Our process

Or in other words,
what's it like to work with Third Skin Architecture

I. Strategy Phase

1. Architectural Consultation
You checked our home & land exclusive packages but didn't find what you want? Let's book a first meeting via phone, Skype
or in person.

We'll discuss all your needs and goals, as well as budget, constraints, design style preferences and type of home.

2. Let's find the perfect land to build your new home
If you haven't already secured a property, don't worry.
We'll help you find the perfect plot of land for your new home.

If you've already started the search process, we can also help.
This includes checking environmental, zoning, and other regulations that may affect the design.

3. We create a roadmap for you so you know exactly what to expect
Because let's face it, building a new home is a long process that is often confusing and stressful. Particularly for overseas clients because most aren't familiar with the regulations to build a home in Portugal.

This roadmap outlines all the steps of the design and construction process. It also includes an estimate of the construction costs, architecture and other fees. Think of it as as tool to help you stay on track with the estimated timeline.

4. We discuss your financing options
Next we discuss financing options with you. We can refer you to licensed Currency Exchange companies and mortgage brokers specialized in construction financing.

They'll give you a comprehensive overview of all financing
options available.

5. It's time to make it official
It's time to make our partnership official.
This is the part of the process when we present you the architectural contract. To make sure the expectations of our working relationship are clear on all sides.
We'll ask you to make a small downpayment of 20-30%
when you sign the contract.

II. Design Phase

1. Concept Design
To get to the heart of your vision, we'll ask you a few questions that will help us design your dream home. This might include collecting images and examples of homes you like from magazines or websites like pinterest.com or apartmenttherapy.com.

This phase usually involves sketching house concepts and designing 3D house models. We'll involve you very early on in the design process, either in person or via Skype meetings.

Then we develop one or more iterations which seek to match your goals we identified in Pre-design. This includes interior and exterior design sketches. So you can visualize what your home is going to look like.

2. Green Building Solutions
We'll discuss with you affordable and smart home design options. Our goal here is to optimize the heating, cooling, and daylighting of your home. Because an energy-efficient house can save you money
on utility bills down the road.

And with our geolocated 3D model, you can also see how the position of the sun might affect your house. Because when building a new home, it is important to know where the sun will be at different times
of the day and year.

3. Design Development
Because the details aren't just the details. They make the design. The design development takes the project from ideas to 3D drawings - and your new home begins to emerge. This is the part when we refine the layout and start making firm decisions and assign materials to the major structures of your house.

We then speak with structural engineers to determine the right structural system for your home. Next we show the design to prospective builders, so they can figure out the preliminary costs.

After the design is approved, we engage a local architect. This is to guarantee you have all the necessary construction documents for obtaining a Building Permit from local authorities and appraisal by your bank, in case you are financing.

4. 3D Renderings
This is the part when we present you photo-realistic 3D renderings to illustrate the complete picture of your property.

You'll finally get a clear visual idea of what your home will look like. You'll never have to say "I didn't understand that on the plans", because you are given the capacity of fully exploring and visualizing the proposed design before you sign off on its construction.

5. Construction Documents: the right information to the right people
Construction documents serve two purposes.

First, to apply for a building permit from local authorities. Second, to help the builder accurately price and build your home.

They include the architect's drawings, landscaping, and also the final drawings (structural, mechanical, electrical, etc).

6. We help you select the right builder
Picking the right builder is the second most important decision you will make.

And it shouldn't be all about price. You should also have in mind other important factors. Like technical, financial and human resources. Because this can be the difference between a dream home and an utter nightmare.

The good news? We will guide you in finding and choosing a builder. We will help you understand how the construction bidding process works. As well as understand construction schedules and building methodologies.

Think of us as your Guide during negotiations with builders.

III. Build Phase

1. Now's the time to sign the building contract
Remember, once you and the builder sign the contract, its terms are legally binding on both of you. This contract is your assurance that your builder will complete your project on time and on budget.

We can refer you to a real-estate attorney if you wish to review your contract before signing it.

2. Construction starts
As soon as you receive the building permit, the builder begins constructing your home.

We'll then ask your new builder to use an online Client interface program, which allows real-time communication between the builder, architect and you, the client. It will also help us all with tracking budget and timeline.

3. We choose interior design finishes
Because interior design is much more than just selecting furniture.
We select the final interior design materials and finishes. Which includes things like painting finishes, floor coverings, interior design fabrics, lighting fixtures.

This is typically done by our in-house interior designer, but we can hire an outside A-list interior designer if you wish.

4. Architect visits site and Construction site inspections
The architect visits the construction site to check if your home is being built according to plans and specifications.
We sometimes bring in a local architect. Why? To guarantee regular on-site supervision and to write field-reports and recommendations.

The inspection process is separate from the builder's own supervision of the works. City inspectors or third party independent inspectors will typically visit the construction site to verify if your home is being built properly.

IV. Launch Phase

1. Landscaping
Landscape design is finalized.

The next step is installation. The lead landscape designer will oversee the process.

2. The Final Walk-Through Inspection Before Completion
You and the builder make a final walk-through to check if the property is in the conditions you agreed.

This is the last chance to make sure everything is looking
and working perfectly.

3. Have a glass of champagne to celebrate.
Once all final walk-through items are fixed, it's time to move in and have a glass of champagne to celebrate!

We'll periodically follow up with our clients to make sure they are satisfied and ensure that the home is performing as intended.