The Lean Designer: The best way to prepare for a plan review

January 17, 2012

As many of you know by now Professional Builder is holding three days of plan reviews by some of the top designers and architects in the country during the International Builders Show. I am honored to be part of that group and very much look forward to the event. Here are some juicy insider tips to help you take advantage of the opportunity:

  1. Most people bring one plan to review. I say go for the gold and bring two. The appointments are in half hour blocks. You might find that two plans can be improved in that timeline.
  2. Bring Plans that are to scale. Personally I LOVE 1/8” scale but 1/4” scale works just as well. Having a plan that is to scale allows the designer to really understand the dimensions they are working with so that when the review is complete you end up with sketches that are accurate and can easily be translated to a CAD system.
  3. Bring an elevation or two with your plan. Curb appeal is huge and sometimes a plan can be great yet its elevation is just plain ugly and holding it back from being a top seller.
  4. Bring a plan or two from your competition. It’s important to know the context of the market you are competing in.
  5. Bring an open mind, the best way we can help you is if you are open to new ideas.
  6. Finally bring a list of goals that you would like to accomplish in the time that you spend during the review. Simple things like cost reduction, better curb appeal, better flow etc. can help us target your needs.

A little preparation can go a long way towards getting the results you want from a plan review. Look for us at the Show Village demonstration homes Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. You can book time slots with the Architect of your choice at The time slots are starting to fill up so make sure to reserve your appointment.


Todd Hallett, AIA, president of TK Design & Associates has been designing award-winning homes for more than 20 years. He spent 15 of those years working for a $50 million production building company. Todd designed all of its homes but also worked in every other aspect of the company including purchasing, development, land acquisition, product development, and operations, and was president of the company for three years. Equipped with his vast building experience and fueled by his love for architecture he left to form an architecture firm that is second to none in working cohesively with builders. Todd specializes in Lean Design and works, alongside Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development, in the trenches with builders, suppliers, and trade contractors. Todd welcomes your feedback at or 248.446.1960.


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