In the Pre-Design Phase, the Architect and the Owner mutually determine the circumstances and constraints of the project. The Architect will check building codes and obtain or prepare drawings of existing conditions. The result of Predesign work will be a written program. This phase is complete when the Owner and Architect agree that the scope of work, anticipated construction cost and time schedule are well defined.
Schematic Design Phase
Schematic Design establishes the general scope, conceptual design, scale and relationships among the components of the project. The primary objective is to arrive at a clearly defined, feasible concept while exploring the most promising alternative design solutions. The Architect will prepare a series of rough plans, known as schematics, which show the general arrangement of rooms and of the building on the site. Models and/or illustrations are prepared to help visualize the project as necessary. The project proceeds to the next phase when the Owner approves the Schematic Design.
Design Development Phase
In this phase the Architect expands upon the approved schematic design studies to develop more detailed drawings illustrating other aspects of the proposed design. Floor plans show all the rooms in correct size and shape. Outline specifications are prepared listing the major materials and room finishes. The Architect verifies that the design complies with building codes and works with engineers to design the structure, mechanical and electrical systems. The project proceeds to the next phase when the Owner approves the Design Development documents.
Construction Documents Phase
Once the Owner has approved the Design Development phase, the Architect prepares detailed working drawings (formerly known as blueprints) and specifications, which the Contractor will use to establish actual construction cost and build the project. These drawings and specifications become part of the construction contract. The Architect may also assist the Owner in the preparation of bidding forms.
The Owner selects and hires the Contractor. If the Owners are choosing from among several Contractors, the Architect can help to prepare bidding documents as well as invitations to bid and instructions to bidders, the conditions of the contract, and the form of agreement between the Owner and the Contractor.
Construction Phase Services
While the Contractor will physically build the project, the Architect can assist the Owner by making site visits to observe the construction to determine, in general, if the project is being built according to the plans and specifications. The Architect may also review and approve the Contractor's applications for payment, process change orders, and generally keep the Owner informed of the project's progress. The Contractor is solely responsible for construction methods, techniques, schedules, and procedures.