Step One – Information Gathering/Schematic Design
Initially, we meet with the homeowner to discuss the goals and requirements for the project. Once we have a thorough understanding of what the client would like to achieve, we move on to information gathering. Here our design team reviews the existing conditions and takes as-built measurements and photos of the existing home/property. A surveyor may be contacted at this stage to produce a site survey. Next we move on to Schematic Design: the development of simple floor plans and exterior elevations that illustrate general design concepts. We generate a variety of schemes that show various possibilities. We meet again with the client to review the options and discuss the ramifications including rough cost estimates. With the feedback from the client we generate a final schematic design from which we can move on to Design Development.
Step Two – Design Development
During this step we refine the schematic drawings adding details and more precise measurements. Information from other consultants, such as the structural engineer, is developed and coordinated with the design drawings. Specifications for materials, fixtures/ appliances, assembly details, and relevant code information are incorporated into the project. Often, the homeowner will want to get a more precise idea of construction costs before continuing the design process. The architect will add notation to the drawings and will obtain a preliminary cost estimate from a contractor. This estimate is a rough estimate (a ballpark figure). Recommendations from trades, suppliers, and manufacturers are added to the drawing set. The homeowner continues to make decisions at a more specific level of detail. The drawings are again presented to the client for final approval before we move on to the next step.
Click through the images to see a sample of the drawings produced during Step One of the Design Process.
Click through the images to see a sample of the drawings produced during Step Two of the Design Process.
Step Three - Construction/Permit Documents
This phase involves further development of the drawing set and takes the most time of the entire design process. All aspects of the construction are specified, such as wall construction, foundation and framing systems and waterproofing details, millwork details, etc. Design details and calculations from the Structural Engineer are incorporated into the documents. This set of drawings will then be used by the contractor to establish accurate construction costs and build the project. The construction documents are submitted to the city or county to obtain the building permit.
Step Four – Bidding and Negotiation
Now it is time for the owner to hire a contractor. In many cases, homeowners ask several contractors to bid on the project. We coordinate the bidding process for our clients, answering questions and issuing clarifications so that all the bidders have a clear understanding of the scope of the project. This ensures that the bids are comparable and reduces the likelihood of unexpected costs during the construction of the project.
Click through the images to see a sample of the drawings produced during Step Three of the Design Process.
Step Five - Construction Observation (Optional)
During construction, we will make periodic visits to ensure that the work is being completed in a manner consistent with the construction documents. We will review change orders, shop drawings, and pay requests as required. Often, especially with renovations/additions to existing homes, questions and/or unforeseen conditions will arise during the construction process. Some clients prefer to proceed with periodic scheduled visits from our team to observe that the contractor is building the project per the construction documents. Other clients prefer to work with us on an as-needed basis during the construction phase. In this case, we work on an hourly basis.
Click through the images to see a sample of the drawings produced during Step Four of the Design Process.
Click through the images to see a sample of the drawings produced during Step Five of the Design Process.