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Many of our projects are pretty straight forward.  A 12 x 24 screen room is pretty simple to visualize.  A 20 x 40 pool enclosure with mansard roof is also pretty easy to visualize.  Anyone who is familiar with Florida Patio Structures will know what these basic and rectangular structures will look like.  Things often get complicated from there however.  Structures that are not a perfectly square or are built on something other than a traditional foundation can be tough to visualize and can have many varying aspects.  In other words, you could be thinking 1 way and we could be thinking something totally different.  For this reason, general contractors, professional project managers, and architects, have their projects professionally designed before they even get bids.  This ensures that no detail is overlooked and everyone is on the same page.

Many of our projects go on without any design work beforehand, but in some instances you might want to consider having your project designed before you decide to embark on having the project completed.  Here are 4 signs you might want to hire us to design it before you even decide it is what you want.

You Need To Drill Down Ideas.  Many times I’ll meet with clients who have a dozen (or more) magazine tear outs of things they like.  This a great starting point, but things need to be whittled down.  I will usually explain options that are possible considering the scope of work and property, and options that are common and reasonable.  This might get us down from a dozen ideas to 6 practical ideas, but after that it the decision is largely based on aesthetics, which are highly personable.  To help you finalize an idea that you want, and SEE what will look the best, having your ideas designed and rendered is probably best.

When You Can’t Imagine What It Will Look Like.  Sometimes a structure is so large or unique that nothing like it has been done, and there are several ways to do it.  If the visual look concerns you, you should hire a designer beforehand.  Checkout this large pool enclosure that was rendered below.  There are seriously 10,000 ways it could’ve been done.  The owner of this property hired us to design the whole structure to get a visual idea, on what it would look like before proceeding.  The design work cost around $2,000 BUT the customer was ensured of precisely what he was getting.

When You Might Need To Coordinate Multiple Trades.  If you are going to act as a general contractor and coordinate multiple trades, such as electrical, plumbing, stucco, or block work, you should plan like a general contractor and have everything designed beforehand.  This is going to ensure that all trade contractors are bidding on and contracting for the exact same scope of work AND that the scope of work is designed to properly work in conjunction.  Let me give you an example.  Say you want to build a wood deck and do a screen room on top of that — these are very common.  We don’t build wood decks, and the carpenters that do wood decks, don’t do screen rooms, so you will need 2 separate contractors.  Here’s the catch, the wood deck needs to be built in such a way that that it can host a screen enclosure in a clean manner.  The carpenters aren’t going to know how to design the deck and layout the members to accommodate the screen enclosure.  To prevent any future issues it is best that you have the wood deck and screen enclosure designed together, before you even break-ground.

When There are Too Many Variables.  There’s more than 9 ways to skin a cat (I think that is how the saying goes at least).  On many projects there are many ways to the same thing.  Our contracts do verbalize the scope of work, however design specifics are usually at our discretion — this applies for every trade contractor.  To avoid costly change orders, during the project it is best to have everything designed beforehand, so nothing is left to discretion.

How Much Do Designs Cost?  Conceptual 3D Rendering from us starts at $300 for small structures and goes up from there.  The very large pool enclosure a few paragraphs up was around $2,000.  One question we get is “why aren’t designs free?”, so lets address that now.  We are a trade contractor and we do not factor design work into our price.  We price our projects to give the best possible on the work performed.  Technically speaking, when design elements are questionable or important, they should be designed by a separate trade (renderer or architect) before they come to for an estimate.  This is how professionally managed projects are done.  Also, once you have the design work, it is yours.  You are free to use it to solicit bids — although we hope you award us the project.  If you are interested in having design work completed, please let your project manager or estimator know!

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Corey Philip Administrator
Corey began working on screen enclosures as a teenager in 2004 after hurricane Charley devastated his home town of Punta Gorda. 7 years later, after holding positions from foreman, to sales, to project manager, while attending college at Florida Gulf Coast University, Corey and childhood friend Thomas Davis founded Gulf Coast Aluminum in 2011. With a focus on delivering an unparrelled level of service, the company has grown by leaps and bounds under their leadership. Today you’ll find Corey answering the phones In his free time Corey likes training for triathlons, running the trails at Ding Darling park on Sanibel Island, and of course, working on growing Gulf Coast Aluminum.