Thielsen Architects Services

Feasibility Study

Determining if a lot or piece of property is a viable building site for the custom home you envision is a vital first step. Thielsen Architects can provide professional assistance in determining the feasibility of building on a particular site. Zoning and land use restrictions, critical areas, views, access issues, and the effects of site conditions on building costs are just some of the areas where Thielsen Architects can assist you. The best time to determine the suitability of a piece of land is before you purchase it and our expertise can help you make the best purchase decision.

Site Analysis

Site analysis includes investigation of zoning restrictions, geotechnical issues, environmentally sensitive areas, microclimate, topography, and views. Examining the building site in this detail allows Thielsen Architects to design homes that fit their unique location while working within municipal zoning regulations. Land use and critical area regulations continue to become more restrictive and complex and although all architects are required to work within zoning codes and regulations, Thielsen Architects' expertise in this area allows us to routinely exceed our clients' expectations about what they can do with their property.


Thielsen Architects views the programming phase as one of the most critical in every project. During this phase we will work with you to determine the spaces you would like in your new home, define the most important relationships between those spaces, and ascertain how you will use the spaces. This process is the first step towards a truly custom home, one that meets your needs. By taking the time to carefully evaluate and discuss our clients’ needs and desires during the programming phase we are able to produce designs that capture what our clients are looking for, often in the first iteration.

Preliminary Design

Beginning with diagrams describing spatial relationships and evolving to floor plans and elevations, the preliminary design phase is usually second only to moving into a completed custom home in terms of client excitement and anticipation. Here we will take the information gathered during the programming phase and sketch plan concepts. When a scheme is chosen it will be refined into scaled floor plans. Sketch elevations and sections illustrating the conceptual vertical relationships will often accompany these plans.

Design Development

When you are satisfied with the preliminary design, the project will move into design development. With spatial relationships and requirements decided, we refine the custom floor plans, exterior elevations, and building sections. Exterior finish materials will be indicated and significant trim concepts and architectural details will be developed and shown at this time. Near the end of the design development phase, we often prepare a computer animation showing the exterior of your new home.

Advanced Visualizations

Thielsen Architects has been recognized both locally and nationally for the quality of our computer-generated images and animations. We create a 3D computer model of nearly every project we design. Thielsen Architects can also present detailed, computer-generated animations showing the exterior of your home including terrain and vegetation. These exterior animations allow our clients to more fully understand the proposed design and visualize what their house will look like when it is built. Additional views, including interior stills or animations, can be provided to allow you to better understand the design of your new home.

Construction Documents

Thielsen Architects takes pride in producing complete and accurate construction documents. Over the years we have regularly received compliments from contractors on the clarity and detail in our documents. We attempt to address all of the questions a contractor may have - before they ask them - so construction can move smoothly and efficiently. The drawings are accompanied by a Project Manual containing the project specifications and schedules which document your materials, finishes, and product selections.

Contractor Selection

Selecting the right General Contractor is an important part of a successful building project. If you do not have a contractor in mind Thielsen Architects will suggest contractors whom we believe to be a good fit for you and your project. We have had the opportunity to work with many of the finest residential contractors in the Pacific Northwest and have developed professional relationships with them built on mutual respect and the shared goal of creating the best possible home for you. We will also help you interview the contractors you wish to meet. We will then carefully review the cost estimates they submit for accuracy and completeness, allowing you to compare the contractors on an equal basis. This process will help you select the contractor whose skills and work processes best fit the requirements of your specific project.

Bidding Negotiation

Bidding negotiation begins during the contractor selection process and often continues throughout the construction phase. When a "Cost Plus a Fee" Agreement is utilized as the construction contract, Thielsen Architects typically requires multiple subcontractor bids for each portion of the project. By reviewing the bids and estimates of multiple subcontractors, Thielsen Architects is able to help you select the subcontractor who can best meet your project goals in terms of quality, budget, and schedule.

Construction Administration

When your new custom home design is complete, the construction documents are drawn and the contractor is selected, the exciting process of building your dream home begins. Throughout the construction process, we will meet weekly with you and the General Contractor to discuss the progress of the house as well as finalize decisions on finishes and details. These weekly site meetings are a chance for us to review the work of the previous week for conformance with the design intent and discuss upcoming work. Typically, it is at these meetings that subcontractors are selected and progress, in terms of budget and schedule, is reviewed.

Consultant Selection and Integration

Every project is unique, and consequently, every project will need the skills of a variety of professionals. As with general contractors, we have worked with many of the best consultants in the Pacific Northwest and can recommend firms whose unique skills would suit the needs of your project. Whether the need is for a landscape architect, a lighting designer, a home theater expert, or even a water feature designer, Thielsen Architects can help you choose the best consultants for you and your project. We will then integrate their work into your home's architecture, providing the necessary documentation and administration to build your project.