While each project is unique, most typically follow the sequence of phases below.
Prior to beginning any design, it is necessary to establish the parameters, needs and opportunities unique to your project. This includes determining the project’s program, schedule and budget; obtaining a survey and recording site-specific information; documenting existing conditions (if the project is an addition or renovation); researching applicable zoning ordinances, building codes, design guidelines and other regulations pertinent to the project.
In some cases, clients may already know many of these things and this phase of the process is more a matter of transferring the information. However, this pre-design service is available to those clients who need the assistance.
Once the Planning + Pre-Design phase is completed, this information is used to develop and evaluate design options that address your program goals, the site’s opportunities and constraints, and your construction budget. Through an iterative design process and an evolving conversation with you, a comprehensive design solution is developed that addresses the issues outlined in the Planning + Pre-Design phase.
The result of this process typically includes a site plan, floor plans, exterior elevations and perspective views, and a general understanding of the construction methods and material selections to be used. This documentation may be provided to a General Contractor or two for a preliminary cost estimate. If necessary, the scope and quality of work may be adjusted to satisfy the your budget.
Once the Schematic Design has been approved, the project is further developed to study, refine and describe in more detail the specifics of the design. Recommendations for materials and finishes, appliances and equipment, lighting and plumbing fixtures, accessories and casework are prepared and reviewed.
Design issues pertaining to electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural and landscaping disciplines are incorporated into this phase as well. In order to ensure the design is still within budget, the Design Development Package may again be submitted to a General Contractor for pricing.
Following the completion and approval of the Design Development phase, work on the Construction Documents – the drawings and specifications used by the General Contractor to build the project – is begun. In addition to the plans, elevations and sections, these documents include pertinent architectural details and interior elevations; door and window, finish and fixture schedules; final mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural drawings; and specifications.
If needed, a limited set of drawings may be prepared in order to expedite the building permit process, allowing development of the Construction Documents to continue in parallel with the permitting process.
In cases where a client has not previously selected a General Contractor, bidding and negotiation services are available that include preparing request for bid proposals from General Contractors; reviewing and responding to requests for clarification from bidders; evaluating and comparing bid proposals; and awarding the contract for construction of the project.
During Construction Administration, an architect’s primary responsibility is to assist the General Contractor in constructing the project as specified in the Construction Documents. This includes attending site visits and issuing field reports, reviewing shop drawings, responding to requests for clarification, rejecting work that does not conform to the design intent, issuing any change orders, and reviewing pay requests from the General Contractor.