An Architect is distinct from a designer in that an Architect is a person who is licensed to plan, design, review and manage the construction of buildings and spaces. We can be involved in all phases of construction, from the first days of feasibility and design, through construction and to occupancy. The value of having an Architect for all phases is you have a licensed professional who, on behalf of your interests, manages and coordinates the roles, information and decisions of every team member from structural engineers to interior designers, suppliers to tradesmen and contractors to city officials.
Typical architectural services include feasibility studies, site selection and evaluation, lease space review, zoning and code review, design, preparation of permit documents, construction documents, and construction administration.
The following is an outline of services typically offered by architects in conjunction with auxiliary consultants required to complete a project (such as structural engineers, building envelope specialists, interior designers, etc). An Architect can be hired to perform one or all of these phases:
• Project Inception - The planning of your project starts here. Working together with your architect, you will share your project needs, dreams and goals.
• Schematic Design – During this stage your architect will begin by preparing preliminary design sketches based on your requirements and budget to explore and illustrate possible options. The architect will review these options with you, pointing out the merits and responding to your input.
• Design Development – This stage refines the agreed upon schematic design for a clearer definition of the scope and quality of the finished project. Further cost projections will determine how closely the design conforms to the budget expectations, or what, if any, adjustments are required. Consultants, which the Architect manages, are brought on board to contribute their requirements. If you haven’t already chosen a contractor, this is a good point in the project for your architect to advise you on possible choices. Bringing a contractor in early in the design process helps to value engineer the design along with the budget.
• Permit Drawings – When the most crucial design concepts have been decided, the architect prepares permit drawings which outline to the municipality the zoning and code requirements. These are required to obtain building permits and quotes, and start to guide the contractor in construction. They are not construction drawings.
• Construction Drawings – While waiting for the permit to be approved, the Architect will start on the construction drawings. These are the drawings that the contractor uses to build the house and are much more detailed and extensive than permit drawings. On a fast track residential project that doesn’t go to different contractors for bidding, these drawings continue through construction, as the decisions for each building phase become more clear.
• Construction and Contract Administration – Your architect will consult with you and advise you during construction. On-site visits will determine if construction is proceeding in general accordance with the contract, and that the design, materials, and workmanship meet with acceptable standards. Work from other consultants will continue to be reviewed and coordinated by the Architect during construction.