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We’re created a number of free tools to help answer the common questions typically associated with architectural work.  For the sake of efficiency we generated these to focus on the San Diego/ Southern California region, but the concepts can generally apply to multiple geographic locations. You can easily navigate to other tool sections by selecting the "Free Tools" tab at the top of this page. 

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions not covered by the content on this page. 


Sometimes the question is raised when professional Architecture services are required. We have generated a quick summary sheet outlining projects that require assistance from Licensed professionals according to the California Business & Professional Code.   

Plannin & Entilements


Typically the reasoning behind why people hire architects is to help them go beyond what they can imagine.. How we help our customers before they are our clients is by conducting what we call a "Pre-Design Questionnaire". We believe this is the essential first step because most clients (who are unfamiliar with the design & construction process) become overwhelmed with uncertainty, and the plethora of technical questions in the early stages of the project. The goal for the Pre-Design Questionnaire is to give potential customers key items we as design professionals look for before grabbing the sketch pad & sharpening the pencils (or in our case powering up the computer) 


We would like to outline how we help people who are in the early stages of investigating their new/ existing building options.

We ask a few general questions to understand what they want and where they are in the building/ design process. If we believe we can help; and If we are both ready to move forward we arrange to meet to discuss further. 



First Steps


We believe this will be helpful because most people (who are unfamiliar with the design & construction process) become overwhelmed with uncertainty & rightfully have many questions regarding the process they are about to begin. The goal for explaining the planning process is to give a better context of the owner-architect collaboration workflow.   

Design process
Plannin & Entilements


Over our years of experience in the Architecture, Construction Management & Forensic Consulting industries, the common misconception from many clients is a realistic understanding project hard cost. To better explain hard costs we figure it would be best to generate a build cost document. This will be helpful for anyone looking to get ball park hard construction costs. We do not cover soft costs or architectural fees in this document, if you would like to discuss our fees we encourage you fill out the pre-design questionnaire first, then feel free to give us a call. Our office line is (858) 381-0141, please leave a message if prompted and we will get back to you as soon as possible! We also receive SMS text messages to our office line if that is your preference. 

Cost to build
Plannin & Entilements


Green design is all the rage now days - but what does that entail?

While many "green" opportunities can be designed into a new project, the rubber really meets the road when that idea can truly last long term, can be generally operated by occupants and maintained by typical building maintenance staff. We have had the growing pains of trial and error, along with long technical discussions with specialist engineers and efficiency modeling experts that way you don't have to!  


Here are some key take-away's:

  • Passive options (building orientation, window placement & overhangs, sun and wind path considerations, thermal massing etc.) should be the first considerations as they can work with minimal energy and effort from the occupants.  

  • Simplified electrical, mechanical & architectural envelope systems = less moving parts = less energy consumed = green

  • True consideration of sun path, wind path & building site placement can have significant impacts on energy efficiency & occupants. 

  • Early design energy modeling can save money by conducting analysis of project specific assemblies & systems. 

  • Adopting modern day-lighting strategies & thermal massing techniques can reduce energy costs.  

  • On site storm water treatment is becoming prevalent, consider water catchment & storage for applicable building & landscape uses.

  • The re-use of existing building elements  = lowering of project's cumulative embodied energy = green

  • The use of locally environmentally sourced and/or recycled materials = green 

  • Implementation of a construction waste management plan which reduces landfill waste and prioritizes recycling of scrap materials.

  • Regardless of what green certification you would like to pursue, it should be understood that many energy & resource conservation requirements are becoming adapted into the building code requirements for every project. Owners can elect to provide only the mandatory, or provide as many additional provisions as they please. While we may encourage mandatory and supplemental green implementation, often the project budget does not support them all; when this is the case we can provide the necessary infrastructure required to make these upgrades easier once financially viable. 

California has ambitious goals for the development of zero net energy buildings. Some of these goals include the following:

  • All new residential construction will be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020.

  • All new commercial construction will be ZNE by 2030

  • 50% of commercial buildings will be retrofit to ZNE by 2030

  • 50% of new major renovations of state buildings will be ZNE by 2025, and 100% by 2025


Green Design
Plannin & Entilements


Here is a small list of website links we frequent, We hope you find the following useful!


American Institute of Architects Palomar Chapter is fueled by the synergetic relationships between design professionals, building industry representatives, students, and the general public who attend our myriad of events in Northern San Diego County from  the regions between Del Mar and Ramona; and from the San Diego city limits to the border of Orange County. 


American Institute of Architects San Diego Chapter Founded in 1928, AIA SD has a long record of achievement supporting the interests of our members and our community through its vigorous advocacy for design, planning, sustainability, architecture education, professional development and civic leadership.


  1. A guide to working with your architect

  2. More information about Net Zero Energy

  3. Integrated project delivery (IPD)

  4. Design Is Good Business Articles By AIACC

Organizations & Links
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