Step 1: Getting to Know You – Browse our Standard Plans, or tell us your thoughts on a custom design
Our first goal is to listen to what you want and answer your questions. Some of our most popular home, barn and garage plans are shown on our web site. These are starter plans that might be perfect as they are, need minor changes or modifications, or they may form the seed of a custom plan. We are happy to modify or customize any of our standard plans to suit your particular needs. And if you don’t see exactly what you want, just ask! We have been designing and building custom homes, barns and garages for over 40 years. Every one of our homes and barns is designed with that customer’s requirements in mind; even if it is a “stock” plan we can modify and tweak the design until it’s “just right” for you.
Step 2: Initial Consultation and Design review
We get together – in person, or via phone or video call – to discuss your ideas, your site, potential costs and appropriate contracting methods. When we know where you want to go, we can guide you through plans and options to pick the best fit for you and your budget. Brooks Post & Beam is not a general contractor, but we work closely with your general contractor, and the three of us- customer, G.C. and Brooks design team- collaborate on the final design and construction schedule. We can give you some cost estimating guidelines, and let you know what to expect for production scheduling and final delivery.
Step 3: Commit to a set of Construction Drawings – the Design Contract
Once we have established a plan for you (stock, modified, or custom), we prepare a Design Contract for a full set of plans for permitting, financing, and construction. This is not a commitment to schedule or produce a timber frame package by either party.
If you are buying one of our Standard Plans, the design deposit is 2.5% of the package cost (hybrid plans are 5%). The plan package includes a complete set of architectural and structural plans, timber frame drawings and specifications. The Design deposit fee for Standard Plans, less any drafting fee for modifications, is applied towards the cost of the home package. We do this because these are existing designs that have shop drawings and other background work already completed. They are also mostly simple layouts, and therefore relatively easy to fabricate. Custom Plans take a bit longer to develop and have a few more steps in the process. The custom design fees are based on a very reasonable cost per square foot of finished and unfinished floor space. Custom design fees are not applied to the cost of the project.
The Plan Package for homes also includes our renowned Owner’s Manual, which covers all phases of construction- siting your house, preparing the site, getting bids, developing drawings and specifications, acquiring adequate insurance, carpentry details, plumbing, wiring, heating, finishes, SIPs and much more. Here’s a “teaser” of the Owner’s Manual: View PDF
Step 4: We complete your Construction Drawings – the Design Process
A comprehensive set of Construction Drawings and specifications are the key to a successful project. Your drawings are a form of contract that defines the scope of work, and from which your subcontractors calculate their costs, order materials, and locate building components. Whether you are going with one of our standard plans or a custom design, we want your experience to be exciting and fulfilling, secure that you have a realistic budget and a timely schedule.
We start the Design Process with floor plans, elevations, building sections and 3D renderings to help you visualize your plan. You will usually receive at least one preliminary or schematic plan to review and provide feedback, followed by a Check Set of plans for final review. We will engage with you throughout this process, and we encourage you to ask questions and share your ideas.
The final Plan Package includes a complete set of Building Plans for permitting and construction. This includes floor plans, elevations, sections, details, foundation plan and structural framing plans where necessary (Electrical, plumbing or HVAC plans are not included). The Plan Package also includes a complete set of Timber Frame plans – post plan, joist & rafter plans, frame sections, elevations and 3D views. If required by your local building authorities, we will submit the final plans to our engineering partners for review and stamping.
We will require the customer to accept the completed plans before we will schedule a production slot. The reasons for this are to ensure that the customer has reviewed the plans with the contractor and the building code authorities; that they are comfortable with the projected cost of the project; and to confirm that there are no major permitting or site issues which could delay the project or force a major design change.
Step 5: We Schedule Production and Fabrication
Once the customer has accepted the plans, we draw up a Frame Contract, which is a schedule and production commitment. We will ask for a small non-refundable Schedule Deposit up front, to hold a place in the production calendar. When we get within 3 months of the scheduled production date, we will invoice for a Material Deposit; once production commences, the payments for frame and panel production (and installation, if applicable) will be due. These payment terms vary by job and are fully defined in the individual Frame Contract. During this production period, we will coordinate with you and your General Contractor on the planned delivery schedule and any job specific requirements. Panel plans for fabrication and installation of the SIP panel enclosure are provided for review upon approval of the floor plans and confirmation of window and exterior door locations and sizes. The panel plans include plan and elevation views of all wall and roof panel surfaces, with reflected timber frame profiles and fully dimensioned window and door openings, roof overhangs and wall and roof construction details.
Step 6: Delivery and Construction:
Finally, the day for delivery and raising has arrived! When the frame and panel fabrication is complete and we have received your final payment, we prepare the Timber Frame and Panels for shipping along with any other additional materials included in your contract. By this time, we will have reviewed the unloading requirements, raising plan and construction sequence with you and your contractor.
If we are providing your frame as a kit, your “toolbox” is built and filled with purchased and/or rented tools, fasteners, pegs, shop drawings, final plans, assembly plans, checklist and bill of lading for the trucking company. You will have copies of the Construction Manuals for your project – whether house, barn, or other structure. You will also have links to our video tutorials and resources. Once your truck arrives, we load it up and notify you that it’s on its way!
If you are in our local New England area, we may be able to erect the frame and install the panels for you. Otherwise, we will make sure you have phone support from our expert team of craftsmen and builders to guide you through the construction process. We plan to stay involved and in touch during the entire project, because we take great pride in our work and in our customer’s satisfaction.
Step 7: Follow up and Follow through:
We recognize that erecting the timber frame and installing insulated panels is only the beginning of the construction process. We will remain available to you and your builder throughout the process, to answer any questions and to offer suggestions on construction details, materials, and finishes. And we hope that you will invite us back when the project is complete so that we may take photos of your completed project for our photo gallery!
What Sets Us Apart?
To set us apart from the “crowd” I would like to point out a couple of benefits to working with Brooks Post & Beam.
We “draw-bore” our frames – Draw boring eliminates the need to pull the frame together with multiple straps and come-alongs. The timbers are pulled tightly toward plumb and square with much less effort while increasing the stiffness of the frame
We erect many of our frames ourselves – The same craftsmen that cut your frame also erect multiple frames a year, providing immediate feedback on the quality of our shop work and the ease of the frame raising. Whether we erect the frame or cut a kit for you, we cut our frames to go together quickly and simply from what we’ve learned in the field over the years.
We maintain a large timber inventory – We carry thousands of board feet of timber instead of just ordering what we need for your frame. This gives us the ability to quickly replace a piece that might be flawed, damaged, or on rare occasions: cut wrong! We replace flawed pieces quickly with our onsite inventory avoiding the temptation to “make do” or delay progress waiting for a new timber from the sawmill.
We have over four decades of Timber Frame experience – We have been improving our product for almost 50 years now. For example, the use of spline joinery is common today and our SIP panel wire chase detail is now employed my multiple panel manufacturers across the country. There are “copycats” out there that duplicated our process years ago. But we continue to innovate, adapt, and improve our methods and materials with changing times and requirements. Perhaps most importantly, we treat our craftsmen well and turnover is rare; our framers use their average of 25 years’ experience each to produce high quality frames quickly, providing you the best “bang for the buck”.
We have over four decades of Design experience – We have been designing and building timber frame homes and barns for almost 50 years, and we know what works (and what doesn’t). We have the know-how and experience to guide you through the process. For example, we plan out all the necessary plumbing, HVAC and mechanical chases in advance, and consult with your contractors whenever possible. We have proven, thoughtful solutions to many of the most common design or construction issues. We focus on the whole project, not just on the timber frame.
We are your guides to the realization of your dream! Our design services, online video tutorials, building guide, Owner’s Manual and willingness to answer all your questions helps you make your way through the thousands of little decisions you need to make to turn your dream plan into reality while staying on budget.
There are many great companies across the country, but we feel we offer a unique combination of value and experience as a result of our ongoing pursuit of efficient and affordable timber frame production.