do, I will use a design/build strategy.  That means working with the sub-contractor (plumber or electrician) to design and document the design for the building department.
  • Electrical Engineer (EE) – The EE will handle all the design elements of the electrical system including lighting.  I will use this team member only on very large residential projects. Most remodeling projects I do, I will use a design/build strategy (see description above).
  • Energy Consultant – The energy consultant will model & evaluate the design of your home remodel and produce a report (Title 24 Energy in California) that shows that the remodel complies with current state energy requirements; see my post on the Net Zero Energy in California.
  • Landscape Architect (LA) – The LA handle all the landscape environments of your home.  I will use an LA on large new custom home projects.
  • Soils Engineer – The soils engineer will test and report the soils bearing capacity.  Based on that bearing capacity, the SE will recommend a foundation to the structural engineer.  All new custom homes & home remodeling project over 500 sf.
  • Land Surveyor – The land surveyor surveys the subject property with sophisticated satellite tracking equipment.  They set the property corners and identify the contours (the slope) of the property. The steeper the project site, the more important the land surveyor.  I will use a land surveyor for large remodel, new custom homes, & a unique building site.
  • Archaeologist – I know you are thinking why do I need an archaeologist for my home remodel project.  Well in some jurisdictions (California Central Coast for one) you will need an archaeological Phase 1 report if the land where your home remodel project is located – has been identified as a potential Native American site.  A survey has been done by UC Santa Barbara of areas of California and potential Native American habitats have been identified. The archaeologist prepares a Phase I survey, this is a visual investigation and research of your property.  If evidence of a Native American habitat is present on your property site further investigation is required. This is required on a project by project basis.
  • Biologist/Botanist – The Biologist/Botanist will do a survey of plant and animal life on the property.  This is required when the local planning has identified areas of sensitive plant life and endangered species.  This is required on a project by project basis.

I know it is quite a list.  Fortunately, most remodel projects don’t require that many team members.  Let’s look at three different type of home remodeling projects.

New custom home project

Potential Team Members

  • Architect
  • Structural Engineer
  • Civil Engineer (at least for Storm Water Protection)
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Landscape Architect (if the outdoor area being modified or created)
  • Energy Consultant
  • Soils Engineer
  • Land Surveyor
  • Archaeologist (Depending on the site)
  • Biologist/Botanist (Depending on the site)

Large Size Addition/Remodel (over 2,000)

Potential Team Members

  • Architect
  • Structural Engineer
  • Civil Engineer (at least for Storm Water Protection)
  • Mechanical Engineer [Design/Build]
  • Electrical Engineer [Design/Build]
  • Landscape Architect [You as the homeowner can decide if you need it]
  • Energy Consultant
  • Soils Engineer
  • Land Surveyor
  • Archaeologist (Depending on the site)
  • Biologist/Botanist (Depending on the site)

Medium Size  Addition/Remodel (500 to  1,999)

Potential Team Members

  • Architect
  • Structural Engineer
  • Civil Engineer (at least for Storm Water Protection)
  • Mechanical & Electrical – I will work with the contractor as a design-build
  • Energy Consultant
  • Soils Engineer [If the addition is over 500sf]
  • Land Surveyor
  • Archaeologist (Depending on the site)
  • Biologist/Botanist (Depending on the site)

Small Size  Addition/Remodel (Under 500 sf)

Potential Team Members

  • Architect
  • Structural Engineer – on simple designs I will do the structural design
  • Mechanical & Electrical – I will do a concept page & is usually accepted by bldg depart.
  • Energy Consultant
  • Soils Engineer – usually not required for additions under 500 square feet
  • Archaeologist (Depending on the site)
  • Biologist/Botanist (Depending on the site)

Did you enjoy your last home remodeling project?  Let me know below in the comments or send me an email:  Mike@MichaelSmithArchitect.com.

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