The Design Process
We are fortunate in that people who choose to work with an architect for the design of their homes typically have big dreams and a clear vision of what they need and what they like. The question is; how do we translate those visions into a finished design and a completed house? The home design and construction process involves thousands of decisions along the way and our structured design process enables those decisions to be made in an informed, controlled and timely manner under the guidance of experienced professionals that specialize in home design. Our step-by-step process encourages client participation and interaction. We work in close tandem with our clients to insure that information is being shared and ideas are being communicated. The following is a detailed outline of that process.
Phase 1 – Design
The Design Phase begins with some very important pre-design research. We supply each client with a questionnaire and pre-design worksheet to record their thoughts, ideas, preferences, wishes, dreams and visions. We follow up with a pre-design meeting to review the worksheet and discuss in detail their specific design requirements. In addition to understanding the client’s needs, the pre-design activities include a site visit to experience and photograph site conditions first hand, review of zoning ordinances, covenants, restrictions, survey maps and any other owner provided information including drawings, pictures or sketches. With this information, we are now ready to begin the process of design exploration.
Our initial ideas are put on paper as freehand sketches in schematic form. The initial design exploration focuses on the broad issues of site integration, orientation, spatial relationships, internal circulation and geometric form. The details will come later. Conceptual drawings are presented to the client and the issues and options are discussed and debated. The design is still in a fluid stage at this point and continued evolution will take place over a period of time and a number of meetings. Decisions are made incrementally and the design progressively becomes more refined. The design is studied 3-dimensionally as a geometric massing model. At the completion of the Design Phase, we will have developed a set of to-scale plans and elevations with preliminary material selections and 3-D modeling defining the geometry, openings and materials. Design drawings are at a sufficient level of detail for preliminary cost estimating purposes.
Phase 2 – Construction Documents
Construction Documents are the detail phase. Multiple activities take place as we move into developing the technical plans and details necessary for bidding and construction. Those activities include everything from developing site topography and grading plans, to establishing structural framing system details. Building sections and exterior details are developed, interior elements such as ceilings and stairs are detailed and specifications are written to establish the quality standards and products of construction. The final Construction Documents define both the scope and the quality level of the project and become the legal basis for the Contract of Construction between the client and the builder.
Phase 3 – Bidding and Construction Administration
After Construction Documents are completed, drawings are distributed for bidding. Most owners prefer to competitively bid the project to multiple General Contractors, but single-builder negotiation is another option. Upon receipt of final bids, they are reviewed, final negotiations take place and a “Contract for Construction” is executed between the client and the selected builder. At this point, our role is primarily as support to answer questions, review shop drawings and render opinions on an as-needed basis. Our involvement during the construction phase is reassurance that you are getting the materials and quality level that was specified. Our involvement during the construction phase is reassurance that you are getting the materials and quality level that was specified.