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Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of frequently asked questions that we come across.

PERMIT & HOME DESIGN

When do you need a permit?
    • Building Permits are required for building or renovating work, including:
      • All new construction, including accessory buildings (garage, carport, garden shed etc.) that are permitted outright (specifically allowed) by your zoning
      • All temporary buildings
      • Additions or alterations to existing buildings, including:
        • Moving interior walls and partitions, including any changes to Framing
        • Moving existing plumbing, electrical or gas lines
        • Installing new plumbing, electrical or gas lines in a multi-family building or complex
        • Deck Additions/Alterations
        • Secondary Suite Addition
        • Making structural repairs or changes that are permitted outright (specifically allowed) by your Zoning
      • Some “hard” landscaping features, such as fences or retaining walls
When don't you need a permit?

You do not need a permit to:

      • Replace fixtures, cabinets, and flooring
      • Paint the interior of your home
      • Carry out non-structural maintenance or minor repairs to the exterior of your home
How long does it take to complete a custom home design?

That depends on the size of the House, the Municipality that we are designing for, your response times and the schedules of the other Professionals required for the project. Generally, if you are answering our questions within a day or two and the various other Professionals involved are available then 2-4 months to complete a set of Building Plans.

    What are permitting times like at the City?

    That depends on the scope of work and the City you are doing the work in. We recommend contacting your local Building Department and then asking them what “submission dates” they are currently working on, this will quickly tell you what their backlog is like. You can also describe the project ​and ask them if they think it might take more or less time to review a project of your nature.

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    I need Interior Design, should I start that before I order Building Plans?

    Generally you should always start working with your Residential Designer to develop Building Plans for the project before you start your Interior Design. The reason for this is that every aspect of a project is based on the Building Plans and the Interior Design will need to change if a Wall, Door or Window has to be relocated for Structural, Fire Safety or other reasons.

    What Drawings are needed?

    Your local Building Permit Department should have a checklist of drawings that you will need for your project. Generally every project requires a Site Plan (not to be confused with a Land Survey), Floor Plans, Cross Sections, Construction Details and often Elevation Drawings. There may also be other related Plans like Impermeable Plans, Tree Protect Plans, Landscape Plans, Parking Plans, Sprinkler Plans and Lighting Plans to name a few.

    When would I need a Land Survey? | If I order one do I still need a Site Plan?

    Whenever anything is being added to a property like:

    • a new House
    • an Addition to a House
    • a Garage/Carport
    • a change to the Front Porch/Back/Side Deck

    or if accurate information is required about the Grade of the Land or the heights of any points on any structures, then a Topographical Land Survey is required*.

    A Site Plan is required for every Building Permit application and a Site Plan, although it uses data from a Land Survey, shows very different information than a Land Survey.

    *Note: It is the decision of the City’s Planning & Building Departments as to whether or not they will require a Land Survey and we recommend contacting your City to confirm whether they will require one. Also note that for major projects not having a Land Survey at the start of the project will impede any design work.

    AS-BUILT FLOOR PLANS & SCANNING
    What Plans can I order to be measured on site?

    Floor Plans, Elevations* and Site Plans*.

    *Note: Elevation and Site Plan data are approximate only and cannot replace a Topographical Land Survey from a qualified Surveyor. We strongly recommend acquiring a Topographical Land Survey from a qualified Surveyor whenever Elevation and Site Plan drawings are ordered as we cannot provide Grade Point or similar data, so Roof Peak, Eave Heights and similar data will need to be taken from a Topographical Land Survey.

    When would I need a Land Survey? | If I order one do I still need a Site Plan?

    Whenever anything is being added to a property like:

    • a new House
    • an Addition to a House
    • a Garage/Carport
    • a change to the Front Porch/Back/Side Deck

    or if accurate information is required about the Grade of the Land or the heights of any points on any structures, then a Topographical Land Survey is required*.

    A Site Plan is required for every Building Permit application and a Site Plan, although it uses data from a Land Survey, shows very different information than a Land Survey.

    *Note: It is the decision of the City’s Planning & Building Departments as to whether or not they will require a Land Survey and we recommend contacting your City to confirm whether they will require one. Also, note that for major projects not having a Land Survey at the start of the project will impede any design work.

    What is considered an “unsafe condition”?

    Any building that has no power nor lighting, no floor, loose/dangling wiring, nails/ screws/ sharp objects sticking out of the floor/ ground, no railings installed, toxic mold, animal/ insect infestations, exposed asbestos or any other situation where other trades would require protective suits or respirators to work.

    Do vacant and unoccupied buildings require power to be measured?

    Yes, it is unsafe for our staff to work in a building without any lights.

    Are there cancellation fees?

    Yes, we charge a cancellation fee for any cancellation within 24 hours of the appointment time. The Fee varies depending on the product ordered. Please see your order confirmation email for more information.

    REAL ESTATE FLOOR PLANS & MATTERPORT
    Can Real Estate Floor Plans & Matterport Scans be used for Design?
    The Real Estate Grade Floor Plans are not detailed enough for Construction or Permit application purposes and we do not recommend purchasing them for those purposes.

    The Matterport Scans can be used for verification purposes but once again are not accurate enough to design from, however they can be invaluable as a reference tool.

    What is considered an “unsafe condition”?
    Any building that has no power nor lighting, no floor, loose/dangling wiring, nails/ screws/ sharp objects sticking out of the floor/ ground, no railings installed, toxic mold, animal/ insect infestations, exposed asbestos or any other situation where other trades would require protective suits or respirators to work.
    Do vacant and unoccupied buildings require power to be measured?
    Yes, it is unsafe for our staff to work in a building without any lights.
    I added up the sq.ft. of each room: why is the sq.ft. listed on the Floor Plan larger than the number I calculated?
    Residential Real Estate sq.ft. is calculated from the exterior of exterior walls. This means that all the hallways, walls, closets and rooms are included in the sq.ft. Adding up the sq.ft. of each room will not account for all those areas.
    Are there cancellation fees?
    Yes, we charge a cancellation fee for any cancellation within 24 hours of the appointment time. The Fee varies depending on the product ordered. Please see your order confirmation email for more information.