The Design Process

Each design and building process is unique to its project. In general, however, a project will proceed as follows:
  1. Scoping. The owner and architect meet to assess the owner’s goals and needs for the project.
  2. Proposal. The architect provides the owner with a price to perform the work. This can be an hourly rate or a lump sum based on the architect’s estimate of the time necessary to complete the project.
  3. Contract. The owner and architect agree on the scope of work and the fee to perform the work.
  4. Feasibility Study. This process is described in detail in the SERVICES tab. In short, it is the confirmation that the owner can build the desired project given the existing zoning, building codes, infrastructure, etc. If the Feasibility Study confirms the concept, schematic design can begin.
  5. Schematic Design. The architect will generate several schemes – typically three – based on the owner’s requirements for the project.
  6. Design Development. The owner will select a preferred scheme from schematic design for further development. Successful ideas from other schemes can be synthesized into the preferred scheme to arrive at a cohesive design concept. If the owner approves of the developed design, he will instruct the architect to begin with construction documents.
  7. Construction Documents. The architect creates detailed drawings and specifications which can be bid and built by a contractor. Generally, there are milestones within the construction document process where the owner has an opportunity to review the work. Some typical milestones are 30, 50, 75 and 95 percent completion.
  8. Bidding. The construction documents are given to contractors for bidding. During this process the architect assists the owner by answering bid questions, issuing addenda, and reviewing bids.
  9. Construction Administration. Construction Administration is an important and often overlooked service provided by architects. The architect as construction administrator acts on the client’s behalf to ensure that the building is constructed per the plans and specifications.
  10. Project Completion. The architect will perform final inspections of the work and review the contractor’s close-out submittals. These include: warranties, operation and maintenance manuals, and as-built drawings.
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