Design Process

Schematic design

Schematic design – establishes the general scope, conceptual design, scale and relationships among the components of the Project. The primary objective is to arrive at a clearly defined, feasible concept and to present it in a form that achieves the Client’s understanding and acceptance. The secondary objectives are to clarify the Project program, explore the most promising alternative design solutions, and provide a reasonable basis for analyzing the cost of the Project. Schematic design drawings are often “freehand drawings” sketched on trace paper using accurate drawings as underlays. This format allows the designer to explore multiple schemes rapidly. Once a scheme is approved, the plans can be more fully developed and eventually drawn on the computer.

Design development

Design Development – Once the schematic design is approved, the design can be developed into greater detail. Actual products, systems, materials, finishes, etc. are selected for approval during this phase. The primary purpose of design development is to further define and describe all-important aspects of the Project so that what remains is the formal documentation step of construction contract documents


Construction documentation

This is the Phase in which the design is translated into final “blueprints”, although real blueprints seldom are used anymore. Drawings and specifications are coordinated to ensure that all the various elements, including structural, electrical, and mechanical, fit together in a logical and economical fashion to achieve the design purpose of the Project. At the end of this phase, a set of documents, including drawings, specifications, and other documents, is produced from which a general contractor can prepare bids. These indicate the design of the Project without necessarily showing how everything fits together. The primary objective is to finalize all documentation begun during the design development phase and to include Client modifications as required. Critical changes to the scope by the Client, which do not permit the Architect to proceed with contract documents, shall be identified in writing by the Architect to the Client. No new drawings, schedules or specifications are started; however they are coordinated and double-checked. Final dimensions where absent are now provided.


Construction administration

Construction Administration – The primary purpose of this Phase is to observe the construction process at regular intervals and monitor what is getting built with what is on the drawings. The contractor shall prepare all meeting minutes for Architect’s review. The contractor shall keep graphic record of all changes to the architectural drawings.