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Why does this Tenant Improvement Cost So Much?

    I'm often asked questions like this in the early phases of a tenant improvement. The client has many questions during early phases of an office relocation, and they normally would prefer to pin down the cost question quickly, so they can make a decision whether to move forward.
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DesignLine Architects, LLC
470 E. Canyon Creek Court ,
Gilbert, AZ 85295
Phone: 4807103861

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Do I Really Need a Phoenix Building Permit for my Home Remodel or Addition?

By Doug Rusk, Architect



You may be considering a remodel or add-on to your current home, because you just need a few changes or some more space.  Home remodeling takes planning, time and money.  The process of getting a building permit only adds to the time and expense.  So you ask yourself – do I really need a permit for this?  I know it is temping to think this way, but here are a few things you may want to consider.

What is a Phoenix Building Permit?

A building permit signifies that your building meets local city, county and state building construction laws and is a safe structure. Building permits protect everyone against unsafe buildings.  SAFE is the word that should get your attention here.

Why is a Building Permit in Phoenix Important to Me?

To save time and money you may think you can skip this step.  Outlined below are a few reasons to illustrate why obtaining a building permit may actually SAVE you money:

Home-Remodel-Architect-Tempe– Non-permitted work might not be done correctly or to code.
Just because a homeowner hires a contractor doesn’t mean the contractor will do the job correctly.  There are several ways to do any project, but not all of them are smart choices.
– Homeowner’s insurance might not cover a defect for non-permitted remodeling.
If a remodel was done incorrectly, you may end up with faulty wiring which could cause a fire. The damage caused by that fire might not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, if the improvement was finished without a permit.
– City might require you to tear it out.
City code often requires that framing be inspected by the City prior to hanging drywall. Things may have to be torn out to be inspected after the fact.  More time and money will be wasted.
– City might assess penalties.
There may be fines and penalties for failure to obtain a permit.
– A home appraiser might not include an addition in the square footage.
Without a building permit the County will not be notified of the improvements and added floor area.  This may cause the home to appraise for less, and potentially affect a refinance loan for you or a loan for a potential buyer.

“Permit By Inspector” option

The City of Phoenix has “cut the red tape” for obtaining building permits.  If you’re planning a minor Commercial or Residential remodel, there is a special program in place at the City of Phoenix that will greatly REDUCE the Permit and Plan Review approval process.  Not all construction projects will qualify for what is called a “Permit By Inspector” option, so call 602-262-7811 to review your projects scope of work.

How Do I Know if I Need a Permit?

Each City or Town may have different building permit rules and guidelines you will need to follow.  Here are some general guidelines:

You May Need a Phoenix Building Permit, if you’re:

  • Home-Remodel-Architect-Chandler

  • Moving a sink- requires the proper extension of plumbing.

  • Demolishing a load-bearing wall- means redistributing weight from above.
  • Changing the home’s roof line framing.
  • Punching in a new window or door- requires a new header that carries weight from above.
  • Altering the footprint of your house.
  • Installing new electrical wiring.

You May NOT Need a Phoenix Building Permit, if you’re:

  • Putting in hardwood floor.
  • Installing carpeting.
  • Upgrading your counter tops.
  • Paint
  • Minor electrical work, such as replacing an existing electrical outlet.

For more details you can review these links for the Cities of: Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, GilbertChandler, Mesa, Scottsdale.

You may need to hire an architect who will not only draw up construction plans for your design that meet your jurisdiction’s building codes, but can also provide design ideas that you may not have even considered. An architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects.   He can submit the plans to the local municipality for you. Fees and timing of building permit approval vary depending on your project scope.

About the Author

Home Remodel Architect Phoenix

Architect-Doug Rusk-ScottsdaleDoug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

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Master Bathroom Home Remodel in Phoenix

Home-Remodel-Architect-PhoenixIf you’re planning a large home remodel, remember no matter the scale and size of your project, it’s always wise to break up your overall home remodel into small, individual tasks for each room.  Take your master bathroom for instance;  whether you’re looking to create an atmosphere of personal indulgence OR a practical, cost efficient update, here are a few things to help improve your results.

Start with a Quick Sketch of your Phoenix Home Remodel

Creating a dimensioned floor plan drawing of your home remodel is always a good idea, but also ask your Architect to draw a quick hand sketch to help you visualize how all the little details of your home renovation fit together.  A quick sketch will really give you a 3-dimensional view of your home remodel ideas.   It will also help your contractor put together an early cost estimate to confirm your budget goals.

Add Storage and Get Organized in your Home Remodel in Phoenix

Home-Remodel-Architect-Scottsdale– Get creative when organizing all your hygiene products.  The sketch  on the left illustrates a built-in niche in the top of the cabinet centered between two vanity sinks.  This is an alternative to a medicine cabinet and will allow easy access to your products and quick, easy clean up.
– Add bathroom cabinets, drawers, pull-out shelves or even carts to store necessary items.
– Consider installing towel racks that also function as grab bars . If it’s designed well, a fully accessible bathroom will end up looking like a gorgeous, light-filled home that will keep you safe for years.


Add Architectural Elements to your Home Remodel

You might stay a little warmer while showering if you consider lowering your 12′-0″ bathroom ceiling.  Some things to discuss with your architect include:



– Add some architectural elements like arches, soffits and columns similar to those shown in the sketch on the left.
– Large soaking tubs, once all the rage, have fallen out of popularity. Instead, people are choosing custom showers including overhead shower heads, hand-held shower heads, safety grab bars, body sprays and steam showers.
– If space is an issue in your master bath, consider a Phoenix home remodel that will expand it in any direction possible. Extra square footage will open up your cramped bathroom and increase the possibilities.
– Try increasing the natural light into your master bathroom with a sun-tube or skylight.

And remember, when you perform an upscale home remodel in Phoenix to your bathroom, you will recoup approximately 57.2% of the remodel cost when you resell, according to the 2010 – 2011 Cost vs. Value Report.

About the Author

Architect Phoenix DesignerDoug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona


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Home Additions Mean “Forward Planning” in Phoenix

by Doug Rusk, Architect

Home-Remodel-Designer-Mesa-house-plansCan a 3rd Car Garage Bay become a professional Home Office?  Can the Formal Dining room you live in today become tomorrow’s Game Room? It certainly can! And we can help you develop a “forward planning” approach for your next Home Addition that will evolve with your changing lifestyle and give you the added living space you need.  That’s value!

“Forward planning” Home Additions means working with your Architect to design a space that is functional and beautiful for you now, yet has the designed-in flexibility to allow new uses as your lifestyle moves forward.  DESIGNLine Architects, LLC has identified three “forward planning” tips we’d like to share with anyone who is considering a home addition or add-on:

Home Addition Idea #1: Home Office into En-Suite for your Guests:

Remodel-Home-Designer-ScottsdaleDoes your home office need more space?  If you design it with its own entrance today, then you’ll not only meet tax rules, you’ll also create a “forward planning” home addition that can later be used as a cozy Guest En-Suite. As part of your home office design, we’ll build in features that will make the room function well as your office today, so that later it will help elderly relatives enjoy a safe, yet independent stay. In addition, consider wood flooring rather than carpeting, lever-style handles rather than knobs, and a bathroom that can easily become accessible, even if mobility is not issue today.  Designer features such as built-in cabinets, a vaulted ceiling or a fireplace can give the office a professional feel today, while providing a touch of luxury for your future Guest En-Suite.

Home Addition Idea #2: Bedroom into Home Gym:

So you’re considering an extra bedroom and bathroom for the kids.  But what you really want, however, is a workout room and sauna.  By forward planning, your home addition an Architect can design the extra bedroom and bath for today’s needs and then, easily convert the space for your own personalized health club once the kids are off to school.

Home Addition Tip #3: Busy Family house into Empty Nest:

Home-Remodel-Designer-Tempe-House-PlansIf you have children, a spacious first-floor game room is a wise investment that provides the family many hours of fun. Thinking about today’s needs, this type of home addition should include ample storage for board games, open floor plan, and also walls and floors that are easy to clean and wear well.

Eventually the kids will have outgrown the game room.  That’s when all the work you spent “forward planning” a well-designed game room will easily be renovated into one of today’s most desirable home features: a first-floor Master Bedroom & Bathroom suite.  To make the conversion as easy as possible, make sure the size of the home addition will function well for today’s playroom AND the future master suite. Anticipate how storage space could work for toys now and a wardrobe later. Today’s remodeling might also include a half-bath, but with plenty of room in the floor plan to add a luxurious full bath down the road. When it comes to thinking ahead about your home addition, communication with your Architect is the key.

Home Renovations from Your Phoenix Architect

Chandler-Designer-Doug RuskNo matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s addition.  If you’d like to discuss how a “forward planning” approach can increase your living space and save you money, please give us a call.  To set up an appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at  We will ensure your Home Addition will look more attractive and welcoming, while also increasing efficiency and comfort for your family.

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Home Remodel Architect Mesa

By Doug Rusk, Architect

Think Strategic When Preparing a Home Remodel in Mesa

Home-Remodel-Architect-GilbertIncreasing the scale of your home is not always necessary when considering a Residential Remodel Mesa; Strategic remodeling is doing what your home needs to stay current – nothing more. 

Why is Obtaining a Building Permit So Important?

• City Requirement. If you are planning to update any part of your residence, like relocating plumbing, adding electrical, cutting into a bearing wall or adding more floor area, then your City’s building department will need construction drawings to be submitted for building permit approval.
• Real Estate Disclosure. Earning a building permit for your Home Reconditioning will assist you in the long run, because it will allow you to honestly disclose your renovation, if you were to sell your home down the line.

 Ask Questions Before Planning a Home Renovation in Mesa

“We consult with many homeowners each year to help them redesign their residence more to way they live now”, says Doug Rusk, owner of DESIGNLine ARCHITECTS. Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself prior to getting started:
• Do you have an estimated spending limit in mind? If you find yourself intending to stay in your house for a while, then consider separating the proposed design into separate phases. This tactic will spread out Residential Remodel expense over a few years.
• What is the typical resale price of houses in your community? After a little investigation, you can estimate the average sale price for homes in your community and then estimate what the “highest” is for your investment.
• Are you planning for a significant enhancement to your residence? If you’re planning to remain in the house for several more years, it’s probably worth spending a little more to deliver what you wish for.
• Or are you planning to sell soon? If you’re intending to move within the next few months or years, then a fancy Residential Redesign is probably not a good course of action, because you will stand less a chance of recouping your investment. You’re be more satisfied placing your attention on smaller things that get your house ready to sell, like a fresh coat of paint, trimming your shrubs or simply removing just a little clutter in your home office space.
• What kinds of home finishes and features are usually offered in your neighborhood? If your home has one bathroom, and all the other neighbors have two, then adding a second bath might be a good solution.

Having a CLEAR PLAN FIRST is Always a Great Idea

Most individuals underestimate the number of decisions they need to make their Home Remodel successful.   Proper planning helps keep you from exceeding your budget later on.
Home-Remodel-Architect-Gilbert• Start an image folder by clipping photos of spaces and finishes you enjoy.
• Develop a list of the spaces and functions you want to include.
• Determine your goals for project timetable and budget.
• Whether meeting with your architect or contractor for ideas and advice, there are a number of decisions you’ll need to deal with. At DESIGNLine ARCHITECTS we offer an alternative Design/Build strategy  that will pin down the cost question quickly, so you can decide to move ahead.

Searching for a Residential Restoration Professional – Get in touch with Your Architect

Gilbert Designer Doug RuskTo arrange a consultation get in touch with Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at We will ensure your Home Remodel look more beautiful and welcoming, while also increasing efficiency and comfort for your family.

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