Frequently asked questions:

Building a custom home is a very exciting and rewarding process. However, sometimes it can be a challenge to understand all the steps involved. Below is a list of frequently asked questions we often hear from our clients. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further enquiries, as we’d be more than happy to discuss your specific project in detail.

We are happy to work with your builder if you’ve already engaged one, but typically, we recommend you start with the Design Professional first. That’s because in our experience, the most successful projects are driven by the design process and it’s therefore important that you engage us early on. We will work with you from the beginning to plan the house you want from both a functional and aesthetic perspective. From finding a suitable property to helping you estimate building costs, we can provide all the key information you need to make decisions and move forward. In addition to this, most builders require a complete set of drawings before they can give you an accurate price or project time-frame.

One of the first steps in our process is to verify the zoning for a property as well as confirm key elements such as buildable area and set-backs. With this, in conjunction with a site visit to assess the impact of trees and other physical features, we can determine what the options are for the site. We will also make recommendations on how to optimize certain features of the property and any future buildings.

We would meet to confirm your requirements and understand your vision for the new home. You would formally engage us by signing an agreement and provide a retainer. Then our design process would start and we’ll take care of the rest.

Our typical timeframe to complete a full design is about 6-8 weeks, including client revisions. This varies slightly depending on the scope of work and also our current workload. To prepare the permit drawing package, including consultant materials, takes about 6-8 weeks. Lastly, once we apply for all the permits, the municipality requires about 8-12 weeks to complete the review process and issue the permits. You can expect the overall process from start of design to permit issuance to take about 6 – 8 months on average. If a Minor Variance is required, add 6 weeks.

For a standard application we typically arrange for the following approvals: Demolition permit, Site alteration permit, Road cut permit, Driveway permit, Tree permit, Water/sewer permit and building permit.

Our drawings contain all the details and specifications related to the exterior materials used on the house. We also include separate detail drawings for column and box bay windows.

Yes, many of our homes require Minor Variance approvals and we are very familiar with this process. We’re also happy to take care of Conservation Halton approvals, Severances and Site Plan applications if required.

Our drawings are complete with full interior layouts including such things as kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, door sizes and built-in cabinets. We also show key furniture pieces that have to be considered in certain spaces. We don’t get involved in selecting interior colours and finishes such as flooring, counter tops etc.: for help with selecting these items we can refer you to one of our interior design colleagues.

Normally our clients approve the design drawings after 3 or 4 revision cycles, but we will work with you for as long as needed to arrive at a design you love.

Our fee is based on a range of approximately $8 - $10 per square foot and is dependent on the unique scope of each project. Please note that our minimum fee is $29k regardless of the size of the home.
What’s included? Our full-service includes: full conceptual design, preparation of working drawings, engaging and managing all consultants, such as hvac designers and structural engineers, applying for and managing the various permit applications, and providing on-site consultations during construction.
Please note that consultant fees and permit fees are not included and are paid separately by the client.

For a standard application in the Town of Oakville, you can expect to pay about $15,000 for various permit fees plus about $10,000 additionally for various security deposits. These figures depend on several factors such as size of the home and number of trees located on the property.

We normally handle the entire permit application process from beginning to end on behalf our clients.

After doing a final review of the approved drawings, we typically meet with the owner or their builder to hand over the permits. After that we make ourselves available to answer questions or clarify design elements. Our local presence also gives us the unique ability to respond quickly if a site meeting is needed.

Even though the builder is responsible to build the house in accordance with the drawings, we typically drive by the site on a weekly basis during construction and will alert you if we seen anything out of place. The building department will also conduct formal inspections at prescribed intervals according to the permit and building code. Construction is not allowed to progress until the required inspection for each stage has been passed.