The Process


During the Predesign Phase, we collaborate with the Owner to assess the circumstances and anticipated hurdles of the project. We research building codes and uncover existing conditions that could impact budgets and schedules as the project progresses. Together, Architect and Owner define the project program. This phase is complete when an agreement is reached as to the scope of work, budget, and schedule.

CONSIDERATIONS:  What are your goals for this project? How will the building be used now and how can we design for the future? Is incorporating sustainable design important to you? What is your budget? Is it realistic?

Schematic Development (15%)

Schematic Design establishes the conceptual design of the project, scale, and relationships between various project components. The goal at this stage is to reach a clearly defined and feasible concept. To communicate the intent of the design, we prepare a set of rough plans for the Owner, called schematics, outlining the building on its site and the room arrangement. City planning officials, land surveyors, engineers, and landscape architects may be consulted at this stage.

Design Development (20%)

Once the Owner approves the schematics, we begin expanding upon the studies, further developing the floor plans, sections, and elevations to establish the building’s relationships, forms, size and overall appearance. An outline of specifications is prepared that includes major materials and room finishes. Building codes are assessed to ensure compliance. We also collaborate with engineers at this stage to elaborate on the building structure and its electrical and mechanical systems.

Construction Documents (40%)

Upon Owner approval of the Design Development phase, we begin preparing detailed construction drawings (formerly called blueprints) and specifications. The Contractor uses the drawings and specifications to determine the actual construction cost and to build the project. Ongoing communication and collaboration with engineers and system designers is an integral part of the Construction Documents phase.

Bidding & Negotiation (5%)

In this phase, the Owner hires a Contractor. We can assist in this process by preparing bidding documents, invitations to bid, bidder instructions, contract conditions, and the Owner/Contractor form of agreement.

Construction Contract Administration (20%)

During Contract Administration, we represent the Owner’s interest, administering the contract between the Owner and the Contractor. We make site visits to observe construction and see that the project is being built according to our plans and specifications. Additionally, we process change orders and can review and approve the Contractor’s Requests for Payment, while keeping the Owner apprised of the project’s progress. Near the end of construction, we perform a “Punch List” to direct the Contractor’s work toward completion prior to your final payment to him or her.

Hiring an Architect

The American Institute of Architects published an informative guide to finding and working with an architect. Click here to open a PDF of the booklet.

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