Our Architecture Services and the Process of Building a Home

Still Point Architecture services – for people who want to build their own home or develop commercial property – from pre-design, through design development and working drawings to administration of the construction process.

Our firm, Still Point Architecture, has an office in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia and has worked in various locations in Western Canada, with an emphasis on island and waterfront homes and buildings.

If you are like most people, you’ve never designed and built a home for yourself. The very prospect can seem challenging. Fortunately, I have been down this road many times and one of my primary goals is to make the process of realizing your dream home as exciting and supportive as possible.

If you have read this far, it’s most likely that you have acquired a plot of land … in the city, in the country, on the coast or on an island.


What Comes Next? The Stages of Most Architectural Projects.

There is a “pre-design” aspect to your project and then there is a “design and construction” aspect. The pre-design work consists of developing a wish-list of things you want in your new home.

To assist you in this part of the process, I have developed a questionnaire which I give to my new clients.

  • You will need to answer questions that provide a qualitative overview of characteristics you’d like in the house.
  • The next section sets out the quantitative elements – the rooms, spaces and areas that will be included in the final design.
  • From your input, I develop a room list which we call the “client brief” or “program” for the new house. This is a list of rooms with their proposed size and specific characteristics. When these areas are tallied up and we apply a factor for circulation and space taken up by walls, we can accurately determine the total size of the new house.

It’s also very useful to have graphic images. These can be photos of houses you like, images from magazines or from websites that specialize in house design.

Often, I compile all the images and the program together into a kind of “Design Manual” for the new house. This guides our decisions during the design stages.

During this time, it’s also important to have a topographic survey made of your property. This will include the property boundaries, key features on the site (trees, rock outcrops, creeks) and contour lines which show the rise and fall of the land.

Now we’re ready to begin the design and construction aspect of your architectural project – and it’s often around this time, that you will need to understand fees for services provided.

  • The pre-design stage has no set limitations and an architect’s time spent on pre-design work is often compensated on an hourly basis.
  • The design and construction stage is more clearly defined.
    • The Architectural Institute of BC publishes a document called: How to Find and Engage an Architect. One section of this booklet is called the “Tariff of Fees for Architectural Services”. This lists every imaginable building type and then assigns a percentage fee for architectural services during the design and construction stage. This is a percentage of the estimated cost of construction of the house.

There are, basically, three phases within the design and construction stage: Design, Construction Documentation and Construction.  Find out more about these three phases here.


Still Point Architecture – Our Value

As an architect, I can provide services during construction which others (engineers are the exception) cannot and most clients are very happy to have my assistance through all three phases of the design and construction because the outcome is typically a well-designed building, constructed to your specific needs, and within the parameters that you are comfortable with.

It’s now time to talk to one of BC’s leading architect firms specializing in coastal design to find out what’s next. Contact me to find out more about our architecture services and how we can help you with your project.

Drew Rose, Architect AIBC
Still Point Architecture