Ecosa Design Studio provides full architectural design services exclusively for projects seeking to be as environmentally-responsible as possible. Particularly, we are specialists in straw-bale, earth, ICF's, SIP's, and insulated CMU, and have long experience in passive and active design for energy-, water- and materials efficiency. This work is for both new and remodel projects for both large and small-scale residential, commercial and institutional clients.
All projects include full developed designs and documentation and included full engineering and technical support. We believe that if we are architecturally designing efficient buildings, they need to be supported by equally efficient and professional engineering analyses. This engineering is integrated throughout the design process, not just included at the end, to maximize the potential efficiencies. All of this design effort is documented for construction in very complete and thorough drawings, usually numbering 20-30 sheets for a typical residence. These drawings typically include Project Information sheet, Site Plan, Foundation Plan, Floor Plan, Framing Plan, Reflected Ceiling Plan, Roof Plan, Complete Sections, Building Elevations, Interior Elevations (typically of areas with cabinets or detailed finishes), Complete Door/Window Schedules.
Environmental Design & Construction Consulting
Ecosa Design Studio also provides architectural and construction consulting on environmental design and construction. This includes conceptual and systemic design support throughout a project, systems and construction methodology support during Schematic Design and Design Development phases. When more detail is required, we can also provide support for assessment and selection of Products and Materials through both the early phases of a project as well as during the Construction Documents, including specifications and engineering. Finally, we can provide Construction Technology support and observation during all phases of Construction Administration.
General Process & Phases
We usually proceed with architectural design projects in two phases. First is the Schematic Design phase, which includes Site Visits, Site Analysis, Programming (determining the scope and functional elements of the design) along with the actual Preliminary Design and Presentations. The second phase is the Construction Documents phase, which includes Design Development (DD) and Construction Administration (CA), as well as Submittal to the appropriate agencies and jurisdictions and following through to award of the Building Permit, and also includes CA (observance of the construction for compliance with the design intent).
Typically the first phase, Schematic Design (SD), is done as an "hourly-not-to-exceed" agreement, where maximum hours or fee are stated, and hourly rates outlined. Work is done and billed at the hourly rates up to the maximum stated. If the work goes quickly, the fee in this phase is less, and if it takes longer, the work is duly compensated. In this phase, a 25% retainer on the maximum fee is usually requested, to be applied to the final billing in that phase.
For the second phase, Construction Documents (CD's), a "stipulated sum" agreement is typically used, where a set fee is stated in the agreement and work is billed as a percentage of the work completed on a monthly or milestone basis. This stipulated sum includes full standard engineering services, but does not include surveying, testing or permit fees. Final payment for the CD work (excluding a small portion for CA) is due at time of submission of the completed, stamped drawings for Building Permit review. For this phase, a 10% retainer on the maximum fee is usually requested, of which 2/3 is applied to the final billing before submission of the drawings for building permit, and 1/3 to the fees due during Construction Administration.
Fees are set as a compilation of hours necessary within the office to accomplish the project, plus direct engineering and consultant fees and estimates of travel expenses. Though our fees are never set simply on a percentage basis, we find that the fees for typical residential design projects fall between 5%-10% of fully contracted construction costs ($300K project would be $15K-$30K). The design fees vary due to difficulty of site (hillside, poor soils, etc.) complexity of program or design, or amount of specialty systems (solar systems, zoned mechanical, lighting design, home automation), and finally scale of project ("economy of scale" means that smaller projects, say $150K, will be a bit higher in percentage than larger projects, say $400K). Finally, as most projects are done in the two phases described above, we find the first phase fees to be the first $5K-$8K of the above fee range, with the balance of the fee range coming in the second phase.
Commercial & Institutional Fees
Fees are set for this work as a compilation of hours necessary within the office to accomplish the project, plus direct engineering and consultant fees and estimates of travel expenses. Fees vary widely based on scale and scope of project, program, specialty consulting and site and design complexity, as well as governmental and organizational submittal requirements. Please call or email Ecosa Design Studio for more clarification and specificity.
Consulting is done either by Founding Principal Antony Brown, or Managing Principal Tom Hahn, both of whom have extensive knowledge and expertise in all facets of passive and active environmentally-responsible design concepts and specifics. Fees for consulting are $150/hour in addition to any travel expenses (see below).
Lectures or presentations for the general public are our commitment to share the lessons and knowledge we have gained in this work with others. Presentations on our current research work or cutting-edge projects, or interviews/presentations with the media (newspaper, magazine, television or radio) are done at no cost except travel/lodging expenses. For presentations on past research work or project retrospectives, we are glad to do public presentations for groups under 75 at no cost except reimbursement for actual travel/lodging expenses. For groups over 75, the honorarium is negotiable with respect to topic, audience, and venue, in addition to travel and lodging costs plus a 10% administrative fee.
By auto, travel expenses are charged for travel beyond 20 miles from central Prescott (to encourage building within the urban fabric). Auto travel costs are $45/hour plus $0.45/mile (less one hour, and 40 mi. roundtrip from central Prescott). Cost for other modes of travel (air, rail, ship, camel, etc.) is direct cost plus 10% administrative fee, plus $45/hour for actual travel time.