This article is a little long, but important. In case you do not make it to the bottom, please search YouTube for, “Knot Square Design LLC Butte Montana” to find my channel. You can copy the text right from this page and place it in the YouTube search bar. Please note that I am very good at designing buildings, both commercial and residential. I am not as good at making videos, but there is a lot there and I am just too busy with design work and all that goes with it to edit my videos. They are raw.
In the near future I will add another page that will point out key videos for particular topics.
New projects tend to start off slow in the eyes of many clients. What goes unseen is the starting of a Notebook in OneNote with as much as I have gathered to that point about their project, possibly a few site visits, depending on the nature of the project and research regarding the methods or techniques they wish to incorporate.
I specialize in Sustainable Building Techniques as well as Accessibility. Personally I have spent several months confined to a wheelchair and was married at one time to a woman with a son that had cerebral palsy and was wheelchair dependent. These have given me some extra insight into what is needed for people with disabilities.
As for sustainability, I grew up in the Highlands south of Butte in a solar home. It was both passive and collective and an air based system, not hydronic. Our only supplemental heat for this two story home of about 4,000 square feet was a single Ben Franklin wood stove. I recall many days in January when we had the heat running to keep the panels from overheating and the windows open on days well below zero.
I also went to school and worked in both San Diego, CA and Tempe, AZ. This gave me exposure to the big cities as well as different climates and a great exposure to different cultures.
After two years of working for a couple of Structural Engineers in Phoenix simultaneously, I started my own drafting company in Flagstaff, a wonderful mountain town that had many great attributes to remind me of Montana. The home in my portfolio, The Farrar Residence, was at 7,200 feet above sea level and built mostly with my own two hands.
My drafting company grew until I soon had an office in Flagstaff, then one in Prescott and finally one in Scottsdale with plans to expand into Nevada until the recession put a stop to nearly all building in both states. I was forced to close my doors, but not before completing thousands of residential designs from the simplest of garage additions to multi-million dollar mansions. As well, I had employed three licensed Architects and we had a surveying company.
I partnered in a construction company as well as an excavation company gaining valuable hand’s on experience. In my opinion, this should be a requirement for any design professional as I learned so much more than I had in school about the practical side of things and gained a greater understanding of the built environment vs. the conceptual one.
Not only am I required to obtain Continued Education Units annually, but I study my field continuously, especially in the area of sustainable building. I create spreadsheets and notes, links, etc. in OneNote to continually grow my knowledge base. Sustainable building is continually evolving and I even have been asked to help improve some products as I also have some inventions of my own, with one patented.
What you see is not always what you get and there is so much more going on behind the scenes with me as my goal is to create a plan set that is so inclusive that it pays for itself during construction. If I can eliminate or nearly eliminate the need for change orders, you will definitely save a lot of money in construction costs.
I design in 3D to allow me to generate a pretty complete and accurate Materials List. This is a huge benefit for my clients and the builder. Depending on our contract, There is a Linear List to get a quick estimate. a Buy List which breaks out how many of each and what size to buy, and a Cut List, telling the builder to what length to cut each board.
A side benefit is being able to fully visualize the design and work out concepts, materials, lighting and for energy conscious designs, sun paths and shadow lines at different times of day and year.
I also use a service that uses LIDAR technology to scan existing conditions for renovation and addition projects and if there is little snow on the ground, the most accurate topographic information I can possibly obtain, as less than the cost of a survey.
All of this work and much more is going into your plan set as you start to see what at first seems very little progress. Suddenly there is an explosion and the pace really picks up until we have a design settled upon and then it goes back behind the curtain for structural layout.
Once layout is complete, the majority of my projects are sent off to Dmitri Wright of Cascade Engineering, Inc. You can read more about that benefit and relationship under the ABOUT tab “Collaborate with Cascade Engineering”.
There is a lot of work that goes into my plans and my knowledge base that is not in your contract. When you see the first images, sketches, models or other drawings, know that there is a lot more going on to ensure that you are getting the best service that I can provide.
All plans are fully reviewed with the Project Owner and/or the Builder. I am available for questions by phone during the build and the plans themselves clearly state that changes must be approved in writing to ensure that corners are not cut and that you get what you set out to achieve at the start or what it may have evolved into during the process.
Clients are strongly encouraged to be direct and frank. My feelings are not hurt when you do not like something that I may have designed and my recommendations may be rejected. This is your project and you hired me to serve you. The more direct you are the better results will be achieved and more affectively.
I hope this helps to clarify a lot of the process and demonstrates the extra effort that goes into each and every plan set I develop. If you have any questions, please use the CONTACT tab to reach out or if you are a current client, simply email or call.