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15September

The Architectural Design Process


The Architectural Process includes the development of the architectural design and construction bid documents for a building. This process can run smoothly in these phases:

  • Project Planning and Programming
  • Schematic Design
  • Design Development
  • Construction Documents
  • Bidding / Negotiation Services
  • Construction Contract Administration

Project Planning and Programming

Is an inter-active process which involves participation by the Client with the Architect to ascertain the overall requirements of the project.

  • Is a problem-seeking process that seeks to identify a particular functional problem which the design process must solve.
  • Defines programmatic goals and objectives and identifies constraints and criteria for the project including space requirements and relationships.
  • Establishes the initial design concepts.
  • Identifies the constraints including the budget, the budget and the budget.

*This process lays the overall groundwork for the project.

Schematic Design

Is the initial development of the project design concept in which the Architect prepares schematic design studies consisting of drawings and other documents illustrating the scale and relationships of the project components for the Client’s approval.

  • Develops the placement of the building on the site and accommodates the locations of entry, pedestrian and vehicular circulation, and building services, etc.
  • Identifies the interior building spaces, rooms and adjacencies and establishes the “flow” of the functional floor plan layout.
  • Establishes the preliminary design style and appearance for the building exterior.

*The Schematic Design process insures that the Architect and the Client are “on the same page” with their ideas about the functional needs and wants for the project.

Design Development

Is the phase of the Architect’s services in which the Architect prepares the detailed drawings and documents that fix and describe the size and character of the entire project as to the architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical systems and building materials as appropriate.

  • Refines the design as preliminarily established in the Schematic Design and further integrates the various engineering elements within the project.
  • Identifies any Code and Review Agency requirements and evaluates the proposed design solution for compliance.
  • Further develop a review of the project costs associated with the proposed design for the Client’s review and approval.
  • Accommodates providing adjustments to the design as required to comply with the established programmatic or budgetary considerations.
  • Develops the final design drawings including floor plans, exterior building elevations, building sections and other pertinent sections and details as required to convey the overall project design concept/ project design for the Client’s approval prior to proceeding with the detailed construction drawings.

*Communication with the Architect during this phase of the project is essential so the finalized design concept can be approved to insure the project is maintained on budget and on schedule.

Construction Documents:

Once the Design Development drawings have been approved, then the Construction Documents are prepared and developed for submission for a building permit and issued to the various contractors to obtain bids for the work.

  • The Construction Documents (consisting of both the “Working Drawings” and Specifications) finalize the design and details and fully integrate the Architectural and Interior Design elements with the Structural, and Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection systems for the project.
  • In order to monitor the development of the Construction Documents, the Architect and our Engineers will conduct progress meetings at key milestones and will coordinate all disciplines.

*Once completed, the Construction Documents will provide the proper information to secure the Contractor’s bids and to receive the Building permit.

Bidding / Negotiations:

Is the phase of the Architect’s services during which competitive bids or negotiated proposals are sought as the basis for awarding a contract. During the Bid Period:

  • We will distribute the documents to the various Contractors or the Construction Manager for their bidding use.
  • We will develop any addenda that may arise as a result of questions asked by the bidders, issue any clarifications which may be required.
  • After the bids are received we will assist the Client in reviewing the bids and the final pricing analysis based on both cost and qualifications of the bidding Contractors and subcontractors and will meet with the Client and the to review for final approval.

*During this phase the Architect and the Contractor work together to review the costs associated with the bids received and analyze the bids to determine if anything has been overlooked or omitted and evaluate the accuracy of the final bid price.

Construction Contract Administration:

During the Construction Phase, the Architect typically serves the Client by assessing the project’s progress and includes the Architect’s general administration of the construction contract(s). These services typically include:

  • Reviewing and approving amounts due to the Contractor for their work in progress.
  • Reviewing the Contractor’s submittals and Shop Drawings.
    • Shop Drawings are the manufacturers or Contractors drawn version of information shown on the Architect’s drawings and are made to explain the fabrication and/or installation of certain items for the equipment installers.
  • Evaluating proposed substitutions in materials or systems (if appropriate).
  • Preparing change orders or issuing other directives in the work (if necessary).
  • Conducting field site visits to determine the general progress of the work and conformance to the requirements of the Contract Documents.
  • Monitor the Construction Schedule and review the Contractor’s progress.
  • Perform quality assurance procedures and require key individuals from each discipline to also conduct periodic site visitations.
  • Establish the dates of Substantial Completion and Final Completion for the project.
  • Confirm Contractor’s progress for preparing Close-Out Documents including:
    • Record Drawings.
    • Warrantee Manuals.
    • Final Project Accounting.

*Acting on the Client’s behalf during the Construction Phase, the Architect will assist the Client to verify that once the construction is finished, they will receive a completed project which is ready for occupancy before releasing the final payment to the Contractor.

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