fbpx Skip to main content

Getting Started

If you’re like most people in Northern Virginia and surrounding areas, improving your quality of life is the main reason you’re considering remodeling your home.

Engaging a talented, integrated firm that will understand your aesthetic sensibilities is likely your first hurdle.

How will you discern and choose a firm with the design and construction capabilities and processes to usher you from a preliminary thought to an exquisite conclusion?

Our proven design-build delivery process has benefited clients for over 35 years by helping them achieve extraordinary results from their home remodeling projects.

Learn more about our design-build approach and how to plan for a major home remodeling project.

Design build in Northern Virginia


Our streamlined design-build process takes you from preliminary ideas through construction completion in three simple phases and two follow-up stages.

This is, perhaps, the most deceptively important phase of the design-build process. Your design vision, whether specific or vague, is our architect’s primary concern.

  • The design team measures the applicable areas of the existing house and produces as-built drawings.
  • Existing site conditions are evaluated and recorded.
  • Zoning, easement, and environmental issues are evaluated.
  • Your Architect and kitchen and bath designer use a combination of hand sketches, renderings, and computer drawings to produce design comps.
  • Ballpark costs for construction and budgets for interior finishes are established.
  • Designs and accompanying ballparks are presented for your review and comment.
  • Revisions are made to meet your needs, budget, and aesthetic sensibilities.

After the initial design and budget have been established you’re given a slot on our construction schedule that coincides with completion of the remaining design detail work.

  • A subcontractor meeting is held at your house so that project craftsmen, with architectural plans in hand, can evaluate and troubleshoot their areas of responsibility.
  • Kitchen and bath designers work closely with you to complete the design of the interior spaces.
  • Any major structural engineering issues are addressed.
  • Any zoning or environmental site issues are resolved.
  • Options you may be considering are decided upon.
  • A final project cost is determined.
  • All project documents are reviewed with you.

The final phase of the project includes all aspects of the design-build process, including the following:

  • Construction Documents are assembled and completed.
  • Permit documents are prepared and submitted to the county reviewer.
  • Specialty items such as windows, cabinets, stone, etc. are ordered so they arrive when needed for installation.
  • Before the actual construction begins, your project manager conducts a formal review process of all project information in our office and at your home.
  • A pre-construction conference at your home puts you and your project craftsmen on the same page for all on-site particulars, which include the location of dumpster and delivered materials; where the job-log will be posted, hours of operation, whether there are pet considerations, timing of demolition, and many other items.
  • Start of construction – for many projects this means demolition, while for others it means excavation and masonry work.
  • Construction progresses per the construction schedule through completion.
  • During the last week or two of work, you will perform a Walk-through and punch list preparation and completion.

Our client relationship continues beyond completion of the Three-Phase Design-Build Process. Commonwealth will perform a free, one-year tune-up where issues such as the following are addressed: separation of seams in trim due to shrinkage are caulked and touched-up; separation of woodwork and cabinetry due to shrinkage is repaired; cabinet doors and drawers are operating properly; interior doors and hardware are balanced and close properly; etc.

At the close of your project, Commonwealth will prepare a Warranty Binder including final inspection documentation, a copy of the building permit, a warranty certificate and applicable product warranties. We stand behind our services and provide all clients of the firm a 2-year workmanship warranty.

Residential architect and Commonwealth co-owner Susan Pierce, discusses the importance of considerations like traffic flow, curb appeal, and balancing functional and aesthetic design in home remodeling and new design projects.