Once you have selected your architect and signed the contract, the architect will take you through various stages of the design process.

Schematic Design

  • Based on conversations with you and an evaluation of your home, your architect will begin to draft concept designs to represent ideas that you have discussed and confirm that you’re both on the same page. These drawings will be at a high level until you agree on the basic concepts. You will have a lot of involvement in this phase. 

Design Development

  • After you have signed off on schematic design the project is documented with more detail during design development. If necessary, the architect will involve engineers to preform calculations on structural components of the project, and adjust the design as needed based on those calculations.

Construction Documents/ Working Drawings

  • Depending on the scope of your project and your contract, the architect may also produce construction documents. These documents add further levels of detail and product specifications to the design to provide direction for the contractors and builders. The more detailed these drawings, the easier it will be to make sure contractors are providing bids using the same assumptions.

Design modifications

  • The design process can be a fluid one. It is recommended that you have a contractor involved at the design phase to provide input and feedback on the design decisions from a cost standpoint. A contractor can look at the design based on the practicality of building it. You may learn that an alternative approach would bring your costs down for a similar result, and then ask your architect/engineer to modify the design as needed. You may need the design modified again based on permit requirements when you submit for approvals.

Collecting estimates

  • Once the design is completed and before submitting your plans for permit review, we recommend that you meet with a few contractors to get estimates. After getting estimates, you may discover that you want to modify some elements of your plan or project scope based on the cost and the contractor’s feedback. 

Click here to learn more about city design review and building permits.

Note:  Do not underestimate the impact of the engineer.  An engineer is usually selected by the architect and paid by the architect with little direct involvement from the client. However, you may want to interview and check references on your architect’s preferred engineer before moving forward. The engineer’s work can have substantial impact on the cost and approvals for the project.