Design Phases 2017-11-17T21:27:35+00:00

The Design Process

Our industry has been around for a long time, and with that has come some standards for how we practice. Although technology and codes lead to occasional changes, the general principles stay the same. The most important thing to understand is that getting a project designed and built is a process, it takes time. Decisions are not made all at once, but throughout the course of a project.

architecture design phases

Standard Phases

Standard phases bring an order to the design process. Each phase has a purpose and a level of expectation. In general the phases are sequential and you will sign off on the completion of each phase, permitting the project to move forward based on the decisions made up to that point. The time frame to complete each phase varies depending on the complexity of your project. Here are the six phases:

GOAL: RESEARCH AND DETERMINE THE OWNER’S CRITERIA FOR THE PROJECT
FEE BREAKDOWN: ~5% OF TOTAL FEE

BEFORE DESIGN

Conceptual-design services vary depending on the complexity of a project and the experience of the owner. Most owners need our experience and research capabilities to determine the project’s requirements.

PROGRAMMING

Programming consists of establishing & documenting requirements for your project including: design objectives, desired rooms or spaces, room sizes, relationships between spaces and relationships to the site.

BUDGET ANALYSIS

The budget should estimate both hard and soft costs. Hard costs are construction related—material, labor, and the contractor’s overhead and profit. Soft costs are non-construction related—consultants, city and bank fees, and insurance. It is also important to assess if the budget is adequate to complete the project.

SCHEDULE DEVELOPMENT

A few factors contribute to the project schedule:

  • Owner’s schedule
  • Owner’s decision ability
  • Architect’s schedule
  • Consultants’ schedules
  • Project complexity
  • Permit process
  • Contractor’s availability
  • Because of the various factors we will continually adjust the schedule as the project proceeds.

CODE ANALYSIS

Cities and specific regions within cities have different sets of rules governing many aspects of your project. HMH’s experience in researching and understanding codes is critical to preventing costly errors.

AS-BUILT DRAWINGS

Most remodels or additions to existing homes require a record of what is built. Since most of our clients don’t have drawings of their existingbuildings, we will need to create “as-builts.” We measure and create drawings of your building to use as a base to develop the new design.

SITE ANALYSIS AND SELECTION

Whether you already own a site or would like our assistance finding one, we are diligent when it comes to site analysis. Great design comes from a building’s relationship to its site, so we analyze how if can be best utilized for views, sun, land, access and enjoyment.

GOAL: EXPLORE DESIGN CONCEPTS. PRESENT OPTIONS AND NARROW DOWN TO ONE PREFERRED CONCEPT.
FEE BREAKDOWN: ~10% OF TOTAL FEE

COMMENCING DESIGN

Schematic design begins in rough form as sketches, floor plan studies, and 3d or physical models. Several owner/designer meetings are typical during this phase to make decisions and determine a direction for the design to evolve. At the end of this phase it is common to have the following documents:

  1. Site Plan: A drawing depicting the buildings location on the site and zoning regulations.
  2. Floor Plans: Drawings of each floor showing the size and locations of the various rooms/functions.
  3. Key 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. Area Analysis: A summary of the sizes of the various rooms/functions in the building.
  6. Renderings or Model: 3D renderings or a physical model depicting the overall look of the building.
  7. Preliminary Cost: A rough estimate by a contractor of the cost of construction based Estimate on the current building design.

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.

GOAL: REFINE & DEVELOP DESIGN SO MOST MAJOR DECISIONS ARE MADE. PRELIMINARY LAYOUT OF STRUCTURAL & MECHANICAL SYSTEMS.
FEE BREAKDOWN: ~15% OF TOTAL FEE

FINALIZING THE DESIGN

The design development phase includes finalizing the size of the rooms and spaces, refining the look, selecting materials, determining the systems, and deciding on door and window types and locations. This phase may also include several owner/designer meetings, which are critical to finalizing decisions so the detailed documentation can begin in the next phase.

SYSTEMS CONSULTANTS

During this phase the systems consultants design and draw up their portions of the work. For a list of potential consultants, see the consultant coordination section of this guide. Our job is to coordinate the work of these various consultants and implement their drawings into the design.

DOCUMENTS

At the end of the design development phase the documents from the schematic design phase have been updated in further detail. It is common to also have the following documents:

  1. Outline Specification: Preliminary written description of the project’s major systems and materials.
  2. Key Interior Elevations: Drawings depicting the relationship and material choices of the project’s interior rooms.
  3. Reflected Ceiling Plans: Drawings of the ceiling depicting locations of lighting, equipment, & level changes.
  4. Interior Schedules: A preliminary list of the type and location of interior finishes.
  5. Key Details: Preliminary Large scale drawings of specific elements within the project.
  6. Systems Consultants’ Drawings: May include structural, civil, and mechanical drawings.
  7. Revised Cost Estimate: A revised estimate by a contractor of the cost of construction based on the current building design.

GOAL: SELECT FINISHES & FIXTURES AND PREPARE TECHNICAL DOCS. REQUIRED FOR CONSTRUCTION AND OBTAINING GOVERNMENT AGENCY APPROVALS.
FEE BREAKDOWN: ~35% OF TOTAL FEE

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BIDDING

The construction documents phase (blue prints) involves adding a level of detail and technical information to the design documents so a contractor has a set of instructions to build the project as designed. It also includes selecting and finalizing interior finishes, plumbing fixtures, appliances and decorative light fixtures. This phase is when the architect and consultants work through the technical aspects of the project.

DOCUMENTS

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. A completed construction document set is highly technical and extensive and may include:

  1. Site Plan: A drawing depicting the buildings location on the site.
  2. Floor Plans: Drawings of each floor showing the size and locations of the various rooms /functions.
  3. Key Elevations: Drawings of appropriate building sides to convey conceptual design direction for the project.
  4. Key Details: Large scale drawings of specific elements within the project
  5. Key Sections: Building cut through drawings depicting the heights and relationships of the various floors and roof.
  6. Outline Specification: Written description of the project’s major systems and materials
  7. Key Interior Elevations: Drawings depicting the relationship and material choices of the project’s interior rooms.
  8. Reflected Ceiling Plans: Drawings of the ceiling depicting locations of lighting, equipment,& level changes.
  9. Interior Schedules: A list of the type and location of interior finishes.
  10. Consultants’ Drawings: May include structural, civil, and mechanical drawings.

GOAL: TO GET PRICING FROM A CONTRACTOR TO SET THE COST OF THE PROJECT AND OBTAIN A BUILDING PERMIT.
FEE BREAKDOWN: ~5% OF TOTAL FEE

CONTRACTOR SELECTION

When it comes to hiring the contractor the owner typically has two choices:

  1. NEGOTIATION
    You may have already selected a contractor based on qualifications, capabilities and/or referrals. If this is the case, the contractor will put the drawings out to bid with multiple subcontractors at this time. Typically, 90% of the project is competitively bid. The contractor will then select the best bids from the subcontractors, and put together an overall project bid. The owner can then negotiate the terms with the contract including their fee and if there is a guarantee max price.
  2. BIDDING
    If you did not get a contractor involved in the design phase, the next step is putting the drawings and specification out to bid with two or more contractors. We will help preselect contractors who are a good fit for your project. We will then assist the owner in evaluate the contractor’s bids. Please note bidding is still an option even if you selected a contractor during the design process. However, if you end up selecting another contractor, it is customary to pay the contractor for the time they put up front in the design.

WHICH METHOD IS BETTER?
There are positives and negatives to both processes. Either way, it’s important to determine the method of contractor selection early in the process. HMH can help you determine which method is right for you.

PERMITTING
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. The owner 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.

GOAL: OBSERVE CONSTRUCTION FOR CONSISTENCY W/ CONSTRUCTION DOCS. ANSWER CONTRACTOR QUESTIONS, RESOLVE DESIGN DETAILS, HANDLE CHANGES.
FEE BREAKDOWN: ~30% OF TOTAL FEE

THE OWNER’S AGENT

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, we act as the owner’s agent and provide the following services:

OBSERVATION SERVICES

We will set up regular meetings with the contractor to observe the work for general conformance with the construction documents. We will also work with the contractor to answer questions and resolve design issues that naturally arise during construction.

REVIEW SUBMITTALS, SHOP DRAWINGS AND WORK WITH FABRICATORS

There will be many products that will be purchased for your home that need to be reviewed in detail, we review these for consistency with the specifications, and make additional selections and decision as needed. We also work with fabricators such as the cabinetmakers, finish carpenter, tile installer, etc. to refine minor details during construction.

SUPPLEMENTAL DOCUMENTATION

As needed, we will provide supplemental documents to clarify design intent for the contractor.

HANDLE REQUESTS FOR CHANGES

The contractor, architect, or owner may need to change something during construction. The architect can administer this process and prepare the necessary document revisions.

PUNCH LIST

The punch list takes place when the contractor states that they are finished with construction. It is the contractor’s punch list and we aid the contractor by walking the site and pointing out items that do not meet the drawing standards.