At Arc1 Design, we tailor each process to our client's unique needs. Once the project requirements and a budget are established, a timeline can be built. Here are some general steps that you can expect.




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The beginning of every project is an exciting time of discovery. We start with an informal conversation to promote the exchange of ideas. In this phase, we take the time get to know you and try to establish the scope of the project.


Understanding your needs and desires, lifestyle, budget, and timeline is paramount to the design process. The design will be guided by how you intend to interact with your home - how you spend time with your family, how you entertain, and how you enjoy the quiet moments. We will discuss everything with you from space allocation to sightlines, to design styles and architectural components.



Before we start designing, we must also understand the site constraints. Each site is unique and demands respect from its architecture. To fully understand the possibilities for and the limitations of your lot, we must conduct a Feasibility Study. This will show us the restrictions with respect to massing - how wide, deep and tall. In a way, the site itself will inspire the initial building concept.

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As part of our collaborative approach, you will have some homework too!


To help us understand your needs, wants and vision for your dream home we ask that you send us photos and sketches of designs you like. Additionally, we have a Home Design Questionnaire for you that will help focus your vision.


Selecting an architectural style is also an important first step, as this will define the materials we will be using. Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz are great places to look for ideas, or you can check out our Ideabook of common architectural styles.


Once the vision for your dream home is clear, we will provide you with a formal proposal, detailing our services and fees.

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After we gather all the information from the discovery phase, we process that information into a preliminary design.


We start with the site analysis and determine the optimal ways to maximize views, sunlight, and privacy. This, in turn, guides the layout and massing of the home. Planning interior spaces and exterior form happens almost simultaneously, as every component of the design is interrelated.


The preliminary design goes through numerous iterations until all the design requirements are satisfied and we are excited to finally present it to you for the first time.

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Throughout the design phase, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various design options, letting you choose the features that are most important to you.


All of our homes are designed with 3D modeling software. It allows us to show you your future home from every angle, inside and out. With 3D modeling, you will also instantly see the impact of minor changes to the overall design.


Typically, one or two small revisions are required to go from preliminary to final design. However, we will go through as many revisions as needed to fine-tune the details until you are just as excited about the design as we are.


4 - 6 WEEKS



2 - 6 MONTHS

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Having a thorough understanding of the Land Use Bylaws and the National Building Code, we are able to seamlessly navigate the permit application process. When the design is complete, we will work with your municipality to get your project approved.


Pre-Application Meeting (Optional) [3 - 4 Weeks]

For complex designs requiring bylaw relaxations, we recommend having a pre-application meeting with the city's Development Authority. This is also a good opportunity to engage community representatives and stakeholders to help identify ways that the development could enhance the community. While this step is optional, it can save time in the long run by avoiding application appeals by affected parties.


Development Permit Application [1 - 4 Months]

A Contextual Development Permit limits the design to what is allowable under the Land Use Bylaw, but can be obtained within 4 to 6 weeks. This type of permit is sensitive to the context of the community and cannot be refused by the city or appealed by the public.


On the other hand, a Discretionary Development Permit allows for greater flexibility in design, but the approval can take up to 4 months and opens the process up to appeal. With a discretionary permit, you can apply for relaxations that allow for a  third story loft, more square footage, and other design features.


Building Permit Application [4 - 6 Weeks]

Construction drawings are finalized after the Development Permit has been approved. If there are no other changes to the design, we work with you and your builder to add an electrical layout, assembly details, and engineering specifications to complete the set. This detailed set is prepared in compliance with the provincial and National Building Code, as well as the National Fire, Plumbing and Energy Code.


Your builder can then submit the final Construction Set to the city or we can submit it on their behalf and help coordinate the inspection process.

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In the Application Phase, we ask for your timely approvals for any changes that may be requested by the Development Authority. Alternatively, you can appeal the Development Authority's decision, including any conditions for the development within 21 days.


If the Development Authority's decision is appealed by you or an affected party living within 60m of the subject property, the matter will be brought before the Subdivision & Development Appeal Board. Not to worry, we will guide you through the appeal process and provide supplemental material to strengthen your case.


Sometime before the final construction drawings for the Building Permit are finalized, you will need to hire a builder. We can also help with that!

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We understand that working with builders and contractors may be new to you. With that in mind, we are here to support you throughout the construction process as well. 


Everything from builder selection to budget planning, quote evaluation, on-site design verification, and inspection coordination. We can help ensure that your project is on-time, on-budget, and built as-per-design.

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Our client-tailored process and exceptional care set us above the rest. For that reason, much of our business comes from referrals and repeat clients.


At the end of the project, we ask that you take a moment to let us know how we did and what we can do better in the future. With every project, we strive to improve our clients' experience. That is why your feedback is important to us.


Along with positive feedback, a referral is the greatest compliment that we can receive.


4 - 6 MONTHS