Please email first so that we may set up a phone conversation. As you can imagine ,with a name like mine, I get allot of erroneous phone calls. Thank you for your understanding me not listing my phone number here.
Life Span Home Designs mission is to provide aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, healthy home and commercial building design.
We strive to work with you and your specific site by providing accessible, age friendly, healthy and sustainable home and commercial building design.
Image photo of Mr. Charles M. Schwab on the back Universal Designed Homes book back cover
Image of Charlie Schwab Home Designer and Architect
Life Span Home Designs LLC is a building design and drafting service. Home plans from the plan book, as well as custom home plan designs are created with this name in the construction drawing title block.
Life Span Home Designs LLC is a design and drafting service and is not a licensed Architecture firm. This allows procurement of the access/ UD plan service in states where an Architects seal is not required. When it is required, we work with local/state Engineers or another Architect of record in that state. We work with a structural Engineer in Florida who is licensed in southern states where hurricanes and tornadoes are more common. See the disclosure below for more on this topic.
We offer the following services in line with your needs and location requirements and codes.
Custom Home design: consultation, construction documents and construction administration for both new homes, renovations and home-modifications.
Stock home plans: included in the plan book above. Revisions are provided per your building site and unique requirements.
Home-modifications, remodels and additions with inclusive and energy efficient construction. We can work with photos and dimensions and are often able to do this long distance when you are located around the country. For larger projects a site visit is recommended and a proposal will be procured.
Multi-family building design and construction documents. These require compliance with the Fair Housing Act and are site specific.
Commercial building designs: In the state of Iowa, these must be 10,000 sq.ft. or less and one story without the required Iowa Architect's seal. These commercial projects are always designed with ADA compliance and adhere to required energy codes. Additional "green"components and building systems such as SIPS and ICF's can be an option at your request. We have experience with all of these.
Phone or meeting consultations pertaining to your specific project. The length of time will depend on the specifics of your project ,to be determined. Please call for an estimate and how you would like to communicate. We can connect electronically or meet in person to review your goals, ideas and program if you have one. We will help you create a home build program if you do not have one.
There are numerous additional needs for building design. Please feel free to ask and inquire about any and all of your needs so I, Charles Schwab, may be of greater service to you.
Caregiving experience inspires the book with healthy and home access ideas.
Upon his return from Colorado (see below), he lived with and was a caregiver for his Grandfather. It was after his Grandfather suffered a series of strokes that Charles realized most American homes do not meet the needs of the elderly or most anybody with a physical disability.
He came to believe it was nearly impossible to live one's entire life in their own home.Since 1992, Charles has been specializing in the universal designing process. He is an active proponent of sustainable building practices, healthy materials, clean air, water conservation and energy efficient and storm resilient home and commercial building design.
While completing the written portions of the book,in February 2003, Charles had a bike accident that left him with a shattered left humorous and an eventual prosthetic metal implant. He found his own home (not of his design) to be difficult to use, even with this type of non-mobility, none the less, acute injury.This experience, along with being a caregiver for his Grandfather, has convinced Mr. Schwab of the importance of universal designing for housing that encourages independent living for people of all ages and abilities.
His experience with energy efficient building and green building practices has convinced him that the combination of the two traditionally separate philosophies (up to this time in 2003) of design and practice is the preferred housing model for the 21st Century.
These experiences provided fuel for the AHA moment and conception of TheUniversal Designed "Smart" Homes plan book.The plans merge universal design and sustainability in home construction.
In 2003 Charles wrote, designed and published America's first accessible, universal designed and sustainable home plan book. The 1st edition was 52 plans published in 2003, the 2nd edition was72 plans and the 3rd edition was published in 2005 with 102 plans.
Mr. Schwab is working to design and inform so that accessible and sustainable homes are available. He enjoys working with people of all ages and abilities and anyone who wants to stay home for a lifetime with independent living.
Charles continues to be an advocate and design Universal Design and energy efficient housing. He contributed to EP/Exceptional Parent magazine and others. He wrote for PN Magazine on a bi-monthly basis in a column titled Around the House from 2000 to Jan 2017. PN is the official magazine for the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He has contributed to Home Healthcare and others.
The plan book has also been featured in The WallStreet Journal,New Mobility Magazine, Ultimate Home Design Magazine, Quest Magazine, Canada's Abilities magazine and dozens of newsletters.
Charles is a graduate from The College of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado in Boulder with focus on Architecture and German. He also studied twelve months at The University of Regensburg, in Regensburg (Bavaria) in what was then "West" Germany. He traveled throughout Europe studying Renaissance Art and Architecture.
He spent much of his time sketching and watercolor painting while traveling. While attending the University of Regensburg all courses were studied in the German language.
Upon graduation from CU Boulder Co.in 1984, Charles lived and was mentored by some of Colorado's best and well known Architects as an intern architect in Aspen. He assisted in custom residential, and hotel design and detailing and construction administration. He also gained significant experience with historical remodels and working with neighborhood and local approval processes.
Mr. Schwab's first complete set of construction and detail drawings and while a project manager was created while working as the Architect-intern on the Aspen Center for Environmental studies (ACES), under award winning Architect Tim Hagman AIA. This project is located on Hallam Lake ( the building "floats" in the marsh) in the heart of Aspen. The building was and AIA Colorado, award winner and features accessible, sustainable and passive solar design and construction with additional green products and details.Known as ACES, Hallam Lake, it is open to the public daily in Aspen and serves as an elementary education resourse as well as a bird and wildlife sanctuary.
In 1987 while working as an Architect in training for the award winning Aspen firm of Hagman -Yaw Architects. He worked with the team for several years completing construction documents for The Aspen Ski Company Hotel.
In 1987 Charles worked under the employ of Charles Cunniffe Architects AIA. as an Intern Architect. Mr. Schwab worked with Mr. Cunniffe for several years on various new homes and remodels as well as light commercial pro jects. In 1992 he returned to the Midwest to study for his NCARB Architect exams and eventually began his own practice.
Life Span Home Designs LLC is a drafting and design service but is not a licensed architect firm in the state of Iowa. See the Iowa Architect seal disclosure statement below. Charles Schwab Architect is a different and separate business entity registered in Illinois and Wisconsin but not in Iowa. It is not necessary to be licensed in Iowa to design single family homes under 10,000 sq. ft. as noted below.
State of Iowa Code provision:
Following is a partial copy of the Iowa architect licensure regulations. Your state regulations are probably similar when a licensed Architect is not required to draw your house construction documents. Always verify if you need a seal before you purchase home plans. I always contact a local building inspector in your area prior to any agreement to be sure you would be in compliance if I assist you with designing your home.
This partial section of the Iowa statute for seal requirements in reads as follows and according to 544A.18 544A.18: "Exceptions. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, persons who are not registered architects may perform planning and design services in connection with any of the following:
1. Detached residential buildings containing twelve or fewer family dwelling units of not more than three stories and outbuildings in connection with the buildings."
The following information is paraphrased and is not a direct quote from the statute.
There are additional exemptions for a seal including approval to design commercial structures up to 10,000 sq. ft. for a one story structure or 6,000 sq. ft. for a two story structure. Agricultural structures and factory built buildings with size limitations are also allowed as part of the exemption list.