Vision – Partnership – Solutions
Unless you’ve worked with an architect before, you may not understand what an architect does or how the process works. Bill believes that it is an architect’s responsibility to create exciting visions, help solve special problems and create a partnership with the client in developing an understanding of the best solutions for their proposed project.
Developing the balance between the character, quality and budget constraints of the project lead to the creation of the most appropriate and exciting solutions.
Over the years Bill has utilized a process to help in the development of the partnership and communication necessary to smoothly transition a project from concept to construction.
Understanding – Communication – Completion
This process you see outlined below has evolved over time to provide the client with the understanding of each step and the responsibilities involved. It is intended to help the client through a lengthy and ideally enjoyably exciting time of creating their new building space. The most successful projects are realized when the architect, owner and contractor work in harmony to communicate, and resolve to work together through all issues, to the successful completion of the construction.
The 6-step process
The 6-step process involves the conversations and expression of ideas mixed with architectural creativity and client feedback, to ultimately establish the best solutions.
Step 1 – Written Definition
The Pre-Design, Research and Programming Phase: During this phase the owner shares with the architect their vision for their new project, or tours their existing structure which is to be renovated or replaced. The architect then sets out in defining the space program, design style and assists in establishing the budget for the proposed structure. The architect prepares a written definition of the spaces required and the characteristics and size of each space. Also during this phase, the architect investigates any zoning, building code or planning restrictions or influences on the proposed project type. Once the space program is determined and approved by the owner the architect moves to the next phase of design.
Step 2 – Design
The Schematic Design Phase: During this phase the architect evaluates the information gained from the client related to the project and creates a design to meet the site requirements and programming characteristics designed in phase 1. This normally involves a site plan, a floor plan, a building section, and exterior elevations or a 3D perspective of the look of the building. During this phase the owner and architect meet to review the designs, get feedback and make any revisions before proceeding to the next phase. At this time preliminary costs can also be established.
Step 3 – Details
The Design Development Phase: This phase involves refinements and continued definition of the design requirements for the project. It involves an outline of the materials, finishes and colors to be used for the project. Additional plans are included to enhance the graphic representation of the building. These would also include information about the Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical systems. The architect then presents the updated and enhanced plans to the client for review prior to moving on to the next phase of construction documents.
Step 4 – Methods and Materials for Construction
The Construction Documents Phase: During this phase the architects and engineers (typically Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical engineers) provide the documents to fully explain the methods and materials to be used during the construction of this project for the contractors use in obtaining pricing. Documents produced during this phase are also to be used as the basis of the contract, between owner and contractor are submitted for building permitting.
Step 5 – Construction Process Selection
The Bidding Phase: In this phase of the project the contractors or bidders evaluate the construction documents and obtain pricing for the materials and labor to construct all the various aspects of the project. The project delivery method can be design / bid / build, construction management, design / build or a negotiated time and material process. Each way of constructing the building has its pros and cons and should be discussed prior to selecting a way of building the project.
Step 6 – Review
The Construction Contract Administration Phase: This is the phase during which the building construction or renovation is provided by the contractor and involves the architect in reviewing the process. The architect can participate during this phase by reviewing the contractor’s work, providing coordination for any revisions or clarification between the owner and contractor, reviewing shop drawings and material samples, reviewing and approving change orders and applications for payments. Also involved would be project closeout where final completion of the work involves “punch list” touch up of the work is done to the satisfaction of the owner, collection of final documents and final payments and release of liens.
This process, when combined with open and clear communication, will lead to a happy and successful solution that all parties can be proud of.