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The Design Process

Your home may be the largest single investment you will make in your lifetime.  It is therefore obvious that the design of your home is perhaps the most important part of this investment. Contrary to popular belief that architects only draw “blueprints”,  preparing drawings for construction is only one element of the service an architect provides.  The process of designing and building a home consists of a number of steps or phases, each focusing on a different aspect of the project. In order to determine what level of service is most appropriate for your needs, it is helpful to understand the process of designing a home or an addition, from start to finish, as well as the services available to you.

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PHASE I – Deciding What to BuildNew Hotel ELEV

This is a time for gathering information, also known as the programming phase. It’s time to listen and understand your objectives, design preferences, spatial requirements, lifestyle, budget, etc.  Other tasks also need to be accomplished before the design process can begin. If you already have purchased a property, evaluating the site or existing building, and the appropriate documentation of their conditions may also be needed as part of the information gathering. However, if you have not, this could be the most opportune time to benefit from our “Needs & Options Review” program, before making the decision on this very important investment.

 

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PHASE II – Design Concept

Usually referred to as schematic design, is the beginning of the design process. Conceptual drawings, Initially as rough sketches, are intended to establish the basic ideas and directions of the design in regards to general layout, form and the new building’s relationship to the site. It’s the time to explore ideas and design options. Sketching out various ideas and evaluating pros and cons of each approach and deciding what makes most sense. At the end, we may end up with elements from each options and a combinations of several ideas into that one final design concept which results the optimum solution.

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PHASE III – Design Development

Once the concept sketches have defined the basic design intent and general layout and design directions are established, it’s time to shift gears and move into the realm of computer generated drawings; CADD. 
This is the stage to refine the design and make final decisions about the spatial forms and details. The more thoughtful decisions are made during this phase, the better the built product will be and less likely of the chances of any unforeseen future problems. All design decisions need to be documented and will be the basis for the next phase; Construction Documents.

 

Gleason Ares house 001-rPHASE IV – Construction Documents

The next phase is to put all the decisions that have been made up to this point on one document, the blueprint. This final blueprint is the result of many hours of exploration, thoughts, and coordination. This document is in effect the graphic illustration of the project’s intent and how it will be constructed. The specifications is the written representation of the selection of materials and the workmanship required to complete the project. Informative and detailed documents provide a better ground and resources for getting exactly what you want.  And since this document becomes part of the construction agreement with your builder, it also establishes his contractual obligations and scope of work. 
Any vague area in these documents could mean leaving  them to chance or the contractor’s discretion.  As a result, complete and specific construction documents would yield more accurate bids and construction costs.

PHASE V – Bidding & Hiring the BuilderJackson St. Townhomes

We can assist you by utilising our resources in evaluating the candidate builders bids and qualifications, and in negotiating a contract. As the Architect of your project, we are in the best position to provide this service. Answering bidder’s questions, evaluating requests for substitutions, providing updated information to all bidders, establishing a format and analyzing bids, are all services your Architect can provide during this phase.

PHASE VI – Constructionsite visit 2 007

Our involvement does not end with the start of construction. We are available to continually represent your best interest in the project, by monitoring the contractor’s work for conformance with the drawings and contract. Even the best two dimensional documents cannot fully convey all the aspects of a three dimensional building system, without being open to interpretation. Knowing the intent of the design is vital to the proper interpretation. As your Architect, we know your home better than anyone else before it is built. We are therefore best qualified to provide assistance to insure your finished home is built as intended. This assistance usually consists of answering questions by phone, regularly visiting the site to observe the work, reviewing shop drawings, material, and product samples, and reviewing request for changes. Without our involvement in this phase the final product can, and usually does, suffer.

 

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Whether building a new home or remodeling an existing residence, the services of an Architect is invaluable.  Your Architect can ease the way of one of the biggest investments you’ll make in a lifetime, your home.  As your architect in addition to help, guide and direct you through hundreds of decisions, we are also resourceful in creative ideas, options and solutions.

Our mission is to create the highest outcome through thoughtful and strategic approach to design. Our goal is not only to help you avoid costly mistakes, but to provide resources and direct you to solutions you may never have considered. In fact, these are decisions that often make it possible for the home to be appraised at a much higher value than the sum of the cost of land, construction, and architect’s fees together.

By closely collaborating with our clients, we are able to clearly understand the needs and implement solutions which assure your building project will successfully meet your needs and goals, express your individuality, and provide satisfaction, comfort and pride, for years to come.

It is therefore imperative to understand our role as your number one advocate and the critical component to the overall success of your project, rather than a luxury you might think you can’t afford.

Resources