THE PROCESS OF A BUILDING PROJECT
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. The design of a building, whether it is a house or a commercial building, the planning and construction is a complex task. A complex task can be more manageable by breaking it into smaller tasks that encompass the Process. Architects apply this idea to the design and construction process by utilizing the American Institute of Architects (AIA) defined Phases of Architecture development that are commonly referred to as: Pre-Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding, Contract Administration.
Our goal is to help clients have a basic understanding of what happens during each of these work phases so that our communication throughout the design and construction process remains clear and allows the client to be familiar with milestones and deliverables in each phase. The contract and project schedule are designed around these phases as well.
Here at Bailey Built, PLLC, we value communication throughout the Process and want the experience of working with us to be as straightforward and stress-free as possible. Below is breakdown of our project phases that includes a description of the deliverables or milestones at each step. This list is a traditional Design/ Bid/ Build format (other Project Delivery methods will have different formats) and will vary and change to accommodate a particular project’s needs and the length of time each phase will take depends on a variety of factors, but most projects will progress as follows:
Pre-Design is an information gathering phase that will be the basis for the design phases to follow. The main goal during this phase is to learn everything possible about our clients’ goals for the project with regard to space needed now and likely to need in the future, and how that space should be used, organized, and arranged. This information is organized into a document called a Program, which describes all the spaces for the project, their approximate sizes and any specific or unique features you are looking for. The other part of Pre-design phase is observing and documenting the existing conditions at the project site. In an existing building renovation this would entail documenting the existing building and creating a set of as-built drawings to work from. In a new building scenario, this entails a survey of the land to determine the property line locations and/or measurements of any existing structures. We also develop research to better understand how the site relates to the surrounding area and the overriding regulations that affect the project. We track these regulations in a Zoning Summary document and talk to city planning staff to coordinate any questions that arise. Clients should expect to be very involved and ready to answer questions during this phase. Collaborating in this way allows us to better understand your values and needs, resulting in a design that reflects your individuality while meeting your programmatic needs.
Length of Phase: usually 2-4 weeks; varies project to project
Deliverables this Phase: Program, Zoning Summary, As-Built drawing(s)
SCHEMATIC DESIGN (SD)
Schematic Design begins the process converting the Program into an efficient building design. Design concepts are explored and ideas and options for getting a general idea of the look and feel of the project are tested. The floor plans and shape of the project will begin to take form, but the specifics about materials and details will be developed later. The Schematic Design phase includes several meetings where we present ideas to our clients using images and sketches to help visualize the size, scale, shape, and relationship of spaces and how they relate to each other. Ideas are refined according to your feedback until we reach an agreed upon design direction to develop further in the following phases. Clients are very involved in this phase and will be asked for approval of the Schematic Design before work proceeds. This phase is a good time to let your architect know if you do not understand something or are not clear as to the design direction of the project. Changes to the design can always be made later, but it is easiest during this phase when the design is most fluid.
Length of Phase: usually 4-8 weeks; varies project to project
Deliverables this Phase: Preliminary Site Plan and Floor Plans, Preliminary Exterior Concept (if applicable)
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT (DD)
The objective of the Design Development phase is to further develop the design significantly based on the floor plan and exterior elevation concepts approved in the previous phase. All of the important aspects of the project must be defined and developed into a set of drawings and outline specifications that can be shared with potential contractors for preliminary cost estimating. This phase is the time to make any adjustments necessary to bring the project scope in line with the construction budget. Once the project is in line and on track, specifics about the interior and exterior materials and functionality can be developed. The site plan and floor plans are further refined and confirmed, which allows for finalizing the window and door placements and make adjustments to the building form. This phase is where most clients can feel the project coming to life and seeing themselves in the new space. At the end of the Design Development phase, the floor plans completed, dimensions of all spaces finalized, most materials selected, and the building exterior will be more fully designed with only details needed to confirm completion. Design Development is the phase when other Professional Consultants are brought into the fold of the project. The list of Professional Consultants includes, but are not limited to: Structural Engineer, Civil Engineer, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineers, Survey and Geotechnical Engineers. The list of Consultants needed will vary depending on the complexity of the project. A more detailed set of drawings that provides the overall project layout in plan, the exterior form of the building or space, any and all significant equipment, and the type of material or finish for every surface of the project will be delivered at the completion of this Phase.
Length of Phase: usually 8-12 weeks; varies project to project
Deliverables this Phase: Drawing Set with Outline Specifications
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS (CD)
In this phase we develop the set of Design Development Drawings into a complete and thorough set of Construction Documents. This set of drawings and specifications have all of the details, dimensions, and notes necessary to communicate the complete design intent to the contractor. The drawings show how the building components should be connected, specify all the materials, finishes, fixtures, equipment, and appliances to be installed, and coordinate our drawings with all of the other Consultant drawings involved in the project. The Construction Documents phase is the longest phase of the project because more detail is required to accurately delineate the design you have invested in. Early in this phase there may still be options on the table for some of the items to be specified and Clients should be prepared to make critical decisions during this phase. It is the job of the Architect to make recommendations and present you with all options available, but ultimately you will be the one occupying and maintaining the home or building and you have the ultimate say on the direction of the project.
Length of Phase: usually 8-12 weeks; varies project to project
Deliverables this Phase: Construction Drawings and Specifications
BUILDING PERMITTING (BP)
During a traditional Bidding process the design team may add to the Construction Documents any additional information required to get a building permit. If not already provided, this is the information needed to show the project complies with the applicable land use, building codes, energy codes, and any other applicable guidelines and regulations required by the city or jurisdiction issuing the permit. These drawings are to be submitted by the Contractor along with the various forms required for the permit application to the local jurisdiction for plan review. The Architect will monitor the progress during the review period, and give additional information or clarifications as requested. Client involvement during this phase is minimal. The overall goal to shepherd your project through as quickly and painlessly as possible, but the length and cost of this phase can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction, complexity of the project, and any special historic district or community design review processes.
Length of Phase: usually 4 - 8 weeks; varies greatly project to project because of jurisdictional controls
Deliverables this Phase: Construction Drawings and Forms for submittal with Building Permit Application
BIDDING & NEGOTIATION (BN)
If the Client has not already hired or involved a Contractor in the project during the design phase, we can make introductions to Contractors we have worked with previously and can recommend. We can also be available to attend interviews and walk-throughs, help you evaluate contractor qualifications, and provide assistance with obtaining and reviewing bids.
Length of Phase: usually 3-6 weeks
Deliverables this Phase: Construction Drawings and Specifications to be used for Contractor Bidding
CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION (CA)
During the Construction phase of the project the Architect will visit the jobsite at regular intervals to answer questions from the Contractor and address any issues that may arise. The number of site visits could be weekly or monthly depending on the project needs and will allow the Architect to keep an eye on things to ensure the finished project meets the Clients’ expectations. Depending on the project, some design or construction decisions must be made or modified in the field, and the Architect’s involvement and ability to work with your contractor to solve problems is essential for helping to avoid costly delays and change orders. The Architect is the advisor to the Client during Construction Administration. The purpose of each site visit is to take photos and write field reports to document the progress, confirm the materials and workmanship are of the quality expected, and to also verify that the billings submitted by the contractor reflect the amount of work completed. At the end of the project, the Architect will help develop a final Punch List to ensure all work is completed to your satisfaction.
Length of Phase: matches construction timeframe
Deliverables this Phase: Field Observation Reports