Pre-Design Phase

Our typical design project goes through several stages of increasing complexity. In the Pre-Design Phase the building program, or requirements, are determined. For large projects these are often determined by the owner in committee sessions with representatives of various building users and the architect. Also during this phase the property is surveyed and analyzed for environmental features such as terrain, prevailing winds, desirable views, well and septic locations, road access, and so on.

Schematic Design Phase

The Schematic Design Phase consists of a code search, coordination with normal agencies of authority, and preparation of schematic floor plans to address your program requirements. Along with the final schematic design, we also prepare an estimate of construction cost, based on area unit costs, and present the design for your review and approval. This may include renderings for approval or to aid in your marketing or fundraising efforts toward the project.

Design Development

Design Development expands the schematic ideas into three dimensions, depicting exterior elevations and rough building cross sections showing proposed building materials. Mechanical and electrical work is shown in diagrammatic form. We prepare outline specifications further describing materials, contract, and general requirements for the building project, and also advise the owner of any adjustments needed in the previous construction cost estimate. We work with the site engineer in placing the buildings to take maximum advantage of the topography for grade-level access to the proposed building.

Construction Documents Phase

After your approval of the Design Development documents, the Construction Documents Phase further defines the construction project by refining the plans and elevations, adding drawing details, material specifications and schedules, and a project manual including bidding and contract requirements. We also advise the owner of any adjustments necessary in the previous construction cost estimates.

Bidding Phase

The Bidding Phase includes distribution of documents to bidders, submission for building permit, response to queries, and preparation of addenda to the bidding documents, if necessary. We conduct a pre-bid conference to familiarize bidders with the requirements of the project and address specific questions they may have. We receive bids at a fixed time and place, open and analyze the bids, and advise the owner of our recommendations. Finally, we prepare a construction contract (AIA Document A101) setting forth in detail the duties and responsibilities of the Owner, Contractor, and Architect during the construction period. The above description assumes the typical ‘Design-Bid-Build’ approach to procuring a project. However, we have completed many successful ‘Design-Build’ and ‘Negotiated-Bid’ projects in which the builder is selected much earlier, and has input regarding construction costs and tactics during the design process.

Construction Phase

Our duties during the Construction Phase are to administer the construction contract by:

  • Acting as the Owner’s representative;
  • Visiting the site periodically to determine in general if the work is being built according to the construction documents;
  • Reviewing the Contractor’s payment applications to check whether the work has progressed to the point claimed;
  • Reviewing shop drawings, samples, and other submittals prepared or approved by the Contractor, to check for conformance with the design intent expressed in the construction documents;
  • Preparing change orders for the Owner’s approval;
  • Conducting punch-outs to detect work remaining to be completed and dates of substantial and final completion, and issue certificates for these;
  • Reviewing maintenance manuals and as-builts submitted by the Contractor and forward acceptable documentation for the Owner’s use in facilities management.

Post Completion

Many clients who are experienced with building projects realize that any new building goes through a stage of adjustment directly after completion. We can help guide the commissioning process in which building systems are put through their paces prior to occupancy. We remain available during the warranty period and afterward to pursue any loose ends with contractors, suppliers, and local officials to assure the owners of a building that will suit their needs and that they will enjoy for many years.


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If you’re looking for a LEED-accredited architect in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, or Pennsylvania, look no further. Contact me today for a free consultation.
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