Feasibility studies are preliminary studies undertaken in the very early stage of a project. They tend to be carried out when a project is large or complex, or where there is some doubt or controversy regarding the proposed development. The purpose of is to establish whether the project is viable and help identify feasible options and assist in the development of other project documentation such as the project budgets, business plans and strategic planning.
Existing Building Survey & Documentation
Building surveys are a means of providing a detailed evaluation of a property’s condition and involves an extensive inspection. The surveys are generally undertaken to help owners and architects understand the condition of the property, sizes and dimensions of interior spaces and exterior building, and locations of existing furniture and equipment. It provides the footprint to begin renovations, additions and/ or evaluation to start new.
Pre-Design & Code Analysis
The predesign and code analysis process establishes a shared project vision; promotes collaboration, critical thinking, and decision making and is usually an integral part of a Feasibility Study. Even without a full Feasibility Study, it allows the owner and architect to explore options prior to beginning intensive design. The owner benefits from a more defined project description that allows the design to proceed more efficiently and by establishing good communication, a clear measure of project objectives, and avoids the false starts caused by differing expectations. The code analysis is essential in understanding what the project can and cannot do relative to components concerning regulatory and life safety. It can include the following services: site evaluation, geotechnical and structural studies, existing building documentation, programming, conceptual studies and test-fits, blocking and stacking diagrams, project scheduling and project budgeting.
Part of the early design phases, interior design provides for the aesthetic of the final colors, textures, fabrics and materials of the architectural space. Research and coordination of all the materials, including furniture choices, specialty lighting, draperies and the overall spatial environment are included in this process. Interior design can happen by itself to upgrade an existing space or as part of a larger existing or new architectural project.
Space planning is an in-depth analysis of how physical space is used in buildings or structures. It considers the purpose of spaces and who will use them in a preliminary or schematic design. It generally indicates the various components of what is required in a particular space including furniture and equipment.
3D Sketch Modeling
3D sketch modeling, created by original 2D drawings or sketches is a level of 3D presentation that allows the viewer to understand preliminary concepts and forms of their architectural project. The final form is that of “close-to” reality or realistic photographic presentation. Photo-real 3D type presentation drawings and images is available as an out-sourced component of the design process.
During schematic design, an architect consults with the owner to determine project goals and requirements. Often this determines the program for the project. The program, or architectural program, is the term used to define the required functions of the project. It should include estimated square footage of each usage type and any other elements that achieve the project goals. During schematic design, an architect commonly develops study drawings, documents, or other media that illustrate the concepts of the design and include spatial relationships, scale, and form for the owner to review. Schematic design also is the research phase of the project, when zoning requirements or jurisdictional restrictions are discovered and addressed. This phase produces a final schematic design, to which the owner agrees after consultation and discussions with the architect. Costs are estimated based on overall project volume. The design then moves forward to the design development phase.
Design development (DD) services use the initial design documents from the schematic phase and take them one step further. This phase lays out mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, and architectural details. Typically referred to as DD, this phase results in drawings that often specify design elements such as material types and location of windows and doors. The level of detail provided in the DD phase is determined by the owner’s request and the project requirements. The DD phase often ends with a formal presentation to, and approval by, the owner.
The next phase is construction documents (CDs). Once the owner and architect are satisfied with the documents produced during DD, the architect moves forward and produces drawings with greater detail. These drawings typically include specifications for construction details and materials. Once CDs are satisfactorily produced, the architect sends them to contractors for pricing or bidding, if part of the contract. The level of detail in CDs may vary depending on the owner’s preference. If the CD set is not 100 percent complete, this is noted on the CD set when it is sent out for bid. This phase results in the contractors’ final estimates of project costs.
Contract administration (CA) services are rendered at the owner’s discretion and are outlined in the owner-architect construction agreement. Different owner-architect- contractor agreements require different levels of services on the architect’s part. CA services begin with the initial contract for construction and terminate when the final certificate of payment is issued. The architect’s core responsibility during this phase is to help the contractor to build the project as specified in the CDs as approved by the owner. Questions may arise on site that require the architect to develop architectural sketches: drawings issued after construction documents have been released that offer additional clarification to finish the project properly. Different situations may require the architect to issue a Change in Services to complete the project.
As one of the most critical parts of an owner’s construction process, budgeting is the establishment of the overall cost of the project. Budgeting can happen at any and each phase of the design and include projected consultant fees, approval fees, construction costs, land or property acquisition, financing fees, insurance, internal staff costs, furnishings and equipment, contingencies and inflation.