Form Architecture | Process




This portion of the website is probably the most important and informative because often people are not sure what it means to hire an architect. They’re unsure of the whole process and exactly how things get done and what’s expected from both parties.

First let me say the reason to hire an architect is to maximize the return value on your dollar. The additional cost of hiring
an architect will more than pay for itself in terms project satisfaction and financial reward.

The way this is achieved is through the careful process of planning. Through the process of understanding the problem, proposing alternatives, reviewing and updating those proposals and finally codifying the results creates a project that not only meets your functional needs but financial needs as well.

The process is a cyclical in nature. First there is discovery of the problem, identification of opportunities, proposals to
solve those problems and fine tuning those proposals and then reevaluation of the proposals.

Yes, it seems a little tedious but we make it fun and it’s necessary to creating a great project.

We never ask our clients for the solution but rather just their goals. We love to take their goals and compile them into workable solutions. Often what seems to a client competing images and ideas can be brought together to form something unique and specific to them. We love it when our clients bring us pictures, articles and ideas that don’t really seem to go together but visually explain the goal. We then take these ideas, usually in a stack of unrelated images, and combine them into a single unified design.

Preliminary Design.

1. Typically when we meet a client for the first time it can be at their site or our office. It’s a complimentary service
and it usually last for a 1hr or so. We talk about the big picture, the major priorities and the schedule. We listen very
carefully because this will be the foundation for an initial design concept.
2. We work on an initial design concept that’s usually a hand drawn floor plan showing just how the big picture fits on
the site. It’s during this phase we do discovery about site limitations such as easements and setbacks.
3. After a couple weeks we get back together to see if we’re all on the same page. Having a drawing to look at and bounce
ideas off of really helps because everyone has a basis of comparison. Where not too worried about the accuracy here and in
fact the goal is to use the drawing as an idea generator rather than a solution. Its real purpose is to raise questions
against already assumed ideas. It will be close enough to describe the big picture but be different enough to make it
interesting. The idea is to come up with new and better approaches.

After the drawing has been written on, marked up and piled on we make a list of correction and go for a real solution.

4. This next step is still fairly preliminary but the goal is to create basic sketch drawings for the plan and elevations.
These sketches really begin to define the projects scope. Once again we’ll get back together and comment the drawings.

What happens in this process of having various design solutions is you will see new ways of looking at things and ideas
that you were sure about but now get changed and new better opportunities. This preliminary design process is really
about you and I discovery ideas that we really didn’t initially conceive.

Design Development Phase
1. This is where the rubber meets the road and specifications, rooms sizes and alike are implemented into the design.
It’s also where we typically commit the design to 3d computer visualization. The next time you see your design it will
be in the form of computer animations and 2d drawings. This is where you get to see the space as if you were there. The
project is also fairly fluid because it’s assumed that when you see the project in a 3d form there will be adjustments.
It’s all part of the great circle of design.
2. Rinse and Repeat…. We’ll do this process a couple of times in the goal of creating drawings that are ready for what
we call “Working Drawings” or what the rest of the world calls “Blueprints”

Working Drawings
1. Ok, this phase is not necessarily the most engaging but it’s the most technical. (Half the office thinks it’s more engaging)
It’s all about cleaning up all the little details and coordinating the drawings with consultants. We send them our stuff,
they send us theirs, we get the stuff to match and wa lah we have a very nice set of drawings that limits cost overruns and
field changes. Throughout the process we’ll continually put the drawings up to your secure web area so you can see the process,
hand out preliminary drawings to consultants such as interior design professionals and comment or ask questions about the
technical aspects. Because we use “BIM” software (Not old school Autocad), we’re able to coordinated structural, mechanical and
electrical systems minimizing field conflicts and saving you money.

If there’s one thing a computer is good at, it’s counting. We leverage this superpower to create material and area schedules
that the contractor can use for bidding and estimating purposes. We can schedule anything from carpet area to light fixture
counts. As drawings are finalized and posted your login web page, you can use this information for estimating purposes.

The Sort of Big Day.
1. Plan submittal to the local municipality. We’ll take care of the coordinating unless your contractor really really wants to.
Sometimes it’s best if we do in case they have any questions regarding the plans. We’ve been to this rodeo many times so we can
anticipate the draw we’re going to get. This process usually takes 2 to 4 weeks depending on how busy the planning department is.

The Almost Big Day
1. Picking up the permit. The contractor usually does this because many times the permits fees are included within the construction
loan which is typically coordinated by the contractor.

The Big Day
1. The contractor begins construction. Throughout the process of construction and especially with in the first few months we help
out quite bit as the contractor requires. We stop by the project anytime you request throughout the whole process and offer as
much support as possible.

Regarding the financial part, the “Preliminary Design” phase is typically an hourly rate with the rest of the phases being a
fixed fee. That means design development, construction drawings, permits and construction support is all under the banner of
fixed fee. After our initial meeting we’re pretty good at estimating what the total amount of hours required to do the
Preliminary Design phase.