Architectural design is a multi-phased process whether it's a new home, renovation, multi-family development, or commercial project. work may include the time necessary for engineers to complete their work on your project as well. The five phases of any project can be reviewed below:
Existing Conditions is the foundation for the rest of the design and documentation process. It primarily includes information gathering and documentation of the site. Information gathering includes studying the context of the neighborhood and land, researching the zoning requirements and applicable codes, and photo documenting the site. We spend a considerable amount of time investigating and discovering what makes the site unique, which views should be optimized or shielded, what is the best orientation for the home, what is historically and culturally significant to the area, and so on. Existing Conditions is the phase when we require a site survey to be produced by a site surveyor if one is not already available. We use this survey to create a digital plot plan that is used as the base drawing for the rest of the project.
Schematic Design focuses on the experience of the home, the location and relationship between different functional areas, how the new home affects the existing site, passive sustainable design strategies, and ultimately, the overall design concept of the home. In this phase we design primarily from an aerial view, or the floor plan. We incorporate the information gathered during the Existing Conditions with your project scope to create potential floor plan layouts. We meet with you to discuss these layouts and refine them until we create the best floor plan solution. This is generally done in 2-3 meetings. A 3D model will be created of this floor plan solution on new build projects to help visualize the overall concept and ideas explored in Schematic Design.
Design Development is where the “look” or “style” of the home comes into the process. During this phase, materials including siding, roofing, doors, windows, lighting, cabinetry, counters, hardware, fixtures, tile, flooring, color schemes, and all other finishing details are discussed, often with a visit to multiple showrooms to select major items in person. 3-D renderings are used during this phase to paint the picture of what the spaces will look like. Design Development is also where consultants such as Structural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) engineers are involved, and in the case of new build homes, a civil engineer as well.
Construction Documents are the final deliverable you receive from us. In this phase we specify and draw highly detailed plans to be used by General Contractors to price the design, and as needed to obtain the Building Permits. Once the project is underway, we are available by phone and email to troubleshoot any questions that arise during the construction process. We typically make site visits every other week to ensure that the design intent of the drawings is being upheld.
Permitting & Construction
A building permit is required for all new build homes. The time necessary for permitting is completely dependent on the the local jurisdiction and varies greatly on how well they are staffed and how many projects they are reviewing. The permit is issued when structures are designed in accordance with the building codes and all other applicable codes and ordinances, to ensure the safety of the structure. Time to secure a permit is typically around 2 months, but again, depends on your local jurisdiction. If your project is in a historic district, the timeline may extend as it also has to be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Office.
Construction for a new build home typically takes 5-8 months, but can take more time based on the size, complexity, and location of the project. The general contractor that you hire to build your project is responsible for the schedule and timeline of your project, but estimating 5-8 months for construction is a good start.