Initial Client Meeting:
The initial client meeting is an opportunity for the client and architect to familiarize themselves with each other and the project. During this meeting, the scope of work is discussed and a wish list is generated. The wish list, or program, is a line-item list of all the work that will be included in the project. The program is then used as a guide from which the preliminary designs are produced.
The preliminary design phase includes several procedures. Members of the design team will first photograph and inventory the site and pertinent content, and in case of a renovation, measure the existing structure. This information is then inputted into the computer and drawings of existing conditions are generated. The written program and existing conditions are combined to produce conceptual design schemes. Together, the client and architect review and edit the preliminary designs, set priorities, and chose a direction. If the client desires, a budget estimate may be established at this time with input from builders.
In the design development phase, the preliminary design is refined and additional detail is included. The client and architect periodically review the drawings to insure the proposed design best meets the client's needs. This is also the time to have the municipality review the design if a zoning variance or historic district commission review is required. Once all parties have approved the proposed design, the construction document phase begins.
Construction documents are the detailed drawings and technical specifications contractors need to build the project. These drawings are issued to the municipality for final building permit approval and used by the client to secure institutional financing. Most importantly, construction documents are a legal contract that binds the builder to the owner.
In this phase, construction document packages are issued to a group of general contractors for final pricing bids. The client and architect will mutually select the builders on the bidding list. The general contractors will be capable of producing a high quality, timely, and cost effective product. Their quality will be evident by touring past projects, or from previous experience. Together, the client and architect analyze the bids on the builder's cost, personality, professionalism, and availability.
Contract administration takes place during the construction process. The architect works as a liaison between the client and general contractor to insure the project is built as intended. This communication also allows the builder to suggest adjustments due to unforeseen site conditions or for the client to discuss program changes once construction has commenced.