Designing a structure or space such as a home or business can be a complicated, challenging task for anyone seeking the ultimate blended design solution of form, function, and inevitably budget. One way to approach the entire process is to break it into smaller tasks as recommended by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Having a basic understanding of these terms and the process behind them will ensure better communication and expectations throughout the project:
This is the start of a project where information will be gathered. Each party will get to know the others personality and traits, working together to identify key elements and common goals that will later be the solution of the project. During this time the existing conditions, or development site, will be documented, researched and is subject to recommendations of testing by 3rd parties if deemed applicable.
Schematic Design (SD)
Critical thinking and collaboration will provide solutions using the information gathered in PD. Concept floor plans will take shape in the form of sketches and many conversations and meetings regarding the project. We will present our ideas and listen to client’s feedback to modify the design and incorporate evolving information as the project progresses. Changes and modifications will be fluid and the least impactful and time consuming at this phase. Time spent in this phase is a variable based on the client’s feedback rate and decision-making ability.
Design Development (DD)
Schematic sketches will turn into printed floorplans and elevations. The exterior will start to take shape, looking at roof lines, window/ door locations, and exterior patio’s/ decks. Interior and exterior details and finishes should be discussed to prepare and apply in the next phase. Basic HVAC and Electrical systems will be considered for integration into the design We will continuously modify and strive for better scale and proportions that will impact form and function. The plans will more accurately represent reality using scale, shape, and actual dimensions to convey the design concept.
Construction Documents (CD)
Building on the previous phase, the work will be documented with more focus on relaying the information to others using annotation such as notes and schedules. Interior and exterior details and finishes should be established with the drawings evolving to convey and document this information. Structural items will be established and designed to facilitate the overall design intent. These finished drawings will be used for bidding, permitting, and construction.
Although sometimes this service is provided by a general contractor, a more streamline approach is having the person that is most familiar with the project submit the plans, specifications, and applications to the local Building Department. This ensures that any question or issue that arises is addressed directly to the design professional responsible for clarification or revision (if necessary), without delay or filtering through multiple parties. As we are familiar with the submittal process, we can address and compose the proper permit application documents to the appropriate municipality departments.
Bidding & Negotiaions (BN)
We can continue our professional relations by providing insight on contractors bids, suppliers, and actual material selections. We can review budgetary items and assist the client in making the most informed decision based on the information provided. We do this by comparing bids, alternate bids, allowances, included or excluded items/ services, and overhead and profit fees to other similar bids using our experience and knowledge of past similar projects to be as informative as possible while providing recommendations.
Construction Administration (CA)
Once the project has been permitted and the contractor selected, as an additional service we can provide insight to the client and contractor on the project construction. This would include means of site visits, contractor communication, shop drawing review, owner representation and problem solving, should they arise. We cannot address the construction means or methods as this is the service of the contractor, however, we can help brainstorm and provide insight with all parties to inform the client and assist in decision making that will affect the outcome of the project.