Architect - Tampa Bay - Architects

Why Hire an Architect?

Many people think of the Building Department as our enemy or maybe just a nuisance. Actually the Building Department keeps new construction up to a standard that protects our lives and our property values. Think of a sealed set of Architectural plans like a Carfax. When you're shopping for a used car you bring a mechanic along if you're a wise consumer. Your mechanic can listen to the car, run a computer diagnostic and actually see any damage beyond the outside of the engine block. When buying an existing home or business you would bring a private home inspector to look for signs of damage in your prospective purchase. They may be able to see signs of trouble, or nothing could be evident at the time of the inspection. However, there could be early stages of mold that have not yet had time to expand to a visible level, or a wire left behind the new drywall just waiting to arch and start a fire while your family sleeps. The difference is that there is no diagnostic machine for your prospective home. A good architect that generated a set of sealed plans, a good licensed contractor, and a building inspector that has checked the entire project from start to finish is the equivalent. Sealed plans add value to your home or business just like a Carfax does to a used automobile.

Contractors, Architects, Clients will complain about the permit process from time to time, but as we all know non-permitted construction can cost thousands of dollars and become a pre-condition that insurance companies may not cover in some cases.

What if you were one of those people that didn't trust the building department and you decided to try to build your project without a building permit or architect? You would be surprised how quickly a neighbor will call you in. Meter readers and city officials are encouraged to call in building violators. You could find out how a short cut has turned into a very bad idea when a building official hands you a citation. The citation is now doubling the original fees, and you have very little time to find an architect to draw a proper set of architectural plans. Why take the risk?

What if you have made the mistake of pouring footers with no proof of steel in the concrete (such as photos documenting the process). The footers will have to be x-rayed and that process could cost as much or more than the plans you will now need. Yes, you're now fined double the fees, you're on a stricter time-line in some cases, and you still need us to produce and seal your construction documents.

A new custom home can be a huge decision, with many considerations to factor into your design. Over-all square footage, pencil sketches of the layout, space requirements and clients desires need to be considered. You may have poured hours, days and months into the layout of your "dream home". In your opinion the hard work is done and you tell the designer that all you need is a licensed professional to sign and seal it; no changes will need to be made. Someone needs to plug it into the computer CAD program and ĒproveĒ you have finished making one of the most important decisions of your life. Does your pencil sketch take into consideration the outer c.m.u. wall thickness? Do you have framed interior walls listed? Have your stairs been designed with the correct height and tread spacing for the space they are planned to be built into to reach the second story? This is when you start to realize that your plan may completely change. Pencil sketches cannot cover building codes and safety standards that are mandatory for all signed sealed plans. These sketches are terrific guidelines for design professionals, but they can almost never become a locked in design that addresses functionality, structural loads, tolerance and code. This is why you need an Architect, a competent designer to help you through the unknowns and help you to plan a reasonable design.
What about smaller projects or building onto existing structures? A lot of firms won't touch them because they're not cost effective, but they're very important and sometimes more complicated than larger projects. This is where you need a licensed firm with experience. Experience to properly site inspect and evaluate the existing structure to anchor and bear the load of the new connection. Experience to properly design a seamless look as if it was originally designed that way.
Why Cornerstone Design Services?
Before we compare firms to firms, in general one of the largest complaints about any business is dependability. All firms will be eager to take your deposit and be there until you're in the middle of your project. When the designs have been approved by the client, the designing completed and the plans sent to the local building department, from here on out is where you will really realize the firmís commitment to your project. All Building departments are notorious for interpreting the Florida Building code differently. It's amazing how at times they will completely miss a firmís notes or callouts, etc, and then make a list of comments that are already called out on the plans. When you need that firm to respond, you need them right away. Where are they? If they answer your phone call within twenty four hours or less then you know that you are dealing with a dependable firm. If we don't get your call during operational hours, we'll be in touch within twelve hours or less. Accessibility is what we aim for with each and every one of our clients.

Have you ever called or entered a business for the first time and you felt the representatives were rude and not very helpful? We are in business to help you with one of the most important decisions of your life. During what can be a very stressful time, Cornerstone wants to set you at ease while streamlining your design  project. All clients have preconceived ideas of what they want within the space they are budgeted to. You might have a certain design look you want; the great thing about our firm is that we provide you with the most realistic color generated renderings so that you can see your project come to life. You would be surprised how many times clients end up making changes after they see their concept generated in color 3D. They think they were locked in, but now they see other possibilities they didn't even think existed. All our projects start with 3D at no extra charge so that once designing starts, you know what to expect when the project is built.

What if you're in one of the cases listed above where youíre planning was off for lack of knowledge of certain code or structural requirements? Do you have time to sit down and read the entire building code? The good thing is Cornerstone will not sugar coat an idea that can't be built or shouldn't be built. We will work hard to find an alternative to solve your problem, but we won't lie to you and design something that won't work just to get your business.

Why Cornerstone? How about a set of plans that the building department says, wow, nice set of plans and passes you through with ease, or how about a set of plans that you can actually read and they make sense? How about a set of plans that are not only accurate and informative, but are processed very quickly with no lack of quality. How about architectural design professionals that are licensed, knowledgeable with years of experience and love working with you to achieve your project goals? How about a firm that can give you a firsthand look from any angle possible of your project built long before you've even chosen your contractor, at no extra cost? What about our cost?
We're a small firm with low overhead and we want to pass those savings on to you the client. In these tough times we know how hard it is, at the same time we only ask for fair compensation with you knowing that you're going to get a lot more in a lot quicker time for a lot less money than most of our competition. If it's a small project without much design needed, then we can turn that out quickly. However if it's a custom home, custom remodel, then we suggest that you not cut corners and let us work through your design to make sure you get everything you need. A little extra time doesnít mean a lot of extra fees, but it does mean a lot of savings when itís time to construct your home. Your plans are the most important portion of your project, yet the fees are a fraction of the cost to build your project. We have a great fee structure that minimizes the design fee with very reasonable billable rates ahead of your changes. You know exactly where you are on cost at all times without getting tied up in endless changes that can actually be counterproductive and very costly.
Why Cornerstone? Because our plans get passed 100% of the time and at a very
reasonable price. With more friendly service than cost, our architectural
designs will save you money every time!
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License # AA26001526 AR12864

3d Rendering, Additions, Architects, Architectural Design, Blue Prints, Build Outs, Building Permits, Code Enforcement,
Drafting, Floor Plans, Luxury Homes, New Custom Homes, Remodels, Renovations