Every project begins with a vision shared by the Owner and Architect. That vision is translated into an architectural program, which is a written description of the project. The program lists each of the spaces or key elements of the project and specific criteria about those spaces, as well as how they relate to other spaces and the overall design. The program and shared vision is then thoughtfully crafted into a meaningful design, based upon sound architectural principles that meet the needs and budget of the Owner. The following phases are the necessary steps to realizing a completed project.
When an existing building is utilized, this task consists of observation and documentation of the area affected by the project. This includes walls, ceilings, doors, windows, stairs, millwork, equipment, etc. as well as structural beams, headers and framing. Existing finish materials will also be noted, as they may be altered, removed or modified in the design. If available, the Architect will utilize Owner provided existing drawings to facilitate this task.
Based on the existing documentation, the Architect will prepare scaled existing drawings with the use of the latest version of AutoCAD software. These drawings will consist of existing floor plans and exterior elevations that will be affected by the project. The existing drawings will be the basis for the schematic design, and will be supplied to the Owner for their record.
Based on the initial interview, architectural program and subsequent meetings with the Owner, Design Documents will be prepared, which will include floor plans, exterior elevations and any other drawings necessary to convey the design intent to the Owner. The Architect shall work with the Owner to establish the appropriate size, number of spaces, adjacencies and any other special circumstances that may be critical to the overall design. The schematic design shall be approved by the Owner prior to the commencement of the design development phase. Once the schematic design is complete, the drawings will be sufficient for a “ballpark” estimate from a General Contractor to assist the Owner in making an informed decision with respect to the project budget.
Upon Owner approval of the schematic design, the drawings will be further developed in plan, section and elevation. Overall building scale and detailed elements will be refined. Building sections allow the Architect to investigate structural efficiency, as well as how the structure is integrated with interior and exterior architectural detail. Mechanical systems, ductwork and plumbing are considered in this phase, ensuring all of the necessary parts of the building work together.
Once Design Documents have been approved, the Architect shall prepare Contract Documents. The Contract Documents are the detailed drawings and specifications issued to a General Contractor for the construction of the project, as well as to the building department to obtain construction permits.
Contract Documents include the construction documents, which consist of all required Zoning information and Site Plans, Architectural and Structural design, Plumbing, Electrical, and Fire Protection Design, as well as written project specifications. All aspects of the project will be designed in accordance with the State Construction Codes.
The Architect shall assist the Owner in preparing bid documents for prospective General Contractors. These bid documents shall consist of the Contract Documents, along with instructions for providing a breakdown of costs and anticipated schedule, so they may be compared with those of other bidders.
If requested by the Owner, the Architect can evaluate the bids with them and make recommendations for the selection of a General Contractor.
A “kick-off” meeting is then arranged with the Architect, Owner and General Contractor to review the Contract Documents, answer any final questions and clarify the intent of any particular aspects of the documents prior to the start of construction.
During construction, the Architect shall visit the site at critical stages of the construction to observe the progress and quality of the work.
Additionally, the Architect shall notify the Owner of any part of the work that is not in conformance with the Contract Documents and take appropriate action to coordinate with the General Contractor, after conferring with the Owner.
The Architect will coordinate with and provide additional information to the General Contractor, in the case that the Contract Documents are not clear on a particular issue. The Architect shall also provide any additional information required by the building department as a condition of obtaining a building permit.
At the request of the Owner, the Architect shall also process payment requisitions from the General Contractor based on the amount of work completed or materials stored on site. Shop drawings may also be reviewed and approved for various aspects of the work that may require fabrication.