The process of designing a building, space or structure typically consists of several design phases. While the information and decisions made in one of these phases/stages forms the basis of the subsequent stages, design is seldom a linear process. Instead, one typically moves back and forth between the phases, allowing ideas from more detailed designs to influence and modify the overall design direction previously established. Each phase of the process is a percentage of the total scope of work and is indicated as a percentage.
& PROGRAMMING PHASE
During this phase, we organize the client’s thoughts and develop a program whereby design goals are established. Code analysis, zoning research and environmental restrictions are studied. Preliminary design sketches, diagrams and bubble diagrams are developed to assist in establishing the building footprint, scale and configuration. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, we may prepare multiple schemes and discuss the benefits and/or drawbacks of each. Often, a bidding process is identified, creating a list of potential contractors. To be certain that we clearly communicate our ideas to the client, we may use several different presentation methods such as 3D perspective drawings and/or models. Upon completion of the Schematic Design phase, we will identify construction budgets and define a project timetable.
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT PHASE
In this phase, the overall scope of the project is finalized and the client’s preferences are further defined. Illustrations and sketches are further refined into detailed drawings where the building footprint, sections, elevations and other relevant design elements are finalized. Often, building materials and finishes are selected during this phase. We also perform an additional code review to confirm that the project complies with the limits and requirements established by any and all regulatory and permitting agencies. Upon completion of the Design Development phase, we will review the budget and verify that the design goals have been met.
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS PHASE
With the design fully developed, all of the required technical information is incorporated into the drawings, including dimensions, notes, details and project‐specific construction specifications. Once complete, these drawings become the official documents from which a contractor can prepare a bid and ultimately construct the project. At this point, the building permit application and required forms are typically prepared and the project is submitted to the appropriate authority having jurisdiction for approval.
BIDDING & NEGOTIATING PHASE
Upon completion of Phase 3 (Construction documents), we will prepare a comprehensive Bid Package. This package typically includes a complete set of Construction Documents (Construction Drawings and Project Manual) if applicable and the Bid Requirements (instructions to bidders, due date, etc.). Often a Pre‐bid Conference is conducted with the design team, owner and all potential bidders. During the conference, the project scope is reviewed and the bidding procedure is confirmed. Occasionally, revisions or modifications to the bid package are clarified through an Addendum. Once the bids are collected on the scheduled due date they are carefully reviewed. If negotiations are required during the bidding process, we will assist you as necessary. Finally, a Notice of Award and Notice to Proceed are issued to the successful bidder.
CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION PHASE
This is the phase when all of our collective hard work comes together. During the construction of the project, we will make scheduled site visits to observe the progress and confirm that the project is being built in accordance with the prepared Construction Documents. We will work closely with the General Contractor to keep the project on schedule and efficiently resolve any unexpected issues that may arise. When the project is close to completion, we will perform a “walk‐through” inspection and prepare a Punch List of items that need completion or modification.
THE VALUE ENGINEERING
| DESIGN-BUILD CONCEPT |
Recently, there has been an emphasis on ‘simplification’ of designs in an effort to control construction prices and regain feasibility in this new market reality. This ‘simplification’ of a building’s design is often called “value engineering.” Simply put, value engineering is essentially the process of modifying the building’s design without compromising quality and usefulness.
Value engineering can positively impact a project but is directly tied to timing and our approach to project management. Often, in a traditional architectural
process, the contractor is not involved in the project until the final stages, when a majority of the design and technical drawings are complete. We have found though, that this traditional architect/contractor relationship is often risky because realistic building costs are not always known until most of the architecture is done.
The contractor and/or construction management team are usually the best resource for keeping track of current construction trends and associated costs. For that reason, we welcome the early involvement of the contractor into the design process. This means that if the design is headed toward budget overages or there is a shift in the market (as we have recently experienced), adjustments in the design can be made faster, easier and with minimal cost to the owner. The alternative to changing a project’s design when it’s far along in the design process can be an expensive and unpleasant experience for everyone.
In the current market, we believe that this approach we have embraced enables us to handle tighter budgets that are now commonplace in most new projects. Relying on the builder to offer feedback on costs and methods of efficient construction design not only impacts the end budget but gives the builder a sense of pride and ownership in the project.