Thursday, December 30, 2010

Working With an Architect: What to Expect - Phase 3 of 6

Phase 3:  Design Development

Sample Design Development Drawing for a Home Addition

Goals:  Refine and finalize the design

Fee breakdown:  15-25% of total fee

Services May Include:
· Revised Site Options
· Revised Floor Plans, Elevations and Building Sections
· Ceiling Plans, Wall Sections, Key Details
· Interior Finish Selections and Materials Research
· Preliminary Structural Calculations
· Involve Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineers, if needed
· Involve Consultants, if needed
· Revised 3-D Models
· Revised Cost Estimate
· Continue LEED Documentation (if applicable)

Phase Is Typically Completed When:
The owner has approved the revised/ refined design from the previous phase.  At this point, almost all design decisions have been made.
Missed phase two?  Read last week's post HERE to catch yourself up!  Check back next week for information on Phase 4:  Construction Documents!

Please feel free to contact us at (815)806-0146 or e-mail Nicole at

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays from RJA!

Ho!  Ho!  Ho!  Whether you have been naughty or nice this year, all of us at Robert Juris & Associates Architects hope that you have a very joyful holiday season.  We thank you for your continued support, business, and friendship.  Cheers to continued success in 2011!

Robert Juris
Robert Juris & Associates, Architects Ltd.

Working With an Architect: What to Expect - Phase 2 of 6

Phase 2:  Schematic Design

Sample Elevation and Floor Plan Options for a 2nd Story Home Addition

Goals of this phase:  Graphically explore design options

Fee breakdown:  15-25% of total fee

Services May Include:
· Building Site Options
· Floor Plan, Elevation and Building Section Options
· Massing 3-D Models
· Preliminary Cost Estimate
· Begin LEED Documentation (if applicable)

Missed phase one?  Read last week's post HERE to catch yourself up!  Check back next week for information on Phase 3:  Design Development!Questions?
Please feel free to contact us at (815)806-0146 or e-mail Nicole at

Friday, December 17, 2010

Working With an Architect: What to Expect - Phase 1 of 6

Phase 1:  Pre-Design

Sample Pre-Design Sketch

Goals of this Phase:
Initiate project and determine the owner's criteria to define the scope of the project.

Fee Breakdown:
5-10% of total fee

Services May Include:
Feasibility Studies
Site Analysis & Selection
Code Analysis
Budget Analysis - Hard Costs (Construction) and Soft Costs (Fees)
Schedule Development
Existing Facilities Survey and Analysis
Preparation of Owner/ Architect Contract
Determination of Level of Green Ratings Certification Desired (LEED or other)

Phase is Typically Complete When:
The owner has approved the scope of work and the Owner/ Architect contract is signed.

Missed the introduction?  Read last week's post to catch yourself up!  Check back next week for information on Phase 2: Schematic Design!

Please feel free to contact us at (815)806-0146 or e-mail Nicole at

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Working with an Architect: What to Expect - Introduction to Series

For someone who has never worked with an architect, the design process can be intimidating and often misunderstood.  There are standard phases of design that are common throughout the industry for architects to follow.  Because projects can vary greatly in scope and complexity, some projects will not require all the phases, while other projects may require additional services.  The scope of work should be determined in the initial phase and clearly defined in the Owner/Architect contract.  Each phase of work has certain goals that should be reached and approved by the client before moving on to the next phase.  Also, each phase will vary in the amount of time spent to complete it and therefore will represent a varying percentage of the total fee. 

Our fees are usually based on how much time we think it will take for us to complete the project.  Some factors that we take into consideration when estimating this is project size, type, location, complexity, and scope of services.

Call us at (815)806-0146
E-mail Nicole at

The six standard phases of design are:
1. Pre-Design
2. Schematic Design
3. Design Development
4. Construction Documents
5. Bidding and Permitting
6. Construction Administration & Observation

In the upcoming series of posts, we will explore each phase of design in more detail.  Coming up next....Pre-Design! 

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Andersen Windows

Andersend Windows Headquarters Bayport, MN

Nicole Corbett recently had the opportunity to go to Bayport, Minnesota and learn more about a product that we often recommend, Andersen Windows.  The trip included a tour of Cardinal Glass, where the glass is manufactured, and Andersen Windows and Doors. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pre-Design Services for Business Suites & Commercial Interiors

If you are considering buying or leasing an existing space to house your business, you will probably need some interior alterations to suit your specific needs.  By examining the feasibility of such a project before you  commit to a location can help save you time and money.   There are several questions to ask when considering a space for your business:

· How much will it cost to remodel/ renovate/ add-on to?
· What will the City allow?
· Will I need additional restrooms?
· Is the space up to current Building and Accessibility codes?
· What is the process?
· How long will it take?
· Do I need to use an Architect?  Or can I just hire a builder?
· Are there other special considerations I need to be aware of?

By utilizing our Pre-Design Services, we can help answer these questions without commitment or upfront costs.

Services Included in FREE Initial Consultation:
· Meeting: We will meet with the client, either at our office or the prospective site location, to discuss their needs and goals
· Site Visit: We will walk-through the existing facility to assess the existing conditions
· Code Analysis: We will review the applicable Zoning and Building Codes to determine which apply to your project and how it will affect what you can build
· LEED Project Feasibility: If the client is interested in pursuing LEED (or any other Green Ratings System) certification, we can help determine which level may be achievable
· Consultants Fees: We will determine what, if any, additional consultants will be needed for the projects such as Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineers and provide the client their proposed fees
· Architects Fees: We will provide the client with a  fee proposal - usually based on how many hours we believe it will take us to complete the project

Additional Services We Can Provide:
· Programming: If the client needs additional assistance in determining what spaces are needed for his/ her business to be functional and efficient, we can take an in-depth look to map out the project
· Project Schedule: We can develop a preliminary schedule with a the time it will take to go from design through construction
· Schematic Floor Plans: We can design preliminary options for the how the space may be laid out
· Schematic 3-D Rendering: We can develop 3-D renderings of what the space may look like to help you visualize what the completed project will look like
· Preliminary Construction Cost Analysis: We use cost estimating guides and our previous project experience to calculate our estimates.  We can also invite contractors to review our estimate or provide their own.

Here is our flyer:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Video Collage of our 18 years in business!

Here is a quick video collage that we made or our past projects:

Steve Martin Plays Silly Architect in Movie "It's Complicated"

I watched a movie over the weekend called "It's Complicated", in which Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin play a divorced couple that have an affair.  The only problem is that he left her years ago for a younger woman whom he is currently married to.  So amid the affair, Meryl Streep's character tries not get attached by trying to continue on in the dating world.  She begins to date her architect, played by Steve Martin, who is designing her home addition.  Although I enjoyed the movie, I could not help but chuckle to myself how this architect was portrayed.

After their initial meeting where Martin comes to Streep's house to review the progress of the plans, they decide to meet again the following week to go over some notes that she has.  OK.  This is perfectly normal.  However, in the following meeting, Martin surprises her by laying out the addition in her yard with stakes and tape and even blocks out the location of the dining room table.  He then has her walk up a ladder that he has set up so she can see what her new view will look like.  This made me laugh because, I'm sorry to say this, but architects are professionals.  We do not "surprise" our clients with additional services.  However, I am willing to overlook this for the sake of the movie because at this point, Martin's character is clearly going out of his way to woo Streep.

The next bit that made me laugh, which I see all too often on in Hollywood's portrayal of architects, was the architect's office.  Of course it is full of young professionals drafting away at their tables using rulers and drafting brushes.  Visit any architecture firm today and you will be lucky if you can even find a drafting brush.  Everything is computerized.  I suppose it is more romantic to think that architects still do everything by hand.

And lastly, there was one more owner/architect interaction that would never happen in real life.  In the final scene, a group of workers arrive at Streep's house to begin construction.  At this point, Streep and Martin's characters have broken up, so she is more than pleasantly surprised to see him emerge from the group and give her a smile and a wink.  Let me just say, I can not think of a reason why an architect would be at the site for the first day of construction for a home addition.  Architects are rarely retained for any construction services on residential projects, so to be there on the first day is really going above and beyond.  I'm sure he is going to be really helpful watching the excavators dig the foundations.

On a side note, this is not the first time that Steve Martin has played an architect in a movie.  Here is a still from him in "Housesitter":

Again, not a single computer in the office!  Of course, I am sure that there are many other professions that are inaccurately portrayed on tv and in movies.  I have to say that I do enjoy watching these portrayals, they always give me a good laugh!

-Nicole Corbett

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from everyone at Robert Juris & Associates!

Bat Juris

Haunted Home Addition!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Porches and Decks

One area of work that we have seen an increased demand in the last few years is in porches, decks and balconies.  Of course we have always had clients hire us to design these elements either as an addition to their existing home or as part of their new custom home.  The new client that has emerged is the home owner or land-lord that wants us to inspect and/ or re-design their existing porch that may be unsafe.  Unfortunately, there have been some porch collapses through-out the Chicago-land area in the past few years.  Some building departments are considering adopting new codes and inspections to help prevent this.  The City of Chicago has already adopted a porch code to help ensure that all new porches are designed and built to proper standards.  Below are a few examples of our work in this area, hope you enjoy!
This is a rear deck addition for a home in Wisconsin.

This cedar porch and balony was part of an addition to the existing house and was designed per the Chicago Porch Code.

This is an example of a porch with exit stairs that we designed for an apartment building to meet the Chicago Porch Code

Thursday, August 26, 2010

RJA featured in Frankfort Chamber of Commerce Member Spotlight

Home Addition and Remodeling completed in Palos Park, IL

This month we are highlighting a single-family home addition and remodeling project that just completed construction in Palos Park. Because of the housing market, we are having more clients come to us to remodel or add on to their existing house rather than attempt to sell and move. Special thanks to Brent Ludwig of our office for heading this project.

Bob Juris
Robert Juris & Associates




As you can see from the photos, this house got quite an updated look with new siding, a re-designed front entry, and entirely new roof that allows for vaulted ceilings. The addition to the rear of the house is approximately 1200 square feet, which includes a new great room, covered patio, breakfast room, mud room, powder room and remodeled kitchen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Historic Wind Mill Renovation

This month we are highlighting a project that was a lot of fun for us to work on. The Henry A. Rathje Wind Mill in Peotone was built in 1872 and is constructed entirely of rough sawn wood. We were hired to document the existing building so the historical society can use the drawings for promotional purposes. We also designed new stairs from the second to fourth floors so the mill can be available for public viewing. The methods and craftsmanship that went into building this mill are truly amazing! Special thanks to Nicole Corbett of our firm for her help in climbing around inside the mill for field measuring.

Bob Juris
RJA Documentation of the Existing Peotone Mill

Inside the Existing Mill

Exterior View of the Mill. The propellers have broken off since they are not in active use.

The Peotone Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Will County Register of Historic Places. For more information, you can contact The Historical Society of Greater Peotone at 427 W. Corning Ave P.O. Box 87 Peotone, IL 60468.

RJA on Facebook!

Do you Facebook? Now so do we! Follow this link to become our fan:

Golf Outing

Bob Juris has partnered with Denny Deckinga of VR Builders to co-chair this year's Frankfort Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Outing. The event will be held on Friday, July 16, 2010 at Green Garden Country Club in Frankfort, IL. Mark your calendars for this great event!

Medical Offices

This month we are highlighting an area of work that you may not know we have experience in - medical architecture and design. Often times this area of design gets a bad rap because medical offices can be thought of as being drab, sterile spaces. In these projects, however, we worked with the clients to create warm and inviting spaces which can help ease patients' anxiety and lead to a more positive experience. Hope you enjoy!
Bob Juris

We recently completed two medical office build-outs here in Frankfort. An oral surgery center in the Brookside Commons Office Park and Dr. Dubravec's periodontic/ dental office in Abbey Woods. As you see from the photos, extra attention was given to the design and material selection to create warm and inviting spaces.

Oral Surgery Center - Waiting and Reception Area

Oral Surgery Center - Entry and Waiting Area
Dr. Dubravec's Office - Reception Area

How Can 3-D Help You?

The practice of architecture has changed a lot over the years. Gone are the days of Mike Brady at his drafting table with a T-square and pencil. Instead, we use cutting edge technology for to save time and better communicate with our clients. For the past few years, we have been using 3-D modeling software as a design tool and the result has been phenomenal. The software has become so easy to use that even I can do it (although I usually leave that to my expert staff!) This allows for these renderings to be created quickly and cost effectively. Please see below some examples of this software at work.
Robert Juris
Robert Juris & Associates, Ltd.

We have used 3-D modeling software in a variety of ways, which helps us better communicate with the client what the finished product will look like. Whether the project is residential or commercial, new construction or a remodeling, almost all of our clients can benefit from this service. Below are some examples of how using color 3-D models helped the design process. Can you think of a way that seeing a 3-D model would benefit you?

Corporate Interior
For this project, the 3-D model helped the client see what their new interior build-out would look like. The rendering of the new reception area was particularly helpful in demonstrating the human scale.

New Residence - Color & Material Selection
For this project, once the layout of the house was determined, these 3-D renderings helped the owners select colors and materials for their new home.

Residential Addition
For this project, the 3-D model helped the client to see almost exactly what their new second story addition would look like.

Apartment Building Marketing Materials
OK, so this one is not in 3-D, but it was created using the same software. The apartment managers use these plans in brochures and on their website to display the various floor plan layouts they offer.

RJA Continuing Education

Bob and Brent recently attended a presentation on specifying gypsum board for fire-resistant ceilings & wall assemblies, and noise proofing products.
Fast Fact: Did you know that gypsum board makes an effective barrier to fire because of its inherent water content that becomes steam during a fire?

Office Build-Out Complete

Robert Juris & Associates recently designed an interior office build-out at the President's Row Office Park in Frankfort, IL. Initially the suite was completely empty and just a shell. In the build-out we added a reception area, two private offices, open office area, an additional toilet room and kitchenette.

Parks Conference a Success!

Robert Juris & Associates exhibited a the annual IPRA/ IAPD Illinois Parks Conference last month. It was great to have so many people stopping by our by our booth - both previous clients and potential new ones. This is a photo of Bob with Larry Piekarz, Executive Director of the Park District of Forest Park. RJ&A worked with the Park District of Forest Park to add on to their Administration Building (shown in the picture directly behind them). You can tell by the smiles on their faces that they are happy with the results!

To see more photos from the conference, please visit our Facebook Page

Direct link to gallery:

Message from Bob Juris

We got a really great response from our first company newsletter last month. In addition to starting this email newsletter, we have also created a Facebook Page. There you can find the most current photos of what we have been up to. Does your company have a Facebook page? If so, please let us know so we can add your page to our favorites! Also, please feel free to send us any other comments, questions or feedback, we would love to hear from you! Thanks for reading.

Brent Ludwig, LEED AP

We are proud to announce that Brent has become a LEED Accredited Professional. A self proclaimed 'tree-hugger', Brent drives a hybrid car and strives to save energy (and the earth) whenever possible. Contact him today to discuss your sustainable design needs!

RJA at Historic Preservation Seminar

Nicole Corbett recently had the priviledge to attend a seminar on one of her favorite subjects - Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Preservation Systems. Big thanks to LONCO Engineering for hosting a great event!

Restoration Architects

Did you know that Robert Juris & Associates is a pre-qualified vendor with State Farm insurance? We have completed restoration projects throughout the Chicago-land area. The photo here shows the before and after of a house damaged by fire, and in this case the owner decided to add a second story addition as part of the re-construction.
Our Restoration Services Include:

Fire Restorations
Structural Renovations & Repairs
Masonry Restorations
Code Updates
Existing Conditions Reports & Recommendations
Permit Drawings

Residential Not Dead!

While residential construction has definitely slowed down this year, we are staying alive! The house pictured on top is a new home currently under construction in Mokena, IL. The bottom picture shows an addition under construction in Frankfort, IL. Both homes should be finished in the spring. Because of the slowed economy, home owners are getting more competitive prices from contractors and saving BIG! This is a great time to build, call today to discuss your residential design needs!

Entry Addition Complete

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District's Marie Irwin Center received a face-lift this winter. The old covered entry roof was not properly displacing water from the roof, which made the entry area wet, slick and dangerous. The new gable roof sheds water away from the walkways and creates a more prominent entry. Thanks to everyone involved for a smooth and successful project!

Message from Bob Juris

This is my first attempt at a company blog, and I hope in doing so I can keep in better contact with you. We have several exciting projects on the tables here that I hope you will take the chance to read more about. We are fortunate to perform a wide variety of work and you might be surprised to find out what we have been up to! Thanks for reading and I hope that you will think of us for your next project.


Robert Juris
Robert Juris & Associates, Ltd.