Design & Build Process

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Schedule a Design Consultation

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The Design & Build Process the Structurally Speaking Way

In 2008, Jim Brennan decided to start a company that was based on his original success working for the country’s largest deck and screened porch company in the U.S. The company that was born out of his strategic approach to all of his Raleigh-area customers is Structurally Speaking.

We tend to follow the famous principle of legendary American architect Louis Sullivan — form follows function. This sets us apart from local competition — beautiful additions are great, but if the newly-created space isn’t useful you’ve wasted your money.

It is our hope to create a striking deck, screened porch, or sunroom that will suit your individual needs first. We want to provide you with a final project that serves as a tremendous source of pride that you can show off to guests and family members. We strive to work with your home’s natural, preexisting beauty.

Our Professional Approach to Home Improvement

Structurally Speaking knows that you have a choice when you select a designer and builder in Raleigh, NC. We appreciate you partnering with us on your next deck design-and-build project. We will work to exceed your expectations throughout the entire design and building process, which includes:

  • Initial Consultation
  • Design Presentation
  • Project Construction

Avoid the average. Don’t listen to, “Tell me what you want” — let us ask you, “What do you want to achieve?” Reach out to people who are passionate about designing and building for their clients and avoid indifferent Raleigh-area designers and builders. We put our heart into our deck and screened porch designs, and our construction work shows it!

Structurally Speaking works with homeowners in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Apex, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Holly Springs and other surrounding areas. Contact our specialists to begin your next home project today!

Our Process

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3

Undertaking a home improvement project in Raleigh-Durham should be an enjoyable and fun process — not stressful! At Structurally Speaking, our owner, Jim Brennan, partners with you to simplify your life, giving your home the addition that you want and need. This all starts with a free, no-obligation consultation with Jim Brennan.

Jim always personally meets with clients — he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Initial Meeting

The first meeting is the most important step in the design and build process — it allows for the groundwork to be laid for a successful deck, sunroom or screened porch project.

We start with a detailed consultation with all of our Raleigh-area clients. Through a series of questions and examples, we focus on finding the specific functional and aesthetic goals you want to meet. Getting to know you individually helps us get a better feel for what you need and want.

After taking extensive measurements and photographs, a physical survey is taken of the area and the home itself. This process also includes the impact the project will have on the interior view of the home, since it is what will be seen most often.

Time is then taken to discuss your budget, making sure all parties have a realistic idea of what to expect. If everybody agrees, a second meeting is scheduled.

After completing the consultation step, and if the homeowner approves, we then move to the second step in our professional design-and-build process: Design Presentation

Schedule a Design Consultation

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After our free, no-obligation initial design consultation is complete, we then move to the second step in the design and build process: Presentation. Structurally Speaking offers a different approach to home improvement than you get with other builders. We design every new Raleigh-Durham deck, screened porch, or three-season sunroom with care and passion!

In-Depth Design Presentation in Raleigh, NC

We like to give Raleigh-area homeowners design choices so they can be aware of the varying options that are available to them. Our design presentation process allows us the opportunity to do the following three items.

1. Review Your Objectives: At Structurally Speaking, every deck, porch, or sunroom project we undertake revolves around what you want the design to achieve. To that end, our second meeting starts with a complete review of your functional and aesthetic goals of the building project, ensuring we meet your needs and desires.

2. Present Options: Jim then offers you at least two design recommendations, which are scaled drawings that show all elevations and viewpoints. After these recommendations are discussed, you choose the design you like the most.

3. Make Recommendations: The second meeting starts with a review of the objectives. Two design recommendations, which are scaled drawings showing all elevations and viewpoints, are presented. These scaled drawings are done with a laptop computer which allows you, the client, to actually visualize the drawings in three-dimensional clarity. After these recommendations are reviewed and discussed, the client then chooses the design they like the most. At that point, you and the designer will make any changes needed, until it is the exact design you envision on your home. Then, and only then, a decision is made as whether or not to do business and begin the final phase: Project Construction.

When a Raleigh-area homeowner decides to move forward with the plans agreed upon in the design presentation, we then move forward into the next phase of the design and build process: Project Construction.

Structurally Speaking provides high-end craftsmanship during construction of:

From the moment our specialists arrive on your property to the minute we leave, Structurally Speaking promises to be thorough, attentive, and respectful of your property. We strive to minimize the intrusion home construction projects are to you and your families’ lives — we will do everything it takes to expedite your job.

Expert Project Management in Raleigh-Durham

Our owner Jim Brennan has provided Raleigh-area homeowners with a personal approach to deck and screened porch construction for over a decade. Jim’s hands-on assistance and the quality of our carpenters is a hallmark of Structurally Speaking and our work.

Jim personally oversees every home improvement project we take on and our excellent carpenters have worked with him for years. He recognizes he is responsible for design, construction and overall execution!

Additionally, Jim provides assistance to clients dealing with local homeowner associations. We help prepare any drawings and other necessary documents regarding materials or appearance. Needless to say, we also acquire all necessary permits.

Structurally Speaking is your source for decks, screened porches, sunrooms, and more in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Apex, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Holly Springs, Garner and other surrounding areas. Contact our designers today and experience our outstanding design and building process firsthand!

Customer Thoughts

“We could not be more pleased. Jim Brennan has a gift for design, and Structurally Speaking’s crew did an excellent job of turning our vision into a reality. Their attention to detail and their overall workmanship was wonderful.

Mike Rosenthal

“I wanted to commend your team on the progress they have made. I got home late last night, and I was amazed at the progress that was made on our new deck. I was equally amazed at how much it looks like the actual diagram that we discussed!!! Awesome job!!!”

Brister Gowdy

“The deck is sooooooooooooo pretty at night with the lighting. We will really enjoy sitting on the deck this summer.”

Becky Rainey

“Deck looks great. Thanks for your work and design. I think we will enjoy this set up for years to come, it really preserves the view from the dining room window and opens up to the back yard on the upper end.”

Brian Fork

“Every design suggestion you made worked out perfectly! The size…the placement of the exit door…the little deck…and, of course, the new cedar siding on the house wall! The only piece that is a null for me is the place for my invisible grill! I hope your other customers enjoy their structures as much as I enjoy mine.”

Trudi Kappel

“Jim and the crew of Structurally Speaking were fantastic. Jim’s ideas for the design worked much better than the ones we had in mind. The work was done quickly and professionally. Our porch looks amazing and our family (especially our kids) spend most of their time there.”

Ofri Leitner

We are getting ready to add a pool to the backyard and the other day we had a landscape architect looking at the site for some design ideas.  As he stood and looked at it and turned to look back at the porch, he said: “That room looks absolutely fantastic. You must spend a ton of time out there.”

He could not believe it when I told him that it was not original to the house. (As an added side note, we had an actual architect out a few months ago to look at an addition proposal in back and he said the same thing. The interesting side note on that one was that by pure coincidence, he happened to be from the very firm that originally designed the house!)


“Structurally Speaking added a custom screened-in porch for our home. We had a wonderful experience with Structurally Speaking and use our screened-in porch all the time!! Jim has a great eye for design and included touches that make the space unique and extremely usable. He always responded promptly and dealt incredibly fairly when discussing details and costs. His crew was efficient and detail oriented. I asked him a ton of questions along the way and he was always responsive, candid, and kind. We highly recommend Structurally Speaking as a fantastic option for high-quality design and function!!”

S. McIIain

“Very happy with the results of our new deck and porch replacing our old deck which was destroyed by a fallen tree. Want to say that communication about the details from design to estimate to implementation was fantastic. Jim Brennan(and his staff) took the time to answer all our questions before, during, and after the project was completed. Would recommend Structurally Speaking to anyone wanting a new deck and or porch.”

T. Jacobs