The Design Process
I. Schematic Design
The first step in the process is to gather and analyze information and perform all the work necessary prior to actually designing your project. During this time we formulate a detailed “program” which defines your needs and objectives: function, size and relationship between spaces, character and image, and a host of other considerations that affect how you will live in your home. We analyze your site and determine the best placement of the project and spaces within to capture views and sunlight. During this stage we also establish the construction scope, budget and schedule.
II. Design Development
Conceptual brainstorming and exploration define this portion of the design process. It begins with the creation of concept diagrams and rough sketches. During this time we determine the general layout, form and overall appearance of both the project and the site. Sketches, drawings and study models are prepared to help evaluate the ideas and concepts and set the final direction for refining the design. Once the size, layout and character of the project and site are refined, we begin to design feature elements such as stairs, cabinetry, fireplaces and built-in furniture. Drawings are prepared that describe some of the important technical details. Plans, elevations and sections through the project are developed. At the end of this phase 70 to 80 percent of the design work will be complete.
III. Construction Documentation
Construction Documentation is the phase where the design is translated into the technical language of the contractor. Working Drawings (blueprints) and specifications are prepared which define in detail all of the materials that are to be incorporated into the project, where they are to be located and how they are to be installed. Although this phase is primarily intended for working out the technical aspects of the project, some design work also takes place. In addition, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and finish materials (tile, carpet, paint colors, etc.) are selected.
IV. Bidding and Negotiation
During the Bidding and Negotiation phase we assist you in obtaining competitive bids or negotiated proposals from a selected list of general contractors. We prepare and distribute sets of drawings and specifications, answer contractor questions, interpret the documents, and prepare addenda (revisions to the original drawings or specifications). Once the bids are received, we analyze the results and prepare the contract between you and the selected contractor.
The final phase of the process is the construction. In this phase we review the progress of the work and facilitate any changes that may be required. We answer questions, review submittals and shop drawings (manufacturers’ drawings of specific elements to be incorporated within the house), and review monthly certificates of payment that are submitted by the contractor. Final selections of finishes and fixtures are also made here. Upon completion of this phase we thoroughly inspect your project to ensure that it is complete and ready for your use.
- Soils Engineer: Analyzes the types of soils and how they will react under various stresses, including flood and drought. Most commercial and all residential projects require a soils report before designing the foundation.
- Structural Engineer: Designs the framing and foundation.
- Civil Engineer: Platting, site drainage, utility services, access to roads and parking, code reviews and much more.
- Mechanical Engineer: Heating and air conditioning.
- Electrical Engineer: Electrical systems, load analysis.
- Plumbing Engineer: Freshwater and wastewater plumbing systems
- Other Consultants that work with Architects: Acoustics, Vibration, Equipment Specialists, Landscaping, Interior Design and Graphics.