Ronald M. Schneider & Associates, PC
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Are you planning a building project, renovation or addition?

The best time to consult with an Architect is as early as possible in the project.  Long before plans and specifications are developed, there are many crucial decisions to be made.  What impact will site and zoning constraints have on your project?  We can help you evaluate your options.  Using our education, training, experience and vision to guide you through the entire design and construction process, from helping you define what you want to build, to helping you get the most for your construction dollar.

Few people realize how complicated a project is until they find themselves lost in the maze of design options, building codes, zoning regulations, contractors, and so on.  No two building projects are alike, so there is no single, clear cut path to follow.  We can help guide you through this maze so that you end up with a well designed project that meets your needs and works with your budget and time frame.

We provide a broad range of services and can provide value at every stage of the design and construction process.  By working directly with you and assessing your requirements in great depth, we tailor the design to suit your personality, needs, budget and lifestyle.  Our extensive study of design alternatives (some of which you may not have considered) allows you to choose the deign most appropriate to your needs.  By overseeing your project, we can ensure that your project is built according to design.

Using our education, training, experience and vision to guide you through the entire construction process, from helping you to define what you want to build, to assisting you in getting the most for your construction dollar.  Together we can help you evaluate your options.

By keeping abreast of the latest construction materials and technologies, we can recommend materials and systems that fit your budget.  The construction documents will provide a clear and concise set of drawings for the bidding process, ensuring that all contractors are basing their bids on the same information.  This results in prices that are both comparable and competitive.  Construction is expedited through our careful attention to planning and complete drawings and specifications.  We will act as your agent with the contractor, resolving disputes that may arise and analyzing any additional costs the contractor proposes.

The design aesthetic of the project is perhaps the most obvious area in which we make a unique and valuable contribution, creating a visually appealing place with character and style.  Ultimately, your property’s value is increased through appropriate design, improved functionality and high quality detailing.

Having an Architect involved on your project can save you money in a number of ways.  Having a single, complete set of architectural drawings to present to a number of prospective contractors allows you to choose among comparable bids – bids that are based upon the same expectations.  When the contractor knows at the start what will be built, and when the client has taken the time to plan carefully, costly delays and change orders during construction are minimized.  During construction, we will ensure that any proposed changes are reasonably priced and in keeping with local costs and methods of construction.

ADA Compliance:
We can evaluate your building for compliance with the current building codes, with regards to access by persons with disabilities.  Whether it is upgrading your current building elements (bathrooms, hallways, etc.) to meet these codes, or providing new building elements (such as ramps, elevators, etc.), we can provide you with the necessary services.  Reports can be generated indicating the areas that are not in compliance, and a recommended plan of action for remediation.  Construction Documents can then be produced to address all of the items at once, or in stages as required to deal with each area as your budget dictates.

A growing trend in residential design is to design ADA compliant “in-law” suites for when aging parents move in with their children.  While they may be self sufficient at the time, a design that incorporates elements of the ADA guidelines (for minimum door sizes, bathroom layout, etc.) will minimize future renovations as age requires them to use aids such as wheelchairs and walkers, and require the use of grab bars.  While all of the items, such as grab bars, do not have to be installed at the time of construction, they should be planned for so that they can be added later, as needed.  The biggest factor is ensuring that adequate floor space is provided for handicapped access in the design.

As-Built Documentation:
We will field measure the existing structure, as is relevant to the project, and will compile information to produce a set of drawings based upon the existing conditions prior to construction.  As-Built drawings provide an accurate base plan, indicating how the Proposed Addition/Renovations relate to the existing structure, and helps keep field adjustments during construction to a minimum.  As-Built drawings are also used for Building Evaluations and Feasibility Studies, as having scaled drawings of the building to reference eliminates any guess work.

Building Evaluation:
We can assemble a team to evaluate your existing building, or a building you are contemplating the purchase of, to determine the extent of the required renovations.  We can produce a complete report detailing the current status of the Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing aspects of the building, or any combination thereof.  The report will indicate the current conditions, required upgrades due to code and safety regulations, as well as recommendations from each trade as to what systems can be saved, repaired or those in need of replacement.  This service can be used in conjunction with our As-Built Drawings service to produce a report complete with existing floor plans of the building (which can then be referenced by the written report to pinpoint areas of interest).

Code Compliance:
Both the individual town and the State have regulations that will govern your project, and we will ensure that your project satisfies them.  Zoning regulations, which are published by each town, and vary from one town to another, concern the building’s use, size, relationship to the site, and parking.  Building codes are published by the State, and address how buildings are to be constructed, dictating for example; door and window sizes, materials, lumber sizes, and stair and hall dimensions.  A special section of the code ensures access to public buildings for people with disabilities; it dictates requirements for bathrooms, kitchens, ramps, and other building elements.

Contractor Selection:
We can help you through the process of selecting a contractor through competitive bidding.  About half the cost of any construction is labor, and the other half is materials.  Since labor costs vary according to skill, experience, and the contractor’s overhead, competitive bidding allows you to select a contractor on the basis of cost and schedule, as well as reputation and approach.  Being able to distinguish critical differences between similar bids can make the difference between a successful project and a potential problem.

Construction Administration:
We bring an experienced and balanced perspective to the project during construction.  We serve as your advocate, working to be sure the project is built as it was designed and specified.  We will assist you in analyzing “change orders” and help you to make educated decisions which could affect your project’s costs.  Change orders are any changes proposed by the client or the contractor, or changes required to address conditions that could not have been foreseen.  It is not required to have the us involved during the construction phase (perhaps to save money); however, by keeping us involved through construction, you will have an important advocate on the job, looking out for your best interests, and giving you a critical perspective on the progress and quality of the construction.

Finally, we can authorize when payments should be released to your builder, giving you the added assurance that the builder has met the minimum guidelines for quality and progress in relation to his application for payment.

Construction Drawings:
Drawings and Specifications are the graphic and verbal descriptions of the project.  They describe your preferences and wishes for the project you are building and are used to document decisions about the project’s size, function, organization and aesthetics.  They prescribe the requirements for structural stability, climate control, drainage, and electrical service.  These documents are submitted to your town to obtain a building permit so construction can begin, and are used by the township building inspector to determine that the project will meet local requirements.

Drawings and Specifications are also the basis for the relationship between you as the owner/client and your contractor (builder).  They can be used for competitive bidding among contractors so that you can compare several builders’ estimated project costs, construction schedules, and logistics plans.  Once you choose a builder, plans and specifications are used as “Contract Documents” (instructions to your contractor) and the basis of your agreement with him about exactly what work is to be done and at what cost.

Design Development:
The process by which building science, site data, and the building space program are used by the design team is the art of building design. It is a complex process involving the selection of standard building systems, and their adaptation and integration to produce a building that meets the client's needs within the limitations of government regulations and market standards.  The design process involves the selection of systems for foundations, structure, HVAC, building envelope, electric, plumbing, and other building functions. These selections are made from a limited range of manufactured components, but permit a wide range of variation in the final product. Once the systems and components have been selected, the design team will proceed to the Construction Documents phase.

Feasibility Study:
Closely related to our Building Evaluation service, the Feasibility Study is more focused on the actual intended use of the building by the Client.  We will assemble a team to determine the existing condition of the building and what it will take to make the building into what the client wishes.  A report will be generated outlining all of the building systems, their current status, required upgrades and suggested replacements.  The entire report is geared specifically towards what the proposed final use of the building will be.  Upon completion of our report it will be determined that the building may or may not be feasible for the proposed use by the Client.   Whether a building is or is not feasible is dependant upon a number of factors including its intended use, budget, ADA upgrades, zoning regulations, use restrictions, structural issues, etc., and the Feasibility Study is intended as a tool for the Client to use in making an educated decision with regards to the building, based upon budget and time constraints.

Schematic Design:
Using the As-Built drawings of the existing structure as a base plan, Schematic Design drawings are developed based upon the Client’s parameters as discussed in design meetings.  These Schematic drawings include floor plans and exterior elevations when appropriate.  The Schematic drawings are a visual combination of the Client’s parameters and the As-Built drawings, indicating what the project will look like after construction is complete.  They are generally scaled pictures of what the final product will look like without all of the dimensions and details associated with Construction Documents.

Tenant Plans:
Tenant Plans are required by many municipalities before a commercial business will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy.  We can provide services ranging from documentation of the existing space, ensuring compliance with current building codes, to complete Construction Documents for use in renovating your new space.


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Ronald M. Schneider & Associates, LLC. P.O. Box 612 Howell, NJ 07731 732-833-6464

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