The Designer’s Process


The process a designer takes to achieve the results of their masterpiece can be varied depending on the person. There are a number of processes available to the designer to take in order to achieve the desired result. In this post we will cover the most common design process that all architectural professionals know and use from time to time in their practice. Though there are variations of this process this is the basic process that is taught to everyone in design school.

There are five basic elements to the architectural design process, but we will also include a few others that can be added to this to make a more complete picture. In future post we will take each element of this process and further explain so the average person can understand the process and what is involved. So there will be a brief explanation below each step in the process and then check out other portions of this site for detailed descriptions of each step of the process.

Pre-Design – This is the first step in the process that is usually not included in the five basic elements of the architectural design process. During the pre-design phase the designer meets with the client to understand the scope of work and then due diligence is done to analyze the site along with any other areas pertinent to begin the process.

Schematic Design – During the schematic design process the initial design is developed and revised per client input. The initial analysis of the building code is done to understand how it will impact the design.

Design Development – Once the initial design has been approved by the client this is the next phase of the process to further develop the design while considering the other building elements (electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc.). Materials are further defined and the structure is integrated with the initial design.

Construction Documents – In this the design is near complete and all the building systems are detailed and developed. All of the materials, furniture, fixtures, and equipment is specified for the drawings in order to have the general contractor bid on the project.

Bidding and Negotiation – This is the point where the drawings are opened to a number of general contractors to look at the construction drawings to determine a fee proposal (bid) for the project. The bids are compared with one another and one contractor and their team are chosen to build the project.

Contract Documents – During this phase of the project the architect (designer) acts as the owners representative to observe the construction process to ensure the building is being built per the construction drawings and specifications. Towards the end of the building process the designer/architect walks through the building with the owner and contractor to examine the quality of the construction and determine what portions need to be complete before occupation is given.

Each step in the process has a lot more elements then what was described above, but these brief explanations help you understand generally each step in the architectural design process. You can find each element broken down further throughout this site. If you have questions or comments regarding this post email us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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