The process we follow for the Design and Construction of projects involve several steps. Typically, projects go through the following six steps or phases. However, on some simple projects, several of these steps may be combined; on other more complex types there may be additional steps.
Step 1: Deciding What to Build
This first stage, called programming, is probably the most valuable time you will spend with us, your architect. It is at this time we discuss the requirements for your building: how many rooms, what function the structure will have, who will use it and how. It is also the time when you begin to test the fit between what you want, what you need, and what you can afford to spend.
Step 2: Rough Sketches
Once we have defined what is to be built, we will then do a series of rough sketches, known as schematic designs. These sketches will show you the general arrangement of rooms and of the site. If you have difficulty understanding the sketches (many people do), ask and we can explain the ideas. Depending on the project and budget, we can also make models of the design to help better visualize it.
Step 3: Refining the Design
This step, called design development, is when we prepare more detailed drawings to illustrate other aspects of the proposed design. The floor plans will show all the rooms in the correct size and shape. Outline specifications will be prepared listing the major materials and room finishes.
Step 4: Preparing Construction Documents
At this point, we prepare construction documents, the detailed drawings and specifications which the contractor will use to establish actual construction cost and to build the project.
Step 5: Hiring the Contractor
There are a number of ways to select a contractor. We can make recommendations, or if you already have someone you want to work with, you might send the construction documents to him or her and negotiate fees and costs. Or you may wish to choose among several contractors you've asked to submit bids on the job. We will discuss the pros and cons of these methods with you to help you decide what will work best for you.
Step 6: Construction
This final step is often the most anxiety-producing part of the whole process. Up until now, your project has been confined to intense discussion, planning, and two-dimensional renderings. When construction begins, your project moves from an abstraction to a physical reality.
Ready to start?
If you are ready to start I would like the opportunity to discuss various issues relating to your current or future design needs. Please contact Crutcher Studio, Inc for a project consultation.
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(Adapted from the AIA publication "A Beginners Guide to Architectural Services")