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Architecting Your Dream, in Six (easy) Phases

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

Design and construction projects involve many intricate parts.

Projects typically go through the following six phases. However, some projects can streamline and combine phases, while others might need additional phases, depending on the project's complexity.

Phase 1: Pre-Design / Deciding What to Build

The owner and architect discuss the general requirements for the project (how many rooms, the function of the spaces, etc.), while analyzing the fit between the site, city regulations and the owner's needs, wants, and budget.

Phase 2: Schematic Design / Rough Sketches

The architect prepares a series of rough sketches, based on the information above, which illustrate the general arrangement of spaces and rooms in relation to the site. The architect can also prepare 3D models to help visualize the project. The owner approves these sketches before proceeding to the next phase.

Phase 3: Design Development / Refining the Design

The architect prepares more detailed drawings to further illustrate aspects of the proposed design. Floor plans show the rooms in correct size and shape. Elevations and sections are generated to further define the rooms and spaces. Draft specifications are prepared, listing the major materials and room finishes.

Phase 4: Construction Document Preparation

Once the owner has approved the design, the architect continues to refine the detail drawings and specifications, which the contractor will use to establish construction cost and build the project. These drawings and specifications become part of the building contract and will be submitted to the city for approvals.

Phase 5: Bidding & Negotiating/ Hiring the General Contractor

The owner selects and hires the contractor, although the architect may make some recommendations. In many cases, owners choose from among three contractors they've asked to submit bids on the project. The architect can help prepare the bid package as well as the invitations to bid and instructions to bidders.

Phase 6: Construction Administration/ On Site Observation

While the contractor will build the project, the architect can assist the owner in making sure that the project is built according to the construction documents. The architect can make site visits to observe construction, review and approve the contractor's applications for payment, and keep the owner informed of the project's progress.

Successful projects follow a fairly linear trajectory from one phase to the next, with the end goal in mind. Unsuccessful projects typically fail because of wavering between one phase and the next, or a breakdown in communication at some point in the process.

At mad works architecture +, we aim to keep this process fun and exciting by striving to keep our clients informed and engaged throughout the duration of the project.

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