While the design process can seem confusing and overwhelming to those who have not been involved with it before, Transforming Architecture excels at communication to make the process not only painless, but exciting. Whether designing for new commercial, custom residential construction, or a residential addition, our understanding of building and zoning ordinances, project schedules, and contract documents assures clients they will receive effective design services. We use the standard six phases of design services as follows:
- Pre-Design (PD)
- Schematic Design (SD)
- Design Development (DD)
- Construction Drawings (CD)
- Bidding/Negotiation (BN)
- Construction Administration (CA)
Preliminary discussions begin with the architect to determine the client’s functional needs, general aesthetic goals and projected budget. Architects are problem solvers, not just people who draw plans. In the program phase, the Architect uses his/ her experience and expertise to help the client identify their real needs, and balance desires with budgetary constraints. The Program will often take the form of a written document. If the project is a renovation, documenting existing conditions will also take place in this phase of work. If the project is a new building, a plat will be required, so the architect can start preliminary analysis of site restrictions, such as zoning or historic restrictions. This is truly the data collection phase for the architect.
- Review program and budget with Client
- Document existing conditions
- Preliminary meetings with other design consultants and engineers
Once the Program has been defined, your architect goes to work converting your ideas into diagrams and sketches. The sketches may have the precision of computer generated drawings but they are still rough ideas. The diagrams of the Schematic phase show relationships of spaces. Typically three design schemes are presented to the owner. These sketches will provide the owner with the opportunity to verify that the architect has correctly interpreted the owner’s desired functional relationships between various activities. The sketches will also provide the owner with a general indication of what the exterior may be. The architect will spend time with the Owner, explaining thoughts and theories about which parts of each schemes work best. The goal of the schematic investigation is to choose one scheme or choose the parts of each scheme that work the best and combine them.
- Preliminary design concepts
- Design consultant and engineers provide input
- Presentation of design concepts to Owner
- Owner review and input
Design development turns diagrams and spatial relationships into floor plans, elevations and sections. Design development focuses on products; structure; materials etc. At the end of the design development phase the architect will provide the client with scale drawings that will illustrate the project as it would look when it’s constructed. These drawings will very specifically define the site plan, floor plans and exterior elevations. It is important that the client provide input to the architect at this time as the design development drawings are used as the basis for the construction drawings and preliminary cost estimates for the project.
- Preferred pieces of Schematic design combined after review with Owner
- Further design of building systems with consulting engineers
- Presentation of design development to Owner
- Review of project cost estimate with Owner
- Owner review and input
- Design finalized
The last stage of the Design Process is the preparation of technical drawings for the contractors, sub-contractors and the jurisdictional authority. These are what the public often refers to as blue-prints, although, because of new reproduction techniques, they are no longer blue. These documents will include the work of consultants, usually including mechanical, electrical, civil, and structural engineers, landscape architects and other specialties required by the program. Necessary details have been thought of and drawn for inclusion. Specifications are written. When the construction drawings are complete the client will have sufficient information to secure contractor bids and obtain the required permits.
- Working drawings and specifications production
- Coordination with consulting engineers
- Owner review
Although this phase is a small percentage of the overall architect fee it can save the owner a great deal of frustration and expense. We answer the contractor’s technical questions and assist you in reviewing contractor qualifications and pricing to determine who best meets your budget and timeline. Our experience can help to identify potential problems prior to signing a contract. At Transforming Architecture, we provide a pre-screened List of Preferred Builders for you to meet with. Typically the architect can ask the right questions with regards to the contractor’s project bids. It is very important to determine if the contractor has forgotten or overlooked anything on the construction drawings. If this occurs, the contractor will undoubtedly ask for more money when the project is underway and the owner has already signed a construction contract.
- Competitive bidding
- Bid evaluation
- Contract awarded
During Construction Administration, Transforming Architecture will serve as your advocate, observe and document the quality of the contractor’s work and monitor project costs and construction schedule. We meet with the Contractor weekly or bi-weekly to discuss questions or issues that may arise during construction. These meetings keep the flow of information consistent and helps keep the project on schedule.
- Construction begins with on-site construction observation
- Substantial completion
- Owner occupancy
- One-year building review by Architect
We hope this introduction helps you understand the Design Process. We are looking forward to smoothly guiding you through building your vision.