The process of our work varies depending on if the project is new construction, or if it is an addition/remodel, but here are is a brief process outline of a typical project.
Initial Site Visit
We almost always will need to visit your building or site to fully absorb the context of your project. We meet with you on site, listen to your thoughts, take in the parameters, and ask you about your construction budget, so that we can help you stay within it. We then type up a written proposal which spells out what we heard you say about project scope, timing, and parameters. Quite often our proposals have options in them. Once you agree to the proposal we send you a contract to sign. The contract (typically AIA-American Institute of Architects) will identify our scope of work, your responsibilities during the course of the project, and list any options which you wish for us to pursue. Once you sign the contract, return it to us with a retainer (typically 10%) and then we get started.
During this phase of work we record conditions which are visible at your site/building. If you have any old drawings and/or a mortgage survey/site plan this expedites our process. For existing buildings we still like to take measurements and photos as quite often the old drawings may not accurately represent what is built reality. For new construction obviously the “existing conditions” are limited to the site, circulation, utilities, landscape, and boundaries.
Once we have existing conditions recorded we do initial design studies. We have already absorbed your criteria for wants and needs. We combine your ideals with the parameters we discovered on our site visit and generate three to four design schemes which seem to best resolve the marriage between ideal and reality. We will usually represent the designs in site plan, floor plan view, exterior elevation views, and sometimes a three dimensional model. We present these design schemes to you and listen to your comments. Quite often it will take a few meetings to flush out the best solution.
We will meet with you during the design development stage to essentially develop the design. Here is when we start to really explore architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical system implications in your design. We will hone in on the best solutions to these systems compared to original design ideals and discuss with you budget implications. We will modify the design based on your comments.
Construction Drawings and Specifications
Once you are happy with the developed design we will generate the construction drawings and specifications. This stage represents the majority of our work and thus takes the longest time period. For a typical project the construction drawings consist of a site plan which illustrates the new project on the property, a foundation plan, lower level, main floor and second floor plans, roof plan, roof framing plan, reflected ceiling plans, exterior elevations, interior elevations, building sections, wall sections, detail drawings, and schedules. The specifications will list each system from concrete to electrical, and essentially describe to the bidder/builder the quality level expected. The final construction drawings and specifications are known as bid documents and are complete enough to seek competitive bids and/or to build from.
Bidding and Negotiating
Sometimes we will list this phase of our work as an option, as some of our clients already have a builder lined up to perform the work. But if you need help finding a qualified builder we will help you via sending 3-4 general contractor’s copies of the contract documents, answering their questions, and receiving their quotes. We will check references, and meet with you to discuss the most qualified builder. We will aid you in signing a contract with the successful general contractor.
Contract Administration/ Site Observation
We find that projects tend to run smoother if we stay involved from start to finish. We will help you execute the contract signed with your general contractor. We will review his/her payment applications and any product submittals, keeping you informed of the status of their work.
Site observation includes answering construction/design questions and visiting the jobsite periodically during construction. Please note that we are working for you during this phase as your agent. We will also answer questions during construction if problems or difficulties arise. Suggested site visits are every two weeks during construction. At project completion we will walk the job with you and the builder, generating a final “punch list” of work to close out the contract. We will assist you in collecting from the builder any extended warranties and final lien statements.
Some of our clients require renderings to help best market their respective project to say a school board, or a building committee. We offer the ability to create three dimensional marketing type renderings and images for best illustrating your project. In addition we have been hired in the past to design furniture, outdoor kitchens, and even sculptures. We delight in these opportunities but realize that not every client desires these services.