ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

 

CONCEPTUAL DESIGN

In this important initial phase we discuss design goals and objectives, needs, function of the project, desired rooms and spaces, room sizes, relationships between spaces and relationships to the site. We discuss about pertinent building code and zoning regulations to identify the boundaries and limitations in which the design may develop. A thorough investigation of the site and surrounding area will help me become acquainted with the elements of the site which will influence the design. The main site features (surface area, location, orientation, view, wind direction, possible site slope, position of adjacent buildings etc.) which set the main design principles are documented. Also, I help you arrive at a realistic budget estimate for design and building through a discussion about the ramifications of several design approaches in light of local costs for materials and construction. In this phase, I encourage clients to have a candid discussion of their actual budget for the entire project. Following the initial discussions, I produce an outline of the scope of the proposed project and prepare the building program.

 

SCHEMATIC DESIGN

In this phase I provide you with freehand sketches, floor plan studies, 3D images and/or physical models presenting various design options and explain how they meet the requirements discussed in the conceptual design stage. I typically present you with multiple design iterations to allow us to evaluate one scheme against another. Graphics are only a part of the schematic design phase and discussions with you are equally as important. The overall scope of the project, proposed building materials and a preliminary budget related to the schematic design are also discussed. Refinements are made until you approve the design. At the end of this phase it is common to have the following documents:

  1. Site Plan - A drawing depicting the building's location on the site as well as the relationship between the building and its immediate surroundings.
  2. Floor Plans - Drawings of each floor showing the size and locations of the various rooms/functions.
  3. Exterior Elevations - Drawings of appropriate building sides (elevations) to convey conceptual design direction for the project.
  4. Key Sections - Building cut through drawings depicting the heights and relationships of the various floors and roof.
  5. Renderings and/or Model - 3D renderings and/or a physical model depicting the overall look of the building.
  6. Report - Text which gives an overall picture of the natural, techno-economic and institutional information as well as the building program on which the schematic design is based.
  7. General Technical Description - A written presentation and justification of the proposed architectural design solution at a general level.
  8. Preliminary Cost - A rough estimate of the cost of construction based on data already collected from similar previously realised projects.

The preceding list of drawings may still be rough in nature at the end of this phase. Their intent is primarily to determine a design direction with which to proceed into the next phase.

 

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

The difference between design development and schematic design is mainly qualitative rather than quantitative, that is, design development includes almost the same amount of information as the schematic design, but finalised. In this design stage I prepare detailed drawings and finalise the design plans, showing actual sizes and shapes for all rooms and spaces. Construction specifications will be outlined, listing the major materials and structural/mechanical systems to be used. When you approve the design drawings, I then prepare a cost estimate. At the end of the design development phase the documents from the schematic design phase have been updated in further detail. Furthermore the design development, completed with some additional documents required by the responsible building department, is used to get the building permit. It is common to also have the following documents:

  1. Building Coverage Scheme - Drawing which is based on the site survey providing information on whether architectural design complies with building regulations.
  2. Systems Consultants' Drawings - May include structural, civil and mechanical drawings.
  3. Outline Specification - Final written description of the project's major structures, systems and materials.
  4. Revised Cost Estimate - A revised and more precise estimate of the overall cost of construction based on the design development drawings.
  5. Scheduling and Financial Planning - Its aim is to give an as realistic as possible picture of the time required to complete the building as well as the amounts that will need to be paid during each stage.

 

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS

Construction documents are one of the most important elements of architectural design services. Construction documents aim at providing a complete and final information about the technical and financial aspect of the building construction while also helping the client negotiate the assignment of construction with potential contractors. This phase involves adding a level of detail and technical information to the design documents so that a contractor has a set of instructions to build the project as designed. I work with consultants through the technical aspects of the project and develop detailed drawings and material specifications which the contractor will use to estimate construction costs and to build the project. At the end of the phase the documents from the schematic design and design development phases should be updated in full detail. Additional documents will also be created and can vary depending on the scope of the project. The following are some of the drawings and documents that you should expect to receive, apart from the ones that have already been mentioned above:

  1. Interior Elevations - Drawings depicting the relationship and material choices of the project's interior rooms.
  2. Building Components Schedule - Sheet that collects all information about a building component type that is frequently repeated in the project.
  3. Interior Schedules - A preliminary list of the type and location of interior finishes.
  4. Key Details - Preliminary large scale drawings of specific elements within the project.

 

BUILDING PERMIT AND CONSTRUCTION BIDDING

You have several options when it comes to hiring a contractor. I can make contractor recommendations or you can choose a contractor on your own. I can assist you in selecting contractors by reviewing bids and estimates based on the construction documents. During this phase the project is submitted to the local building department for a plan check which is the process by which city agencies review the submitted documents for compliance to the zoning and regulation codes. You will be required to pay a fee to the city when the documents are submitted. The time frame varies depending on your project's size, complexity and the speed of the local jurisdiction.

 

CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION

Construction administration is as important as all of the other phases. There is a lot of information the contractor and sub-contractors need to process. During this phase, I am responsible for observing the pace and quality of construction work and for ensuring general conformance with the construction documents. I will also work with the contractor to answer questions and resolve design issues that naturally arise during construction. In case you want to change something during construction, I can administer this process and prepare the necessary document revisions. As your agent, I look out for your interests, keeping you informed of the project's progress and overseeing any changes or problems that may arise. Construction phase services are helpful in keeping your project on track and within budget.

 

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