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Five Design Phases of Architecture


1. Schematic Design 

During the first phase of our work, we'll meet with you to learn about your project. If the project involves renovations or additions to an existing building, we'll carefully measure the existing conditions. A land survey is required and we can recommend a surveyor to map and draft the land property boundaries. Local zoning regulations related to setbacks, coverage, pervious surface calculations, work in regulated areas, and floor area ratio will then be reviewed. Property views, solar orientation, topography, and water's edge/wetlands, significant trees, and natural rock formations will also be taken into consideration during this process.


We'll review your design program, schedule, and budget, and create deliverables to include preliminary 2D concept layout plans and 3D exterior drawings or elevations, and a site plan if applicable. We'll meet regularly with you during the Schematic Design phase to discuss ideas together: your feedback and participation are critical to the success of the project. Completed Schematic Design drawings can be used to obtain ballpark construction budget estimates and we'll introduce you to several of our trusted local Construction Managers.

(What is the difference between a Construction Manager (CM) and a General Contractor (GC)?, for more information see FAQ)

Building Plans

4. Bidding

We'll be available for questions or comments, while drawings are out to bid to subcontractors and also assist the Construction Manager or General Contractor with the building permit application. 

Architecture Model Sketching

2. Design Development 

After Schematic Design is approved by the owner (and municipal land use agencies if required), we'll develop and define the floor plans and building exterior further by integrating preliminary structural engineering and mechanical systems, as well as site design and civil engineering. We'll recommend trusted consultants for geotechnical testing, civil engineering, and landscape architecture, as well as structural, electrical, and mechanical engineering.


As your architect, we'll direct and coordinate the design team to align the construction details so the building will function and look as designed. Engineers will begin to develop the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems, and we'll identify building systems and materials to ensure compliance with building codes and energy codes. Deliverables such as outline specifications can be used to create a construction cost estimate for the project by your construction



5. construction administration

We represent our client's interests throughout the construction process and will work with the Construction Manager to see the project is built to the standards set out in the design documents. We will be available for on-site visits and meetings, during construction, email, phone, and/or text questions with the Owner and Construction Manager (CM). We'll introduce the CM and subcontractors to relevant product manufacturers and vendors.  We'll review submittals and shop drawings for roof trusses, windows, doors, roofing material, cabinets, and more for compliance with construction documents. If required, we'll discuss cost savings strategies with you and your contractor.


Communication is key for a successful building project. We are available throughout the construction phase and look forward to being actively involved.


3.Construction Documents

We'll use approved Design Development drawings and specifications to finalize the design by adding construction details for architectural, structural, and mechanical systems. A detailed code review will consider local, state, and federal building, fire, and energy codes. The landscape architect will include details such as planting features, paving/stonework, and underground utilities. Final Construction Documents (Computer-Aided Drawings) can be submitted for building permit and issued by the construction manager to subcontractors for bids (fixed prices). These "blueprints" are used as visual instructions for the builder and subcontractors on-site, as they explain the floor plan layout, construction materials, details, and dimensions for each part of the construction.

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