Ideas to Refinement

Custom design is new to many clients. You may be wondering what to expect and have questions like “Where do we start?” and “How long does it take?” I’d like to familiarize you with the steps involved in taking a project from broad ideas and goals through refinement and specification to construction and occupation. Once the contract for architectural services is signed, the process begins.

Phase One

Predesign


The goals, requirements and parameters are established so your project heads in the right direction from the start.

Key Components

Develop a list of wants and needs, set goals, and establish a budget.

(For a renovation or addition), measure, photograph and construct drawings of existing conditions.

Explore zoning and other municipal regulations as may affect the design.

Analyze the site limitations and possibilities (using a survey prepared by a surveyor or civil engineer).

Architect's Activities

Spend time with the Client and elicit input from them to develop a clear understanding of who they are and what they want from the project.

Evaluate this information in relation to the site and context of the project.

Client’s Involvement


Gather thoughts, requirements and ideas you’ve been considering, in words or pictures (Clients have often already assembled a scrapbook filled with images of spaces, looks, materials and products they admire).

Convey to the Architect any and all information that will help them to understand what it is you expect to achieve through this project.

Result

The Architect prepares a written description of the spaces, look and feel of the project, a blueprint for the blueprint if you will, as well as information about the site and regulations that may affect the design.

Phase Two

Schematic Design


The basic layout and look of the project are identified.

Key Components

Explore design possibilities in sketch form.

Evaluate potential solutions and develop one or more in plan and elevation.

Meet to review and discuss potential solutions.

Modify and develop the design until everyone agrees it represents an ideal solution.

Architect’s Activities

Distill the project’s essence from the information assembled in phase 1.

Combine skill, training, and vision to work toward an ideal design solution.

Prepare clear representations of design information for Client review.

Clearly articulate aspects of potential solutions to the Client to assist them in understanding and evaluating.

Client’s Involvement


Devote energy to understanding designs and the concepts behind them.

Ask questions, make suggestions, provide feedback.

Review information in a timely manner to keep the project moving forward.

Result

A fundamental design solution represented with simple, scaled drawings of plans and exteriors.

Phase Three

Design Development


The schematic design evolves into a building design through refinement, development and specificity.

Key Components

The interior spaces are drawn and articulated with cabinetry, fixtures, lighting and finish treatments.

The exterior elevations are refined through specific window and door sizes and placement, trim details, and finish treatments.

The palette of materials and finishes for the interior and exterior is established.

Option: a preliminary cost estimate for the project is obtained through communication with one or more prospective general contractors.

Architect’s Activities

Design interior spaces, develop plans and exteriors, create lighting and electrical layouts.

Prepare clear representations of design information for Client review.

Clearly articulate aspects of potential solutions to the Client to assist them in understanding and evaluating.

Use state-of-the-art software to generate 3D renderings of exterior and interior spaces.

See 3D Renderings

Client’s Involvement


Take the time necessary to understand the designs and concepts behind them.

Ask questions, make suggestions, provide feedback.

Review material samples and appliance and fixture selections.

Review information in a timely manner to keep the project moving forward.

Result

A comprehensive set of drawings representing plans, exteriors and interiors.

Phase Four

Contract Documentation


Key Components

Create details, schedules and specifications that describe and document the project.

Incorporate structural engineering information.

Assemble a coordinated set of comprehensive documents.

Architect’s Activities

Provide the Client with updates on progress.

Incorporate any additional design information.

Identify and interview prospective general contractors.

Coordinate activity with structural engineer and any other consultants.

Provide any additional design information in a timely manner to facilitate comprehensive resolution.

Result

The drawings and specifications that will be used to bid and construct the project.

Phase Five

Bidding and Negotiation


Solicit bids and select a General Contractor (if the project will be competitively bid).

Client may have an established relationship with a General Contractor and choose to negotiate an agreement with them in lieu of a bidding process.

Key Components

Identify and interview prospective General Contractors.

Conduct bidding process.

Organize and review bids (cost and schedule).

Award contract.

Architect’s Activities

Prepare bid packages, including bid forms, project summary and contract documents.

Present bids to Client.

Explain technical construction cost information to Client.

Discuss design implications of any items considered for adjustment.

Client’s Involvement


Provide any additional design information in a timely manner to facilitate comprehensive resolution.

Result

The drawings and specifications that will be used to bid and construct the project.

Phase Six

Contract Administration


The Architect’s involvement during construction of the project.

Key Components

Review construction for compliance with the contract documents.

Act as a liaison between Client and Contractor.

Serve as a resource to the Contractor in relation to the execution of the design.

Architect’s Activities

Provide clarification or additional information.

Review Contractor’s applications for payment and authorize as consistent with actual construction progress and the terms of the contract.

Monitor construction progress in relation to the schedule identified in the contract.

Communicate observations to Client.

Client’s Involvement


Attend Client/Architect/Contractor roundtable discussions to review progress and discuss upcoming activity.

Result

The construction as described in the contract documents is completed.