4 Ways to Nail the Design Review Process

Building a home is an exciting endeavor that requires teamwork and persistence. Part of the process is having your architectural plans approved by the Gray’s Crossing Design Review Board (DRB). For many this sounds somewhat ominous and difficult. The reality though is that the DRB process is efficient and, more often than not, a process that leads to improvements of the finished home. The DRB meets once per month and is composed of three homeowners at Gray’s Crossing and a representative from Tahoe Mountain Club who is there to provide feedback on how homes relate to the golf course. Each of the DRB members has been through the homebuilding process themselves. The DRB employs Noel Trim of Trim Consulting to serve as liason to homeowners during the process. The DRB also relies on respected local architect Nick Sonder to interpret the guidelines and provide feedback during DRB meetings.

Tip #1: Get a copy of the Guidelines and give them a quick skim. There are a number of images and ideas that can offer inspiration in the design process.

Tip #2: Make sure your architect has a copy of the Guidelines.

Design Review is essentially a two step process. Step 1 is Preliminary Design Review. This stage usually takes place when your architect has 100% of the schematic design drawings complete, but can happen earlier or later in the process as well. The architect (with or without the owner) sits down with the DRB and reviews site plans (showing grading and tree saves), floor plans, elevations and three-dimensional renderings of the design. All of these drawings are common elements of the architectural design process. At this point, DRB’s primary concerns are overall massing, building massing and ensuring that the home fits well with the topography of the lot. The DRB provides feedback and, in most cases, a Preliminary Design Review Approval. Often times this will be an approval with conditions that DRB will expect to see met in the final submittal. One of the most common misconceptions of the process is that DRB changes the design in ways that cause construction cost increases. Quite the contrary; the changes recommended can be done for little or no cost increase and greatly enhance the look and feel of the design.

Tip #3: It usually doesn’t work very well to take an existing design and drop it onto a Gray’s Crossing lot unless the lot itself is very similar to where the existing design was built.

Tip #4: When in doubt, reach out! DRB is happy to give feedback on any issue at any point in the process.

Step 2 is Final Design Review. This stage most commonly takes place when the architect has a set of plans ready to submit to the Town of Truckee building department. Final Design Review is often as simple as checking to see that the conditions of the Preliminary Design Review have been met. Noel Trim stays involved in the process throughout construction to ensure that homes are built in complete compliance with the approved plans and construction rules.

Our sincere hope at Gray’s Crossing is that Design Review is a collaborative effort between homeowners, design professionals and the DRB that leads to smart, attractive, well-built mountain homes.

For more questions, contact Tahoe Mountain Resorts Real Estate.