Working with us: FAQ

“Good designers like these actually pay for themselves – more than once. You will reap the reward and the building will be hugely better and deliver much better value”

Kevin McCloud

Why does it make sense to work with Orla Studios to design our new house?

  • We help you refine your ideas. We are trained at grasping a space in its entirety in order to synchronise different sections with each other and to create a flow
  • We can propose new options
  • We will visualize your ideas for you in plans and also 3D
  • We highly recommend you retain us for the whole construction project on site. We are already familiar with the design and understand what needs to be achieved. We will ensure that the ideas will get implemented properly and with care
  • We will guide you through the design, planning and construction process whether you are constructing a new building or adapting an existing property
  • We add value, whether from maximizing light and space, adding functionality, or achieving the best return on your investment
  • Our strategic approach to high performance building helps guide every step of the design process


Bathhouse at Solage, designed by Orla while at Backen Gillam.


What is our first step?

Put together a list of what you would like to achieve with the project. Focus on what you want to achieve, noting down all your requirements and highlighting any problems that need solving. Think in terms of how you will use the space now and in the future, rather than what needs to be built.
You should also try to establish your overall budget. This will help you discuss costs upfront with the us and avoid disappointment at a later stage.

We will propose solutions and develop your brief into a design that reflects your aspirations.
If you’ve plenty of room to expand, we’ll help you maximize the potential. If it is more constrained, we can conjure extra space, imagining solutions or reconfiguring existing layouts to realize your lifestyle plans.
We will guide you though the regulatory process, helping to secure all necessary planning and permits. We can also help you select your builder and supervise the build through to completion, assuring the quality of workmanship and ensuring your money is well spent.


What are the stages in the project?

Stage 0 / 1
Preparation and Brief
This is the most important part of the project and where the we feel we can add real value.
We will undertake some preliminary appraisals to assess the options and feasibility of the project. This can range from a sketch design solution to a full feasibility study and will enable you to decide on the best way forward.
We will identify the need for any approvals and other consultants, most commonly a structural engineer.


Stage 2 Schematic Design
Using the initial project brief we will present a number of initial concepts for you to choose from. We will also liaise with local planners as a priority.
The final design brief should reflect your aspirations and provide you with a home that adds value and improves your quality of life.



Stage 3
Design Development
We will spend more time at this stage transforming ideas into something that can be built. This includes coordinating the work of other consultants into our design.
The design proposals will then be submitted for planning approval, if required, this is dependent on the codes in the municipality you reside in.

interior elevations

Stage 4
Technical Design: Construction Documents
We  prepare the technical drawings and a specification that will be used to price and construct the building. Consultants can include structural engineers, civil engineers and sometimes lighting designers. Title 24 engineers are hire to do an evaluation of the energy use of the building and ensure it complies with state energy codes, required for permit.

We submit for a building permit with the coordinated drawings from our consultants.
We can then invite and appraise pricing from builders and administer the building contract on your behalf.



Stage 5
Throughout the construction phase, we will do construction observation and oversee your contract with the builder, carry out regular site observations, deal with queries, instruct any additional work required, monitor progress on site, keep track of cost, value the works and certify payments due to the builder.

Forms and rebar prior to placement

Ed Faubel, above, of Faubel Construction working on our Belvedere Lagoon New House

Stage 6
Handover and Close Out
When the project is ready to handover, we will make a final inspection and certify completion.
We will be available after handover and during any defects period to arrange for certifying the final payment


Salesforce tower in the distance above! Belvedere Lagoon project

Smaller Project? No Problem.

Every project is slightly different and we work out details with our client as to what works best to prepare a solution for each client.


Wine Country Remodel Above with EV Construction

Orla Studios is accustomed to working with clients on smaller projects and projects that require less “basic services.” No problem!
And, of course, YES! It is a VERY GOOD IDEA to work with us when designing your home!

Will you come with us to help us pick out land?

Yes, absolutely, it is so important to pick the best site for you based on your lifestyle and the way you want to live in your home. We love to be involved and will help you make the right decisions on which site is best for you to build on.

See the source image