So, you're ready to hire an architect. For many, it's a huge step filled with hope and excitement but mixed with a healthy dose of fear. You've surfed through some architect's websites, walked through some beautiful projects, and you have a pretty clear picture of what you want.
Now, give us a call. We'll get a coffee or a beer and chat about our process and your project. Then, call up some other architects to see who will be a good fit for you, your family, your company and your project.
In the meantime, the following is a rough outline of how our process works...
This is where, together, we figure out what you really want and need. You probably have big ideas. We'll listen carefully and then help hone and craft your ideas, and, hopefully, pleasantly surprise you with some big ideas of our own.
Initial meetings will eventually give way to our team doing a site visit to document the existing conditions through photos and measurements. This information will help us create a simple set of drawings showing what is already there and will typically include floor plans, elevations, and site information. A civil engineer or surveyor is hired to gather information regarding the boundaries, trees and topography, which will also be added to our overall documentation.
Our team will begin meeting with the local authorities including the building, zoning, and planning departments to ensure we understand the specific codes and requirements for your project. Other factors to be on the lookout for are requirements from the State Fire Marshal, covenants from a Homeowner's Association, and in our area, wetland boundaries and delineation as provided by the Army Corp of Engineers, among many others.
Another important step in this phase is the creation of the schedule, or workplan, for your project. This document serves as an important tool to help guide our process and ultimately keeps you and our team on the same page.
We generate a handful of preliminary designs based on the information gathered from step two. We'll bring in concepts that may enhance specific site features, highlight an important aspect of your daily life, or simply explore other opportunities as they're discovered through step two.
We'll talk about how you use your home or business. There may be very specific locations for different functions and there also may be ways to combine differing functions into a single space. We will illustrate those ideas through diagrams and sketches. It's important to keep in mind that these are still relatively "big ideas", the drawings we complete are not architecture quite yet. Furniture, windows, and doors are schematic at best, and may not be shown at all. Simple plans and elevations are developed to discuss relationships between spaces and the basic form of the building begins to take shape.
We'll look at materials for the interior (including wall finishes, general lighting, millwork, trim options, etc.) and exterior (including roofing, siding, windows, doors, etc.). We'll talk about general requirements for technology, audio/video, and security. We'll also need to put together a rough package for landscaping materials. All of these discussions we'll help you come up with a target budget and our work in this phase will help to confirm that budget.
We'll meet a handful of times during this phase. Your decisions will help lead us toward the overall design strategy we'll pursue during design development.
Here, our work starts to become architecture. Our schematic drawings evolve from diagrams to more refined plans, sections, and details. You'll begin to select materials and finishes, with our help, and our team will figure out how everything will fit together. How large are the windows? What is the surface of the ceiling? What does the trim look like? What kind of flooring do you want?
We'll consult with engineers, often including civil, structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical. As they become part of the project team, we'll coordinate often to ensure that each facet of the design is in lockstep with the others. With our input, they will develop plans, sections, details, and product information that will be included in the overall design documents.
The project team will develop a simple set of specifications for materials, fixtures, appliances, equipment, assemblies and details.
Details, details, details. Our team will be very active on your project during this phase producing final drawings and documents for your project. This is the big roll of drawings and the thick book of specifications the contractor uses daily on your jobsite to construct the building.
Once we're nearing completion, we may begin the process of permitting. It's often possible to submit a set of permit drawings (simplified construction set) to the authorities as they typically do not care to review the miniscule details of the building, but rather, they will turn a keen eye towards making sure the project is meeting state, city, and local codes.
You may already know the contractor you wish to hire. If not, we're with you to help in the selection process. You'll interview a handful of contractors to establish a good fit and negotiate the terms, then, we're on our way.
We share the drawings, specifications and other documents to the contractor to begin construction. We stay on board to answer questions, handle clarifications, and complete drawing revisions, all in an effort to protect your interests and the integrity of the design. We'll review shop drawings/submittals, invoices, budgetary items, and the construction schedule.
It's vitally important to our company that the architect and contractor work as a team to ensure a successful build.