Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Armistead Design, Inc. different?
We strive to provide a seamless turnkey product. Many of our clients desire to tell us what they want in their home, make the necessary changes to the initial design, and return to pick up a completed set of plans. At the final hand-off, our plans are permit ready; and if there are any explanations, or clarifications needed by the building department, Armistead Design, Inc. handles this free-of-charge. It is considered incidental to the overall plan design.
Armistead Design, Inc. has extensive experience taking the difficult projects. Because we started from the ground up in 2004 at the height of the real estate market, Armistead Design, Inc. started off taking the projects that often-times no one else wanted. Now that Armistead Design, Inc. is established, this experience pays huge dividends in knowledge, wisdom, and insight. We’ve seen just about every possible scenario in Florida residential construction.
Armistead Design, Inc. has designed hundreds upon hundreds of additions. Remodels and Additions can be very tricky to get right. We recently had an addition/renovation in North Merritt Island that had three extremely unique existing pitches (2 3/4, 4 1/2 , and 3 5/8) all within a 25’x25′ area. We needed to tie in a future addition to the 3 5/8 pitch, and our principle designer caught this in the field measure due the tools, and the years of experience doing additions.
Armistead Design, Inc. has weathered the 2008-2016 recession, staying in business when many other small home design businesses had to close-up shop. This is largely due to strong relationships. We treasure the many great relationships we have with a good number of local builders, engineers, craftsman, homeowners, and even other design companies. Need a local builder? We can recommend many. Many local builders who we know through years of experience will act with honesty and integrity, and will build a beautiful quality product that we are proud to put our name on.
We pride ourselves on listening to our clients. Have you ever gone to the hair stylist, and told them what you want, and then had them ignore it and do a completely different hairstyle? Creative people are notorious for this; and some home designers can be this way too. We definitely have insight, and wisdom about the many aspects of home design that will or will not work, or look good. But, we desire to work with you, and translate your needs and wants into a beautiful, functional finished project that will feel like it is exactly what you wanted. We desire to produce a product that we are both happy with.
Our target with each project is the achievement of six individual goals as one. We desire for our customers to be happy, with a house that fits their needs, and budget; as well as a dynamic floor plan that flows, with a great looking final product. Oh, yeah, we’d like to be happy with the final product too! It is the achievement of these six individual goals that we aim for.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, Armistead Design, Inc. does only residential design.
Residential home design, including:
- full custom homes
- stock plans
- detached garages
- exterior fire places
- summer kitchens
- shoreline protection buffer calculations
- Armistead Design, Inc. delivers large format permit ready, color construction plans with all necessary drawings, details, and engineering integrated into one plan-set.
- At closing you will be given a permit ready PDF plan set, stamped by our 3rd party engineer or yours. We’ll provide one complimentary large format printed plan set. (Additional copies of that plan set are $1/page.)
- In the rare instance where the County needs more details or an explanation, this is done without charge, as we consider it incidental to the overall design.
- A Stock Plan is a completed home design that we have previously developed into a workable plan, and we have on file ready for purchase.
- A Custom Plan, is as it sounds: a unique custom designed home plan that starts out as an idea, or dream, or designed from scratch with input from both the client, and the designer.
Yes, Stock plans can be lightly or moderately modified. There comes a point though, when heavy modifications quickly approach a custom plan scope if large scale changes are desired. We can and will certainly make large scale changes to our available stock plans. However, the scope, time-frame, and cost will then be equivalent to a custom plan, and will be billed that way.
- Time. Stock plans can be available for hand off in less than a week if there are no changes and the location is in an area where the plan has been previously built (see next question). Whereas a full custom plan can take upwards of 6 to 8 weeks.
- Cost. By virtue of the economies of scale, stock plans simply cost less. If there are little to no changes, they can be far more accessible than a custom plan.
- Footprint. Stock plans are typically designed with a tidy house footprint in mind. This makes them usable in a variety of lot shapes and sizes.
- Expectations. Stock plans have often been built a number of times, if not numerous times, and there are practically no ‘unknowns.’ E.g. that plan has passed permitting/zoning multiple times, and will have little to no issues in a local permitting office.
- Florida has varied wind speed zones; yielding different requirements for windows, doors, and trusses in particular. Depending on the region in which you are building, the trusses and/or the doors and windows may need to go through new truss company design, and approval by the engineer of record.
- If you simply desire to purchase a plan and take it to the truss company yourself, and use your own engineer, then the hand-off can be well under a week.
- However, If you want a permit-ready construction plan, and you will be building in a region of Florida with a different wind-speed rating, we will need to obtain updated truss engineering matching that region’s wind speed rating, and it will need engineering approval (both done by 3rd party entities).
- Unique in appearance. Custom homes can be as unique and beautiful as a sunset. It is a wonderful thing when a house becomes not just an object of utility and necessity, but also a work of art. It is very satisfying to look upon the clever subtleties of your own home and know it was your idea, or that you had input in that feature. We have also had clients who wanted a blend of two uniquely different styles. Probably the best example of this was a Cocoa Beach home (which was featured in Spaces Magazine) where the clients wanted a Polynesian Roof, on a Sleek Modern Design.
- Unique in layout. Custom homes are practically a necessity if your lot and setbacks are oddly shaped. One of our most frequently requested custom layout design goals is to provide a view from certain (or multiple) rooms of a specific outdoor feature, like water or a beautiful tree-line. Oftentimes riverfront, pond, and beachfront homes require creative solutions to provide that perfect view(s).
- Unique in purpose. Custom homes can be tailor designed to suit each person in a family’s needs, lifestyle, priorities, and interests.
- An addition adds onto the house: a room, a second floor, multiple rooms, a lanai, observation deck, or garage.
- A remodel doesn’t necessarily add living space to a house. Creating a cathedral ceiling can require professional design work, as well as removing a bearing wall, or changing the layout of some structure of the house.
- Remodels can be exterior, or interior, or both.
- Many times we use a remodel to integrate an addition and the original house. The River view house in our portfolio is a great example of this. The new entryway of the house was actually remodeled including making a vaulted foyer by removing a section of rafters, and adding a staircase to integrate the two, and access the second-floor addition.
- This is the reason you will find many of our additions are also labelled as remodels.
It is of utmost importance that you consult your builder (if you have one) prior to choosing a truss company. They often have accounts with certain truss companies, and may obtain truss engineering on your behalf.
If you are not yet connected with a builder or if you plan to be an owner-builder, ADI will can send your plans to local truss companies for quotes. In almost all cases, truss engineering is required to complete a set of permit ready plans. We help facilitate that process to make it easy for you.
- If you are a local Brevard County resident/builder, you can go to: Brevard County Property Appraiser’s Office and do a property search either by Name or address.
- If you are located in a different county, simply google your county’s property appraisal office. And Follow the same directions.
- If you are a local Brevard County resident/builder, you can go to Brevard County Zoning and use the tax account # from the BCPAO site in the ‘TaxAcct search’ to find the zoning for your particular lot.
- You will then need to take that particular code (ex: RR-1) and go to the ‘municode’ website Brevard County link: Municode Brevard County and input the zoning coded (RR-1 in this case).
- If you are located in a different County simply apply these steps to that framework. Most cities and counties publish their zoning maps online.
Nearly all projects are priced by total square footage built and/or remodeled. A lower square footage rate applies to areas measured and drawn, but not modified.
Below you will find a simplified look at the step by step design process.
*This is the general process- variants like stock plans can have far fewer steps.
No. You pay if we design the project (incrementally).
Payment is typically made in three stages as seen below:
Below you will find a layout of a typical custom home, or large scale remodel and/or addition:
Firstly, it depends on the task at hand.
Is it an addition, a remodel, a stock plan, or a full custom home?
Stock plans- If there are no changes, generally stock plans take the shortest amount of time (typically less than a week).
Custom Homes- Generally Full customs take the longest, though there is some degree of variation. This is due to the fact that some customers/builders walk in with a very good idea of what they want the floor plan and elevations to look like; while at the other end of the spectrum, some customers give us ‘cart blanche’ to design the entire home from scratch. The latter, due to the fact that we will not just ambivalently throw together a floorplan, but will creatively, methodically, develop a meaningful, beautiful home design, can take a bit longer to develop. Trust us, you won’t regret an extra week or two in the design phase in the decades to come.
Additions- Additions have a great degree of variation in the time-frame; depending on the size of the addition desired. Essentially the design time is directly proportional to the size of the addition. Is it simply a first-floor single room addition, or is it a multi-floor large scale addition? A large-scale addition generally will have a portion of the existing home remodeled where the two converge to blend them together both stylistically, and functionally. This can take just about as much time as a custom home.
Remodels– Remodels tend to be the most time consuming with multiple site visits (though they may not take the longest).
Secondly, It depends on several factors that are basically out of our control:
Changes- One visit to the web or one TV show may cause a client to rethink their design. Up until the point that a design is sent to the truss company, the client is welcome to make as many changes as they see fit. Some of these changes, and the time the client takes to ponder and review them can take considerable time.
Customer/builder bidding process– Customers who do not already have a builder, will take the Phase I design plans and typically start calling builders to get bids. This process can take days, or weeks. The ball is in the client’s court at this point.
Truss design– When the Phase I design is complete with all of the client’s desired changes, the plans will then be sent to the Truss company of the client’s/builder’s choice. The figurative ball is then in their court for a period of time generally between two to three weeks.
Engineering Sign-off– After the Truss design has been returned to Armistead Design, Inc., and we have done the construction plan drawings (electrical/foundation/section/details), the plans are then forwarded to either our preferred engineer, or the customer’s engineer of choice for review/redlines/approval. The figurative ball is out of our court at this point as well.
- Armistead Design, Inc. will develop initial design drawings based on the room sizes and specifications stated on the design worksheet developed during the initial meetings with the client. These Phase I design drawings will include fully dimensioned floor plan(s), and up to four elevation views (exterior front, rear, and side view perspectives).
- At this point Armistead Design, Inc. will meet with the client to present these plans, discuss them, and receive the phase I design fee (50% payment based on total square footage drawn).
- So, back to our question: What if I want to make changes to this initial set of drawings?
- You may elect at this point to make any number of reasonable changes (e.g. adding windows, shifting walls, adding a doorway, changing the siding, and/or roof material).
- There will be no charge for this first round of changes, it is considered incidental to the design process.
- All subsequent revisions will be billed hourly ($75/hr.).
No, we are residential designers with support by 3rd party engineering.
We do not do:
(1) Commercial building design.
(2) Building/Construction – we are not builders/General Contractors. We do not build homes. We design and prepare construction/permit ready plans.
(3) Quoting Build Prices – While we can design with a general budget in mind, we cannot estimate the specific total build price of your project; only our design fee.
(4) Engineering – Armistead Design, Inc. does not do engineering in-house. We typically work with Kastner Engineering and Beachside Engineering. When the plans is complete, the client receives an email from engineer with a pay link or a pdf invoice. However, we can work with any engineer you or your builder chooses.
(5) Truss design – the truss plan and engineering is not done in house. Your truss design plan is done by the truss company of your choice. The fee the truss company charges for their design is often included in the total cost of the trusses. You will discuss this directly with them. We will help facilitate the process and answer any questions you may have.
(6) HVAC Duct layouts and Energy Calcs. – These are typically done by your builder or HVAC sub-contractor. However, ADI can provide them at the client’s request for an additional fee.
(7) Product approval paperwork – The product approval paperwork that the county will require for your window’s wind speed rating (for example) will typically be handled by your builder. If you intend to be an owner-builder, we can tell you where to obtain the paperwork you need.
(8) Official Plot Plans – These are done by your surveyor.
(9) Septic Design – This is typically handled by your builder.
(10) Landscape Design – We will, in most cases, illustrate your project with some nice landscape, but we don’t do landscape design. We recommend Pollack Landscape Architects for landscape design on all our projects.
(11) Civil Engineering – We don’t do civil engineering. If your residential project is complicated and needs a civil engineer, we recommend Clayton Bennett, PE with Bennett Engineering & Consulting, LLC
(12) Soil Borings & Geotech Engineering – We refer all our clients to KSM Engineering. They are excellent and half the cost of many other well known geotech engineers.
(13) Environmental Reports – We refer all our clients to Atlantic Environmental.
(14) Legal Issues with permitting and development – If you need to change zoning, ask for a setback reduction, or any other legal matter for you project, we recommend Kim Rezanka with Lacy, Lyons & Rezanka.
(18) screen enclosures.
(19) aluminum rooms.
Spec is short for speculation. A spec home is built by investors or builders with the sole purpose of selling it when complete for a profit on the investment. We have quite a bit of experience with Spec home design.
Yes, we do all design work in-house. When necessary, design parameters are checked for compliance with our 3rd party engineer and with the truss company of your choice.
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ARMISTEAD DESIGN, INC.
Our Designs Are
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