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IKB FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process?

Services & Phases

IKB's team can provide architectural design services, construction services and/or interior design services. Not all home improvement projects require all of our services and many project will have one or more phases of work proceeding at a given time. Typical phases include:

- concept/schematic design and feasibility/risk evaluation,

- detail design/construction document creation,

- permitting, ordering, scheduling, demolition and construction, and

- interior design and furnishings.

Getting Started & Concept Design

Most projects start with an initial meeting at your house (or by video or phone) to discuss what you are hoping to achieve and how IKB may be able to help. A design services proposal is prepared based on the meeting which includes the key deliverables for the concept/schematic design phase. Key goals in this first phase include:

- understanding goals and constraints;

- identifying and mitigating risks;

- aligning on functional, aesthetic, material quality and workmanship preferences;

- exploring design options and developing a proposed floor plan;

- estimating the cost and schedule; and

- optimizing/revising the proposed floor plan so we can start phase two - detail design.

Detailed Design & Construction Documents

During the detail design phase IKB works with you to select and specify all of the materials and finishes. If needed, we coordinate with the work of other professionals such as surveyors, soil, civil and structural engineers. Along with the other professionals, we help to create all of the construction documents needed for quoting, bidding and permitting. At the end of the detail design phase you will typically have a fully specified set of construction documents ready to go into permitting including a fixed price home improvement agreement for the construction work to be done in phase 3.

Permitting & Fixed Price Construction

Phase 3 starts with your approval of the fixed price construction agreement and includes managing the permit process, ordering and receiving materials, scheduling subcontractors, and the demolition and construction work needed.

Interior Design & Furnishings

IKB can also support any interior design work you may need such as designing and installing window treatments and other built-in or custom furniture or furnishings.

How do you charge?

We provide a construction cost estimate at the end of the concept design phase; we are generally able to estimate construction costs within 10% at this point.

Included in our design hours is all the work to coordinate with the city and other experts that may be required (surveyor, soils, structural, title 24 etc depending on the project). Permit costs are typically paid by us on your behalf and billed through.

By doing thorough design and planning, we offer construction on a fixed price basis and our contract includes the anticipated start date and finish date.

Construction payments are based on the completion of milestones with a holdback after final permit approval to give you confidence we will complete all the items on the punch list.

Building Permits

Each of our cities (Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Cupertino) have different rules for building. When a building permit is needed, IKB will facilitate reception of the permit. The permit is paid by the Client. IKB has completed an ADU in both Los Altos Hills and 3 others in Los Altos. 


Anticipated timeline of project from contract signing to move-in: 6-12 months; could be shorter or longer depending primarily on how fast design and permitting go, any long lead materials needed, any significant changes for COVID safety, and how easy or difficult the site is.

Who will manage my project, and does an architect stay involved?

You will have a dedicated architectural designer and project manager for the whole project as well as a dedicated construction manager who will supervise all on-site work and involve the designer/PM as needed.