Fenton Design Associates

Excellence in Design.. Quality of Service.. Attention to Detail.
Design Process

Regardless of the scope of the project, the complete design process goes through the same five basic steps, ultimately leading to a completed project:

Step One - Initial Meeting & Information Exchange  
Step Two - Design Concept, Refinement & Approval  





Step Three - Construction Drawings





Step Four - Plan Check
& Permitting















Step Five -
Building Phase


Once initial contact has been made, the first step is to have a meeting to discuss your objectives and expectations.  There are a couple pages of questions to address.  This is the time for us to thoroughly understand your needs, goals and desires about your project. 

Once the initial meeting has been completed, a concept will be generated.  This concept usually includes three drawings:  floor plan(s), exterior elevations, and a site plan.  This set of drawings is used as a general scope of what the final design will look like and the project as a whole will entail.  

Usually, a takes a several iterations of refinement to come up with a design which is acceptable to all parties, including the owner, the architecture review board (if you belong to an association with CC&R's), and the municipality in which it is located (city, county).

This phase typically incorporates other design professionals, such as geotechnical engineers, hydrologists, civil engineers, surveyors, etc..  Such design professionals are needed to determine site feasibility.  If the site has any issues that would be prohibitive of building (i.e.  seismic fault identification, water course issues, percolation studies, grading & slope issues, property line matters, easements, encroachments, etc.), it needs to be addressed prior to any further design work.

This step includes the comprehensive preparation of working drawings that are needed to build the structure.  

Here is the short list of the required drawings:  Cover Sheet, Building Schedules, Building Notes, Floor Plans, Exterior Elevations, Foundation Plan, Floor Framing Plans, Deck Framing Plans, Roof Framing Plan, Structural Sections, Structural Details, Interior Elevations, Electrical Plans, Roof Plan, Shear (Seismic) Plans, Fire Sprinkler Plans, Drainage Plans, Topography Maps, Site Plans, Erosion Control Plans (sometimes placed upon the site plan), Demo Plan.

Once the structural elements of these plans are done, they are then sent to a structural engineer for analysis.  The structural engineer performs structural calculations to assure that the design in question is able to withstand the siesmic, lateral, and gravity loads as dictated by current building codes.  Also needed is the truss calcuations (if a truss roof is to be used).  These are usually prepared by a truss manufacturer.

If the structure is a residence (or an addition to a residence), it requires another set of calcuations called the Title-24 Energy Documentation.  This set of documents is a mandatory measure by the State of California to assure it is designed to meet minimum energy efficient standards.

As can be deducted, 'Construction Drawings' is the lions share of the work.  Thorough, precise, accurate plans take time to develop.  Fenton Design Associates does not submit any plan that it deems incomplete.  We take pride in issuing plans that are highly legible, accurate and thorough.

Submitting Plans to the city/county building department for plan check is how to commence with step four.  
The basic minimum design package needs to be collected together for this submittal includes:

Site Plan
Grading Plan (sometimes incorporated into site plan)
Building Plans
Structural Engineering
Geo-technical Soils Report
Title-24 Energy Documentation
Truss Calcs.(if trusses used, sometimes may be deferred)
Erosion Control Plan (sometimes incorporated into the site plan)
Fire Sprinkler Plan (somethimes may be deferred)

There may be other design elements that are required depending upon your property and building department,  but these are the basics.

At this point, the plans are to be scrutinized by the planning, building and health authorities at the 'Community Development Agency.'  This process can take at least a few months to complete.  They red-mark the plans and make a list of incomplete/incorrect items that need to be dealt with prior to issuing a building permit.  Depending upon the municipality, this process can be a breeze or it can be quite frustrating and time consuming.  The government rarely seems to be interested in 'our' schedule.  Regardless, it is a necessary step to get the permit. 

Once the permit is issued, congratulations!  Now comes time to build it. 

There may be other design elements that are required depending upon your property and building department,  but these are the basics.

Your permit has been issued.  Your fees have been paid.  Everybody is happy!

Now is the time to execute the building phase.   

General Contractor.
Material Suppliers.
Desiger Consultation. 

That is right!  Fenton Design Associates isn't quite done yet, depending upon your requested level of consultation.  We can help you through this process, as required.  We are also called upon to make sure the structure is done according to plan.