1) I will need a copy of your House Location Survey (plat) which is typically in with your house closing papers. which is typically in with your house closing papers. Just be SURE no part is cut off of your scan or copy (Zoning folks get weird when that happens). Embed it in the Client Worksheet (see below) or fax it to 540 786-3324.

2) Two house photos where the project will go. One photo from the back that takes in the whole house if possible (called a rear elevation view) and one photo of the house from the side that shows the “lay of the land”. If you can embed the photos in the Client Worksheet (see below), that’s perfect and preferred. If not, just email them separately. Faxing photos does not work well.

3) A rough sketch of the house which includes dimensions showing exact locations of doors and windows. I typically will need basement and first floor levels for a deck. If we are designing a porch (with a roof), then I will also need the 2nd floor as well. Be sure to include a basic outline of your new project as well along with your ideas of what you want. PLEASE use my Client Worksheet form.

4) Design Fee Retainer in check that you text to me at 540 840-7243. Or use PayPal (but you have to add 4% processing fee so texting a check is cheaper… just don’t cut off the ends of the check in your photo).

To make this whole process go a lot smoother, please download a Client Worksheet form (be sure to “enable macros” when asked). It walks you step by step through all of the above 4 things we need. If you are diligent and fill out everything that pertains, it will get me on the fast track to designing your project. Hint: Right click and download the DOC file to your hard drive… and be sure you are on the Internet when you fill out the form. Then save it to your hard drive and email it to me. Viola! I will get back to you pronto with a Preliminary Design and Excel Spreadsheet that itemizes labor and estimated material cost. You can then let me know if anything needs to be revised or changed. I will email you back the revised Preliminary Design with updated spreadsheet. It goes back and forth between us typically a time or two until we get it perfect. Once you are happy with the design and the cost I will email you a Contract Proposal. Get it back to me and you are immediately put on my builder’s Construction Calendar. Fiddle around and procrastinate like you been doing, and all bets are off! (Don’t you just love the new climate of blunt honesty?)

You can fax (540 786-3324) or email the Client Worksheet to us. If you wish to order the “On-Site Design” Service (if you live within 50 miles of Fredericksburg, Virginia) for a deck, screen/glass/open porch, or gazebo (or any combination), just call 540 786-3534 or fill out our Contact Form. The owner, Mike French, will call you back to discuss and clarify all the details.

Non-Performance Surcharge:

Please add $500 to the Design-Fee-Retainer  charge if you are obtaining these plans to do it yourself or to contract it out to your own builder. The reason is because the Design-Fee-Retainer charges protect me against lost time and added expenses only. They simply allow me to break even… to pay my expenses of time, maybe travel, and drafting fees. They are not sufficient to make a living. To substantiate that claim, get a bid from an architect. The additional $500 is necessary to make it worth my while if we will not be building this project for you.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.


We work very hard to insure that our clients are 100% satisfied with their custom Preliminary Plan that we work up together before the plan goes to Drafting which then generates the Building Plans. But once you give us your approval, then the Preliminary Plan goes to Drafting and “the dye is cast”. We cannot refund your money if you change your mind. On the other hand, if you change your mind BEFORE the custom Preliminary Plan goes to Drafting, here is our Refund Policy.

Also we do our dead level best to provide you with a clear, comprehensive, code complaint set of custom Building Plans… but we are human and we can make mistakes. Therefore our custom Building Plans are not warrantied against errors or omissions… either express or implied. For that reason I also state on all plans that the “Buyer agrees that building from these plans is acceptance by buyer of full responsibility for meeting all building code requirements and buyer will hold Designer harmless in the event of errors and/or omissions.”

Why do we do this? Think about it. If another builder is doing the construction, we have no quality control. We have no way of knowing if the construction techniques used are acceptable or not. In other words, we don’t know if you know one end of the hammer from the other. You or your builder may be able to read building plans… and you may not… in which case mistakes will be made. No offense intended, but I hope you understand that in this crazy sue-happy country of ours, this type of disclaimer is totally necessary.

This is another reason why we always request our clients to submit their Building Plans to their local county or city Plan Review. You pay their salaries. Make them earn it!