Frequently Asked Questions
Will my plans meet local code
The first phase of your home design is
called the “Schematic Design Phase”. This is the “creative phase”
during which the floor plans and architectural style are created. These are not
the plans that are submitted to your county for construction permits. However,
we will determine local code requirements and any Community Covenants and
Restrictions (CC&Rs) during this phase. This information plus the lot plan
and the topographic analysis of your site (if sloping or not flat) are essential
for the proper schematic design.
How do I get the plans for the
After the Schematic Design
Phase is completed, you may contract with us or a local engineer to create
the “Permit Set” of plans. If you contract with us, we will contact a
civil and or structural engineer in your area. We will work with this
engineer to have the permit set drawings.
Why is the
"Construction Drawings Set" so
much more expensive than the Schematic Design Drawings?
Although most of the creativity
and the “soul” of your new home are in the Schematic Design, there is
a lot of work involved in getting the "construction drawings
set" created. This is
especially true if the house will be on a sloping lot or on land with
problem soils, e.g. swelling clays. Also, the engineer has the task of
making certain that all plans are in compliance with local code. This can
be tedious work. If the schematic design has challenging structural
elements such as cantilevers, or large unsupported areas requiring
pre-stressed concrete, steel or other special supports, a structural
engineer is essential in having a safe design. Most of the work and
therefore most of the fees that you pay for the “Construction Drawings Set” go to
this local licensed engineer, who will sign the drawings.
Is there an advantage in
having Asis-Leif Designs create the “Construction Drawings Set”?
Yes, there is an advantage in
having us work with the engineers to make certain that they don’t make
changes to the Schematic Design without our and your approval. However, if
you decide to have the “Construction Drawings Set” done by a third party, we will
give them our full co-operation. The objective is to have your beautiful
new home built safely and rapidly. We want to see you obtain that
I noticed that you are a
‘Residential Designer” and not an Architect. What is the
Our Chief Designer, Cynthia
Asis-Leif is a licensed Architect in the Philippines. She completed a
five-year architectural degree program and graduated with honors from the
prestigious University of Santo Tomas in 1981. She served her
apprenticeship for five years as the first woman architect hired by the
world-renowned Francisco Mañosa and Partners. She began her own practice
in 1986. She has designed hundreds of homes. Although she is an
international associate member of the American Institute of Architects,
she is not yet licensed as an architect in California.
Fortunately, California law
allows her to design homes up to two storeys in height (plus basement). So
when you hire Asis-Leif Designs, you get someone who has been trained and
worked as an architect for many years. This training included structural
and interior design.
So for the lower cost of a
Residential Designer, you get far more sophisticated capability and
How expensive is Residential Design?
Whereas architects may charge the prospective homeowner in the
range of 10%-15% of the cost of the construction of the home, we as a
Residential Design company, will only charge about 1.5 % for the schematic design
and about 4 to 5% for “Construction Drawings Set” .
First, we will prepare conceptual drawings of your new home for your
review. Additional follow-up design reviews fine tune the initial concept
design. We will strive to satisfy your expectations as much as possible. The end
result is a home design that meets the client's budget, needs, and dreams.
more details on our affordable home design fees, go to our Design
What about license agreements, copy restrictions and
All plans are protected under the Federal Copyright Act,
Title XVII of the United States Code and Chapter 37 of the Code of Federal
Regulations. Asis-Leif Designs retains title and ownership of the
original documents. Clients are to use design for one-time build-out only.
The Designer reserves all rights for designs and plans submitted under
contract including copyright. The client has the right to as many copies
of plans required for construction or permanent records. The client may
not sell or assign plans. Client must include name of the Designer in any
media description of finished construction based on work completed per
agreement. The Designer assumes no liability whatsoever as to the ultimate
use of designs provided to client unless retained to complete construction
documentation and specifications.
Do I choose foundation options and
Depending on your location and climate, your home will normally
be built with a slab, crawlspace or basement foundation; the exterior walls will
usually be of 2x6 framing. Most professional builders and contractors can
easily adapt a home to meet the foundation and exterior wall requirements you
desire. Every state, county and municipality has its own codes, zoning
requirements, ordinances and building regulations. If we do the working
drawings, we will comply with your local building requirements---snow loads,
energy codes, seismic zones, etc. If you choose another party to do the working
drawings of the schematic plans we have prepared, you have to make sure that you
strictly comply with all local building codes, ordinances, regulations and
requirements---including permits and inspection at the time of construction.
What about modifications?
If you'd be making major changes from the final plans we
have already produced, we recommend that you consult a professional. Of course,
you can ask us to do the modifications for an additional fee. It's always best
to think of these modifications prior to the production of the final plans.
I do not understand some of the terms you have described
on this page.
How will I find out more about these?
To understand the definitions of some architectural and
technical terms, go to our Glossary
See a gallery of our custom-designed homes.