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    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
http://designlinearchitects.com

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Accelerated Tempe Building Permits

By Doug Rusk, Architect

The City of Tempe offers an accelerated process to obtain building permits for minor remodels.

Tempe Buliding PlansObtaining approved building permit  in Tempe has been put on a “fast track” for those who are planning for minor commercial tenant improvement for your business OR for a minor home renovation.  These special programs will significantly shorten the plan review and building permit approval process.

City of Tempe Building Permits

Over The Counter Plan Review

If you meet the following criteria and have a form of payment with you, you may be eligible for an Over the Counter Permit.  The Building Permit may be processed while you wait, depending on the complexity of the project.   Plan check and building permit fees vary depending upon the type of work being done and the valuation.

  1. Minor residential additions not exceeding $10,000.00 valuation, patio covers, interior remodels, detached accessory structures, carport to garage conversions, covered patio to livable, and mobile home permits.
  2. Residential Fire Damage Repairs under 50% damage if the Fire Damage Report is available.
  3. Counter plan review may be provided for commercial Tenant Improvements (TIs) given the following situations:
  • Under 3,000 sq. ft. for Business Offices (no medical offices)
  • Under 1,500 sq. ft. for Mercantile space
  • Under 15,000 sq. ft. for storage of Low Hazard Storage less than 12’ in height.
  • Fire Damage “ Restore to Original” with no structural requirements
  • Depending upon the complexity of the work to be constructed, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) plans for any tenant space under a, b, or c above.
  • All other Occupancies—Multi-Family Residential, Medical Office, Assembly, Educational, Factory or Manufacturing, Hazardous, and Institutional Occupancies will require submittal.

3.    A counter plan review will NOT be provided when any of the following conditions exist:

  • A Notice to Comply has been issued for Construction Without Permits
  • A Change of Occupancy or revision of required exiting will occur upon completion of construction
  • A Use Permit, Parking Variance, etc. is required from Planning
  • Changes to the exterior of the building which will require Planning approval, including roof top changes that add equipment extending above the parapet, exterior lighting changes, window and door changes, paint scheme changes, etc.
  • Residential expansion larger than 25% on retention lots requiring engineering approval.
  • Mechanical, electrical, plumbing which is part of a pending building project or a building project not suitable for over the counter permits.
  • Projects where structural calculations are required.

Please Note:  The counter plan review is usually available on TUESDAY and THURSDAY (only) from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM.   To learn more, call (480) 350-8341 to verify availability of services.

City Of Tempe Building Permits

Tempe house plans

Building Safety Department
21 E. Sixth St., Suite 208
31 E. Fifth St., East Garden Level
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Phone: 480.350.8341
Fax: 480.350.8677

How Do I Know if I Need a Permit in Tempe?

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

  • 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 Tempe Building Permit, if you’re:

  • Putting in hardwood floor.
  • Installing carpeting.
  • Upgrading your counter tops.
  • Paint

For more Building Permit specific details related to cities that you live or work, click on one of the following links: Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale.

About the Author

A Tempe architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. No 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 home addition.  To discuss your Tempe building permit needs, contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.

Architect in Tempe

Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
www.designlinearchitects.com

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Case Study – Prescription for a Master Bath Remodel : master bathroom remodel.

Written By Doug Rusk, Architect

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

When Dawn, a San Francisco Pharmacist, decided to move closer to her grandkids in Chandler, she found an amazing home that was more than what the doctor ordered.   But despite this home’s idyllic location in an exclusive gated Arizona community, Dawn knew that her first move was to renovate her dark, out dated Master Bathroom.

Using a trusted referral for a reputable, licensed contractor, Dawn called Ken from Behrmann Home Basics (BHB) to start work immediately.  Ken knew that a quick hand sketch would help Dawn visualize a few alternate ideas for her Master Bath Remodel.  So he brought in Gilbert Architect Doug Rusk from DESIGNLine Architects to help Dawn make sense of the many design choices available.

With her casual / contemporary styling preference and a flexible budget in mind, Dawn’s main requirement was to remove the Master Bath Tub in order to make room for a large walk-in shower.  Below are pictures of the original Master Bathroom, showing the dated tub/shower combination and two small windows over the vanity.

Master Bath Remodel Architect

Although Doug’s first sketches of Option’s 1 & 2 worked reasonably well (shown above), it was Option #3 (shown below) that Dawn immediately knew was the Master Bathroom renovation she wanted.

Master Bath Remodel Architect

Master Bathroom Remodel – Scope of Work

In addition to removing the Master Bath Tub in order to make room for a large walk-in shower, Dawn wanted the mirrors on the closet doors replaced with a wood paneled door in her Master Bathroom Remodel.  She also wanted an electric hair dryer available to grab at a moment’s notice from one of the drawers under the sink that was already plugged in (SHOWN ABOVE).  For the borders over the shower and the vanity splash, we used colorful glass tile.

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Below are pictures taken during the construction phase, showing the framing, plumbing and electrical work inside the walls.  During the short construction phase, the BHB construction team did an amazing job of installing plastic walls with zippers to seal off the construction zone from the main home.

Master Bath Remodel Architect

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

About the Author

Doug Rusk is the principal at DESIGNLine Architects, LLC located in Gilbert, Arizona.  We specialize in residential design and commercial remodeling for small and medium sized businesses with expertise in space planning and interior design consulting.  We’ll provide your General Contractor a thorough preliminary design packages that will enable an early construction cost estimate to confirm your budget quickly.

Phoenix Architecture firm
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
480-710-3861
www.designlinearchitects.com

 

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Mesa Building Permit “Shortcuts”

By Doug Rusk, Architect

The City of Mesa offers an accelerated process to obtain building permits for minor remodels.

If you haven’t already heard…  the City of Mesa offers a “shortcut” to obtain building permits for minor commercial remodel.   This special program, called “Permit By Inspection” (PBI), will significantly shorten the Plan Review and Permit Approval process – if your project qualifies.

Mesa Tenant ImprovementCity of Mesa

Minor Commercial Tenant Improvement

Permit By Inspection (PBI)

The permit by inspection program (PBI) is a voluntary alternative to the standard construction document plan review and building permit approval processes for special projects of certain building uses, occupancies and degree of complexity.   The PBI program is intended to provide a stream-lined approach to building permit plan review review and issuance in which senior building inspectors review construction documents in the field and approve the issuance of the building permit.  There is a 20% premium for the PBI process on top of the regular building permit fee and other fees.

Benefits of the “Permit By Inspection” (PBI) Process:

  • – Typically the Permit By Inspection (PBI) is processed in a 5 day turnaround time  (instead of 18 days).
  • – Cuts down on paperwork.
  • – Much of process is done by email.
  • – One contact person who is familiar with the project and special conditions.
  • – Construction work can proceeds as the plan review is taking place.
  • – Quick response time to changing field conditions.

There are currently no written criteria to determine if your project will qualify for the building permit by PBI process.  To learn more, call Clyde at (480) 644-4273.

If your project does NOT qualify for the PBI process, the regular Plan Review Turn-Around Times at this writing are:

Commercial

  • – 5 business day PBI review.
  • – 18 business days review.
  • – 10 day expedite review (100% of building permit fee).
  • – Super expedite review with negotiated turn-around time (200% of building permit fee).

Residential

  • – 10 business day review (5 days for master plot plans).
  • – 5 day expedite review (100% of building permit fee).

Signs

Over-The-Counter Plan Review

The City of Mesa also offers same day over-the-counter plan reviews for the following projects types:

  • – Emergency repairs (water, sewer, gas, electric).
  • – “Like for Like” repair/replacement (gas, water, electric).
  • – Banner Permits.

City of Mesa

Construction Plan Review and Building Permits
55 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ  85201
PHONE (480) 644-4273
OFFICE HOURS:  7:00am to 6:00pm, M-TH
CLOSED FRIDAYS AND HOLIDAYS

For more Building Permit specific details related to cities that you live or work, click on one of the following links: Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale.

About the Author

A Mesa architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. No 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 home addition.  To discuss your Mesa building permit needs, contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.

Architect in Mesa

Mesa Architecture Firm
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
www.designlinearchitects.com

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CASE STUDY: Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Written by Doug Rusk, Architect

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Nestled among a large group of Sun Lakes retirement homes, where golf carts dot a sleepy street in South Chandler Arizona, stands a home that’s in desperate need of a Master Bathroom Remodel. bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel

Recent New York transplants, Ana and Ayad, did what most people do when they move into a home that shows signs of mold in their shower; they called a reputable, licensed contractor, who in this case was Ken from Behrmann Home Basics (BHB).  Because this wasn’t the first or the last project that Ana and Ayad would need, Ken knew the first step would be to have a quick hand sketch designed by Doug Rusk, from DESIGNLine Architects, that would help his clients visualize a few alternate ideas for their Master Bath Remodel.  Ana had a very specific idea in her mind for the Bathroom remodel. bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel

Mesa Bathroom Ideas

She wanted to remove the makeup counter, drawers and knee space between the two sinks (shown above).  “This would leave 3-1/2 feet of space between the sink vanities for a nice sized floor plant”, she said.  But because she also wanted the medicine cabinet storage removed also, Doug, her Architect, had another idea for her Master Bath Remodel.

bathroom remodelMaster Bathroom Ideas

He wanted to replace the lost medicine cabinet with storage for a toothbrush, soap and accessories.  So Doug also proposed Option A (shown above) which would instead add a tall cabinet between the two vanity sinks, high enough for the vanity counter to extend behind the false cabinet front, creating a storage niche.  Ana ended up sticking with her original Master Bath remodel vision and kept the space for a healthy green plant. bathroom remodel

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Here is the shower converted from a light pink, vintage 1992 ceramic, to a more updated ceramic tile finish, with a textured glass, frame-less enclosure.  Below are a few pictures that show the Master Bathroom remodel.athroom remodel

Chandler <em>master <em>bathroom remodel</em></em>

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Many of the Sun Lakes home, built in the early 1990’s, are well designed and have great bones. Now that these homes are getting a little older, certain areas need updating.  With some strategic planning, the lives of these homes can be extended for another 20 years +.  Intelligently remodeling an existing house to make it last for another generation is also one of the most sustainable things a homeowner can do.

Below we’ve outlined a couple of our primary strategies you should consider for your next home remodel:

1. Limit the scope

While it would typically be ideal to update the entire home, most homeowners have a budget that requires a limited scope; being aware of where dollars are spent allows a homeowner to get the most renovation for their buck. Usually there are certain areas of older homes that need the most attention and we’ve found that the kitchen and bathrooms remodeling are typically most in need of modernizing. bathroom remodel

2. Be Selective

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to stop with a  home renovation. While you’re updating the kitchen, it’s tempting to also update a few things in the living room, and then why not replace too old, hall bath shower enclosure and, then you realize, that awful garage floor needs that speckled paint you always wanted. Before you know it, budget creep occurs. We find it useful stay true to your budget and to specifically define where the remodel is ending.

About the Author

Doug Rusk is the principal at DESIGNLine Architects, LLC located in Gilbert, Arizona.  We specialize in residential and commercial remodeling for small and medium sized businesses with expertise in space planning and interior design consulting.  We’ll provide your General Contractor a thorough preliminary design packages that will enable an early construction cost estimate to confirm your Master Bath remodel budget quickly. bathroom remodel, bathroom remodelbathroom remodel

Phoenix Architect
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
480-710-3861
www.designlinearchitects.com

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Phoenix Home Remodeling

Plan a Budget, Before Signing Construction Contract

The key to successful home remodeling is taking the time up front for proper planning.  It’s in the best interest of ALL homeowner’s to consider the four steps below, BEFORE signing a construction contract.  Early planning is important for an enjoyable remodeling experience, because it will flush out problems early and set expectations that will prepare you for the road ahead.

Home-Remodel-MasterP lan

1.  Master Plan –  

ALL Your Home Remodeling Ideas Together in One Plan

You might be a homeowner whose family needs are changing, or maybe you’ve lived in your home for a while and just need a change.

  • – Make a Wish List – First, make a detailed list that includes everything you’d wish for in your home remodeling project(s).
  • – Get Architect’s help – Then, call an Architect to design one plan (called a Master Plan) that ties together ALL your ideas on your wish list.
  • – Divide into Smaller Projects – Finally, work with your Architect to prioritize and break up all your remodeling ideas into manageable projects.

 

You can complete each piece of your master plan as you can afford them, knowing that each piece has been designed to fit together.

2.  Determine your “Bottom Line” Remodeling Budget –

After writing a scope of work, create a budget for your home remodeling project.

  • – Bottom Line – Ask yourself, what is the maximum dollar amount you will allow yourself to spend?   It’s in your best interest to determine your “bottom line” budget amount, and then stick to it.
  • – Contingency – Once you have that budget number firmly in mind, it’s wise to set aside what’s called a “contingency”.  Some people feel comfortable with 10%, others 25% or more. Because extra spending will probably occur, the contingency keeps your budget under control so that you finish your original renovation plan.
  • – No Surprises – Creating the budget first, helps homeowners be realistic about selecting the final architectural designs and finish materials they can afford.

Home-Remodel-Architect-Tempe-house-plans

3.  Write a Scope of Work

With your Master Plan design complete, work with your Architect to develop a written Scope of Work.

  • – List the Steps – An itemized task list of construction (i.e. demolition, concrete, framing, electrical, mechanical).  By stating clearly in writing the details of the project, the general contractor will have a very specific picture of your project and provide a more accurate construction estimate.  Also detail what’s NOT included in project.
  • – Details are Important – It clears out any grey areas, all uncertainties and ambiguities.  For instance, a general contractor might not know you want the wall paper and flooring removed and disposed of in a remodel job if you don’t say so.
  • – Remodeling Cost Schedule – Be sure to create a project cost control schedule where you review the costs on a regular basis.

Sketch-Kitchen-Remodel

4.  Detailed Written Contract

A contract is needed to set the rules and the terms of your home remodel.  It’s very important to write down ALL your project goals up front and include them in the written contract with your architect and contractor.

  • – Spell out the Details – There needs to be a clear agreement reflected in the contract about the extent of the work, the quality of workmanship expected, the quality of the materials used, and other specific details of the remodeling design.
  • – Never assume.  When it doubt, write it all down.
  • – Important Note – if you do sign a contract and then have second thoughts, the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling off rule” may apply.  It allows you a 72-hour period in which to cancel the agreement.

It’s easy to jump ahead without thoroughly planning out your home renovation.  Improper planning will result in impulsive decisions and choices that might cost extra either in labor or materials.  If you take the extra time required to follow these four steps in the beginning, you will take control of your home renovation, and really enjoy the results.

About the Author

Phoenix Architecture Firms

An architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. And no 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.  To set up a home remodeling appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.

Phoenix-Gilbert-Doug Rusk
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
www.designlinearchitects.com

 

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“Architectural Design Strategies” for your Phoenix Floor Plan

Can your front yard be transformed into Private Outdoor Living?  Can the garage or bedroom you’re using today be tomorrow’s organized Home Office?  Is an In-Law Suite needed because of your changing life style?  We can help you use some simple “architectural design strategies” for your next home renovation that will evolve as your lifestyle changes.

Home Sketch 1“Architectural  design strategies” will be used by your Architect to transform your home into a functional and beautiful space for you now, yet has the designed-in flexibility to allow new uses as your lifestyle moves forward.  The next generation home remodels made by homeowners today are typically smarter, more efficient and more focused on good living, rather than designed merely to impress, according to a recent AIA article.  The goal is to work with your floor plan and make better use your existing space.  The promise is you can live more fully in your existing house, if you plan ahead and use the architectural services of a good Architect.

DESIGNLine Architects, LLC has identified three Architectural design strategies we’d like to share with anyone who is considering a modification to their floor plan.

Ideas for Outdoor Living Floor Plans in Phoenix

Home Sketch 2Curb Appeal.  The first thing homebuyers, family and friends will look at when they visit your home is your front yard, the color of your home, the landscaping, and the walkways.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.

Relationship of Inside to Outside.  Consider aligning the elements of the Outdoor and Indoor Kitchen.  This will simplify the plumbing and electrical connections.

Consider the View.  What is your view from each outdoor space? You most likely cannot alter the view, but you can maximize a good one, or minimize a bad one.  Also consider views of key plants from inside.

Functionality and Beauty.  Herb planters are an easy way to add beauty and functionality to the space. Well positioned low voltage yard lights, colorful outdoor candles, and lanterns add a sense of festivity, and light up the more remote corners of the yard.

Music sets the Mood.  A set of outdoor speakers can be used alone or as part of a larger entertainment system.  A small fountain in the background lends some soft water sounds to the rest of the yard.

Ideas for Home Office Floor Plans in Phoenix

Consider Location Carefully. Size and location are two main factors to address when adding a Home Office.  Consider how many people will use your office space.  Will you have client meetings?

Small Space Design. The corner of a room is probably the most effective way to re-design your floor plan to have an office with minimal cost or disruption.

Private Location. Consider a quiet, out of the way location for your Home Office like the attic, basement or enclosed porch.

Ideas for In-Law Suite Floor Plans in Phoenix

As people live longer and healthier lives, more families are finding it beneficial to provide a special space for aging parents by combining households.

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Schottsdale

Shower Sketch 1

Before Starting Remodel.  Open and honest discussion with your parent and other family members is an essential first step before remodeling.  This will help define the areas you need to change.

Safety and Comfort. Universal design or ADA-compliant living is one in which the occupant can use everything in the home safely without assistance.  Floor plan design features may include one-story living, no-step entryways, wide doorways, extra floor space, floors and bathroom features with no-slip surfaces, improved lighting and details such as lever door handles.

Think Creatively.  In addition to a bedroom, bathroom and closets, the In-Law Suite could include a kitchenette, laundry, living and dining area.  You could renovate the floor plan of a garage, bedroom, attic, office, basement, back porch, even a barn or freestanding cottage on your property.  Consider the help of an Architect to check the local zoning ordinances first before designing the house plans.

Start with a 3-D Sketch of your Phoenix House Remodel

Ask your Architect to draw a 3-dimensional hand-sketch that will allow you to visualize your architectural design ideas.  It will also help your contractor prepare an early cost estimate to verify your budget goals.

Home Remodel Architect Phoenix

Architect Phoenix
 
Doug Rusk
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
www.designlinearchitects.com

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Phoenix New Home Design that “Fits the Way You Live, Now”

Does your Home Design fit your current lifestyle?

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Chandler

 

 

You’ve lived in your existing Phoenix home for many years and its served you well.  But for some time now you’ve realized that your needs have changed – maybe most of the kids are on their own, or a family member needs to move in, or maybe it’s just time to update your home.  Here are a few things to consider, if you are planning a remodel or new home design:

 

* Improve on what you already have.  Yes, your life is always in motion, but sometimes small changes to your home design can have a big impact.

* Write a list of all your household activities. The intent is to identify the way you live now and the way you’ll live in the future.

* Identify the big design ideas early on.  Ask your architect to draw a few conceptual 3D sketches of your space.  These quick sketches are a great starting point to convert your words and thoughts into visual pictures.

* Don’t rush to finish the design process. Let the ideas develop and evolve over time.  There WILL be a point when you will KNOW in your gut that your Phoenix new home design is complete.  Only then will we move to the finishing details.

What Feels like Home to You?

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-MesaWhere do we find and how do we incorporate the emotional qualities we want most in our Phoenix new home design?   Draw on the past to establish your feelings of home, and then incorporate them into your current lifestyle and needs.

* Childhood memories often contain vivid images and emotions that trigger feelings of joy and peacefulness.  As young people, we were more receptive to the simple pleasures of living.

* Perhaps the home you grew up in had a window seat just big enough for you and all your dolls or toy soldiers.  Maybe you remember your kitchen table was close enough to your mother at the stove so that you could hear her softly humming over the sounds and aroma of sizzling bacon?  Did your grandma live down a long tree lined road in a white farmhouse with a large wrapping porch, where you remember the fragrance of orange blossoms?

* It may surprise you to find that these nostalgic memories are at the center of your preferred design taste and desires.  Bringing these memories into a creative remodel or new home design process may assist you in making your space feel more like home.

Home is a Special Place, Where You can be You

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Gilbert

 

No doubt that your architect will help bring these nostalgic memories and new home design goals to the surface.  But the following questions are designed to help stimulate your thoughts on what feels most like home to you.

* From other homes you’ve visited, what elements most appeal to you?

* What feelings do you want to have as you drive up the driveway or walk up to you new home?  Be specific.

* What is most important to you in a new home or remodel?

* Pleasant memories are helpful to your architect.  Think back to your favorite indoor childhood spaces.  Which rooms were most memorable?

             – Why did you enjoys those rooms?

             – How did those rooms make you feel?

These are only a few of the questions your architect will ask in order to gain an understanding of your ideas of home, your lifestyle and how you and he will incorporate them into your Phoenix new home design or remodel that fits the way you live now, and in the future.

Author

Architect Phoenix
 
Doug Rusk
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
www.designlinearchitects.com

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