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Thoughts and Suggestions on How to Start a Project

Starting Thoughts:

Image of blueprintsThose of us who have projects to be designed and built can be broken down into two basic groups: 1) The ones who have the money to do a project don't have the time to plan and do it right and 2) The ones who can take the time to plan and build things right don't have the money. Although these statements are made partly in jest there are elements of truth to them.

However, there is another quote that comes to mind that also is relevant here: "If all you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail". We live in a world where there is a barrage of information coming at us from all directions and it seems that much of it is simply intended to fill time or sell us something. Therefore, when we have a project to be done that can have consequences if designed or constructed incorrectly, we often turn to assistance from reliable sources. The problem for many of us is, "How do we locate reliable sources?"

The vast majority of us start by asking friends, acquaintances, family members and peers in our professional networks how to start our project(s). In doing this we get a spectrum of answers, suggestions and opinions that may be of little actual value for us.

So How Should A Project Be Started?

There are certain initial steps involved in every project that help delineate the best path to follow. These steps will be broken down into links with brief descriptions that lead into the next series of steps or options available. The decisions involved as to what steps to take or paths to follow are yours, as the owner of the project.

Here are some of the very first steps with links to answers to follow:

Is your project residential or commercial in nature?

Is it new construction or is it a retrofit/remodel project?

Is the funding secured or is financing needed?

What are the restrictions and/or requirements you will encounter, as in:

  • Zoning
  • Building Codes
  • Energy Codes
  • ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Homeland Security - Personal Security
  • Durability - Resilience (Disaster Resistant Construction)
  • National Energy Efficiency Certification Programs
  • National Green/Sustainable Certification Programs
  • Renewable Energy Systems
  • Other Features/Considerations:
    • Green Roofs
    • Electric Vehicle Charging
    • Natural or Edible Landscaping
    • Water Conservation (Rainwater Catchment Systems)

 This list can go on and on but the simple answer to all of these questions and more can be answered by two words: Design Charrettes


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