Monthly: March 2020

Guidelines
Blog

Guidelines to Washington DC Building Permit Process?

 

Are you navigating through the building Guidelines to Permit process in Washington DC? Do you consider it to be challenging and difficult? Obtaining a building permit in Washington DC can take around 5 months or more. For the last few years, various aspects like the thriving construction market, revised zoning code, and the implementation of Green building have created a difficult environment for the building owners and developers, who are not acquainted with the permit expediting the process in DC.

Guidelines to Washington DC Building Permit Process

Whether it’s a building permitting need for hotels, offices, multi-families or high-end residences, managing permit expeditions is a vital part of every project’s success. So, you should pay heed to a few things while undergoing building permit expeditions in DC like the process of permitting, agencies involved in the permitting process and permit review disciplines for involved agencies. 

The Process of Permitting

If you are applying for a construction permit in Washington DC, it should entail an online submittal to the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for reviewing and approval from all relevant agencies. 

Check out the steps of the building permitting process as per 2018 Mark G. Anderson Consultants Inc.

Preparation to meet the minimum requirements of DCRA permit:

  • Submission of online application
  • Payment of filing fees
  • PRC record payment
  • Sending of invitation to project document
  • Uploading the plan of the applicant to project document
  • Reviews of the plan by PRC
  • Acceptance of job by PRC

Planning Review Cycle:

  • Assigning review disciplines by PRC
  • The applicant referred to engage sister agency’s processes
  • Sister agency review
  • Review by DCRA disciplines
  • Applicant notified of approval
  • Residual fee submission
  • Permit issuance

You need to spend time ensuring that your permit application and drawings are complete before submission as multiple rounds of reviews are conducted by several agencies till your plan gets the required approvals. It is only after the review and approval of the relevant agencies, DCRA will issue your building permit. Keep in mind that design changes pertaining to the issue of a building permit could lead to additional plan checks. Cases, where major design changes have been made, permitting process of the project, may need to be started from the beginning. 

Agencies Involved in the Permitting Process

DCRA

The primary agency involved in the permitting process is the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for Washington DC. However, like other permitting agencies in other cities dealing with the issues of busy construction markets, DCRA faces the problems of limited resources corresponding to the processing workload. Considering the statistics of the past 5 years, the volume of the permit has grown above 30%. However, the number of permit reviewers has not perceived a parallel increase. It is uncertain about how DCRA will overcome the challenges and move forward, though the agency has discovered varied options for streamlining their process like the commencement of new permitting programs.

Other Reviewing Agencies

Even if DCRA is the prime permit issuance agency, other agencies get engaged in the review process before the application reaches DCRA. Projects requiring reviews from additional agencies include new building additions, excavation, restaurant and historic district locales. Usually, a building permit gets issued once a project meets all the standard requirements of a relevant discipline, though there is currently no central tracking system to consolidate updates from involved agencies.

Permit Review disciplines as per Permit STAT for involved agencies:

  • DCRA (Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs)
  • Primary permit issuance agency for structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, green building, energy & zoning
  • DDOT (District Department of Transportation)
  • Reviews building projects affecting public spaces like roadways, sidewalks, trees, public parking & public space
  • DOEE (Department of Energy & Environment)
  • Reviews building plans with environmental components like stormwater management, lead-based paint, water quality, air quality, asbestos abatement & hazardous material
  • DOH (Department of Health)
  • Regulates building quality & safety for healthcare & food establishment facilities including hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes, outpatient rehab facilities, restaurants, grocery stores, wholesale markets, hotels & swimming pools
  • DC Water
  • Reviews construction projects touching DC’s water & sewer systems, ensuring that the projects meet design criteria, handling capacity of change, performing inspection for assuring work quality & assessing inspection fees & work orders for every project
  • Office of Planning
  • Reviews construction projects in historic districts, onsite of historic landmarks & use of public space and directs the historic preservation of review board to oversee & designate historic properties

A unique aspect to consider in Washington DC is the association of the US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), which oversees both the public and the private projects involving alterations to external architectural features, elevation, look, color and texture of the materials of construction visible from public spaces. The CFA works along with the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) & the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for ensuring the preservation of historic character in all Federal & District of Columbia government projects and 2 designated neighborhoods – Georgetown Historic District & Shipstead-Luce Area. A project with external adjustments meeting these criteria needs to get reviewed by the CFA, HPO, and the HPRB.

Experienced permit expediting companies like Tejjy Inc. can help navigate the process, defining a realistic schedule for the construction project, leveraging relationships with relevant agencies. To know more about the DC permitting process, call 202-465-4830 or write at info@tejjy.com for faster construction permit approval in Washington DC.

outsource BIM companies
BIM Service

How to Seek the Right Firm for Outsourcing BIM Resources?

Several companies outsource BIM management, working with Building Information Modeling experts for addressing in-house needs. However, that approach may not be apt for every firm. BIM resource sharing management is a complicated task, dealing with support and maintenance of system, successful deployment, training, and standards. 

BIM Resource Sharing
BIM Resource Sharing

Management of BIM resource sharing demands a blending of skills and experience, with technical support, project guidance, design, engineering, and construction expertise.

Check out whether a BIM company abides by the following aspects:

Tips/Steps for BIM resource sharing:

• Creates & Nurtures BIM vision: 

Find out that the BIM Company you are choosing can deliver an insightful 3D BIM Modeling solution throughout the project development life cycle. The BIM experts should be able to create and nurture the right BIM vision for you and collaboratively execute projects, allowing better understanding with reduced errors and higher accuracy.

• Chooses, Implements & Maintains BIM Software 

Select the BIM company who values client requirement and can systematically deal with complex projects with high level of precision implementing various software applications like Autodesk Revit, 3DS Max, Navisworks, BIM 360 Glue, AutoCAD Plant 3D, Tekla, Autodesk AutoCAD, Solidworks, Autodesk Fusion 360, Inventor, Sketchup, Rhinoceros, Creo, Solid Edge and more.

• Adopts New Technologies to Support BIM Projects

Hire the BIM Company that executes projects in an integrated way, encompassing collaboration of technology and advanced construction techniques. The BIM service provider should undertake continuous analysis before adopting and embedding technology in a particular phase of the project. The latest technology integration with the Drone, Virtual Reality, 3D Printer, and GEO BIM can help to improve the final project outcome with quality, cost and time efficiency.

• Embraces 3D Laser Scanning, Energy Analysis, Prefabrication & Cloud Collaboration

Opt for the company that embraces 3D Laser Scanning technology in BIM Modeling using point cloud data. This will help to make decisions about wanted or unwanted components and structures of the building. Scan to BIM also helps in creating a simulation analysis at an initial stage of feasibility assessment. Ensure that the company can also conduct Energy Analysis with 6D BIM facilitating optimizing energy consumption and sustainability. An ideal BIM Company should also be adept in implementing prefabrication and modularization techniques for construction clients and contractors to improve construction programs. It is also important that the BIM Company you are choosing should have the proficiency with BIM 360 document management software that integrates mobile technology with cloud collaboration for construction management on site.

• Trains & Evaluates BIM Staff

Your BIM professionals should be adept at creating a BIM strategy, combining existing workflow with BIM procedures. The BIM strategy must be designed focusing on the tangible as well as the intangible staff training requirements. The company must have the competency to identify useful mechanisms in an existing system and retain them in the new work process. BIM specialists should provide training and recommendations to you.

 • Supports Marketing of BIM services

 It’s also significant to check out whether the BIM Company helps the construction professionals to secure bids through marketing presentations of 3D rendered images, 4D phasing and walkthrough animations.  Appoint the service provider who can make innovative use of BIM for presenting a valid representation of the project, helping you to win competitive bids.

Check out the following parameters in a BIM Company to ensure consistency across project lifecycle and collaboration among project team members.

Architect in the US
Architectural Services, Blog

All You Need to Know About Hiring an Architect in the US

Do you want to appoint an architect in the US, but unaware of the right cost of hiring? How much does an architect cost?  In this article, you will get everything starting from the cost of architectural drawing plans, design fee schedules and their charges, hourly rate per square foot, percentage of construction cost, charges of architectural design for residential projects and commercial fees. You can also get information regarding the reasons for which you need an architect, the phases of work they undertake and their legal considerations.

Hiring an Architect in Washington DC, USA

Average Cost of Appointing an Architect

Now, what’s the average cost of an architect? According to the data of actual projects costs, reported by 1104 members of HomeAdvisor.com, the average cost of appointing an architect is approximately $5,296. The normal range is between the range of $2016 and $8576. Nevertheless, most of the architectural firms charge about 5% to 20% of the total project cost, which is more than the normal range. If you have a 2,700 sq. ft. home with an average building cost of around $300,000, your cost of hiring an architect will be within the range of $15,000 to $60,000. Some of the architects charge around $125 to $250 per hour and few others charge around $2 to $10 per square foot approximately.

Reasons of Varying Architectural Fees

  • Fees structure used by an architect based on hourly rate, square-foot & percentage 
  • Services offered such as draft & full plans, construction documents & project administration
  • Complexity and volume of projects
  • Place & cost of living including building costs and final fees
  • Choice of the professional – whether a veteran or an aspiring architect

Cost of Architectural Drawing Plans

If you want an architect for architectural drawing plans, expect to pay within the range of $2,500 to $8,000 approximately for the plans. Usually, this doesn’t contain additional services like extra revisions, project management or any sort of assistance for construction. The price provides a set of plans to begin with which you’ll take to a builder. However, you may need revisions with architectural design fees at various levels of your project lifecycle.

Architectural Design Fees at Various Project Levels

  • Basic Level cost includes 8% to 10 % for New Construction & 10% to 12% approximately for Remodeling
  • Basic + Cabinetry fees include up to 12% for New Construction & up to 14% approximately for Remodeling
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical charges include up to 13% for New Construction & up to 15% for Remodeling approximately
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical +Bidding costs include up to 14% for New Construction & up to 16% for Remodeling approximately
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical +Bidding + Construction Administration fees encompass up to 17% for New Construction up to 19% for Remodeling approximately
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical + Bidding + Construction Administration + Project Management charges include 19% for New Construction & up to 20% for Remodeling approximately

Charge of Architects

  • Usually, an architect charges a percentage of total project cost within the range of $10,000 to $60,000 approximately.
  • Occasionally, an architect works hourly, while drawing up initial plans or undertaking a limited service. 
  • Few professionals charge on the basis of per square foot.

Hourly Rate of an Architect

Usually, an architect charges $125 to $250 per hour approximately. It’s likely that you may get an intern at $70 to $90 per hour. However, you can’t appoint an intern independently of the firm. Hourly rates are usually apt for smaller projects, where you know the specific time of finishing the project. On the other hand, if you want services, like a simple drawing plan, you may get lower rates using an intern or draftsperson in an architectural firm.

Four Main Levels of Architects

  • Principal Supervisor of an architectural firm charges within $150-$250 approximately.
  • Project Manager – Manager with 10 years of expertise charges about $125 approximately.
  • Intern Architect II – Architect with 6 to 8 years of expertise charges around $90 approximately.
  • Intern Architect I – Architects with 3 to 5 years of experience charges about $70 approximately.

Architectural Cost per Square Foot

You can pay an architect within the range of $2 to $15 per square foot approximately, based on the following aspects such as:

  • Concept Development & Drafting:
    • $2-$5 per square foot comprising of consultation, site visit & initial drafting 
  • Construction Documentation:
    • $2-$5 per square foot including comprehensive layered drawings for construction elements of framing, electrical & plumbing
  • Project Management & Administration: 
    • $2-$5 per square foot

Nevertheless, most professionals don’t charge this way as the volume of work and time required vary from one project to another. Some architects often combine both hourly and per square foot rates. Although this provides the flexibility of using architects, it leads to messy work from their sides.

Percentage of Construction Cost of Architects

An architect usually charges around 8% to 15% for projects. For a typical home build project, where price ranges from $160,000 to $475,000 approximately, you can calculate the fees of architects by multiplying the percentage fee with the total build price.

  • 8% x $160,000 = $12,800
  • 15% x $475,000 = $71,250

Hence, the common range is within $12,800 to $71,250 with an average price of $34,500 approximately.

Architectural Charges for Residential Projects

Now, what about the architect fees for residential projects? Homeowners spend within the range of $2,000 and $8,500 approximately while hiring an architect, reflecting the initial plans, small projects and partial services. Most architects charge 8% to 15% for residential architecture service, depending on budget and project type.

An architect, who is an asset to the construction project, performs a wide array of functions, including:

  • Producing plans, blueprints & construction documentation
  • Working as an agent supporting planning, management & construction administration activities, facilitating bid evaluation and selecting a contractor
  • Comprehending engineering, structural & spatial relationships, applicable building codes, and zoning guidelines

Architect Charges for a Remodeling & Home Addition

The costs of home remodeling and additions include 12% to 20% of the total project. Sometimes additional building costs range from $20,000 to $70,000, where you’ll need to pay approximately $2,400 to $14,000.

Architects may charge more for various reasons including:

  • Dealing with the unknown in current building structure, creating prospects of multiple revisions.
  • Making changes as the project progresses
  • Updating home for bringing an exposed construction area up to current code

Commercial Architectural Fees

Let’s delve into the details of commercial architect cost. Normally, an architect charges within 2.5% to 12% or $8,000 to $3,000,000 approximately based on the project costs for commercial construction. If a construction involves greater complexity, the greater will be the percentage of the total cost you have to pay. Commercial architectural fees also depend on the project cost. If the total budget ascends, the fee structure usually descends. Hence, on a $100,000 project, you may have to pay around 8% to 12%. However, on a $50M project, you may have to pay merely 2.5% to 6.5%.

Why Need an Architect?

If your answer is yes to any one of the following questions, you may need to hire an architect:

  • Are you seeking blueprints for a commercial project or plans as a financing requirement?
  • Need a permit for your building project and need a plan required by issuing authority?
  • Need help in designing your room/house?
  • Do you want an architect’s seal on specific project areas?
  • Do you want a simple remodeling or home addition plan?
  • Want to combine form with functions for special structural considerations, like balconies, roof-decks or multiple fireplaces? 
  • Do you think your remodeling is complex enough for an engineer or draftsperson?
  • Are you planning to “raise the roof” and add a second story, wing to an existing home, or build a completely new house?

How to Hire the Right Architect?

You should spend adequate time before hiring an architect as you are going to work with the professional throughout the course of the project. A right architect will help you to transform your desires into reality, matching your budget.

Search for:

  • Capability to collaborate
  • Capacity to manage the size & scope of your project
  • Strong work experience portfolio

Questions you should ask an Architect

Be careful while making the decisions for hiring an architect. Remember that no two architecture firms are alike. Every firm will bring about its own expertise, values, and interests to a specific project. Find out the architectural company which is compatible with your project requirement.

Interview your architects in accordance to the standards set by the American Institute of Architects (AIA):

  • Ask about the approach to design philosophy like organic, modern, functional or industrial.
  • Check out project experience to ensure that the architect can manage the project you want 
  • Find out challenges areas where the architect is expecting difficulties & require design changes
  • Request the estimated time of construction for managing project with a clear architectural plan 
  • Know whether charges are on hourly, percentage or square foot basis for managing the budget
  • Inclusions in basic services & additional fees & how the package matches with project needs

Phases of Work

Comprehensive services of an architect include five to six phases of work:

  • Schematic Design: It’s a stage of preliminary design including site visit & analysis, client consultation and making of the primary draft.
  • Design Development: Once the client has accepted a plan and delineated in the first phase, the architect converts it into a comprehensive technical plan.
  • Construction Documentation: It’s the hard copy blueprint that you have to take to the contractors for bidding.
  • Bidding & Negotiation: The architect can help to get bids through working relationships with several contractors.
  • Construction Administration: Architects can also supervise the project through:
    • Creating additional drawings
    • Approving requests for progress payments 
    • Managing changes to architectural plans
    • Negotiating disagreements
    • Solving conflicts or lack in design detail

Notes:  The rate is subject to change as per market requirement.

Legal Things to Consider

Once the architect has drafted the plan and handed it over, you need to consider whether the architect will bear the accountability of the following things such as:

  • Ownership of Plans: As recommended by AIA, entitling the patent to plans as belonging to an architect, the client is granted one-time use of copyright plans.
  • Design Inaccuracies: Provided that a contractor is expected to check and approve all dimensions before commencing the work, errors can still be present, which you can work out in consultation with the architect and contractors.

To know more about how much does a residential architect cost  or architectural services, check out with Tejjy Inc. 

Get quotes from Tejjy Inc. – a construction management, permit expedition, architectural services, BIM and engineering service provider based in Washington DC, USA. 

Call 202-465-4830 or send mails to info@tejjy.com for discussing your architectural project requirements.