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Stylistically, we speak a number of different architectural design “languages,” and we believe our designs distinguish themselves as of the highest possible quality and character. In the end, even though we bear a great deal of the creative and management burdens of such a process, we ultimately view ourselves as the facilitators of the clients’ goals or dreams.
We offer variations in our fee structures (or project processes) in an attempt to provide only the services that a client may require, and it allows us to work in different areas of the country where the local requirements are different.
We offer site consultations, master planning and overall conceptual site design work as well as individual building design and interior design. Most often master planning and big picture ideas are developed on an hourly basis and individual buildings are contracted for separately (if the construction of these buildings is going to be sequenced over time). Many of the larger private developments require support buildings, infrastructure elements and/or site coordination. For the success of the overall project, it is necessary to integrate all of these elements into a unified design concept. Additionally, secondary buildings still need to have structural, mechanical/electrical, and interior fixed finishes coordinated before delivery.
One option is in the delivery of the design and documentation of the Interior Fixed Finishes. In recent years we have been involved in projects where the design and documentation of the Interior Fixed Finishes has been provided by another design professional or is accomplished through the General Contractor interacting directly with the Owner. By separating out this Scope of Work and listing it separately it makes it clear from the beginning which party will be responsible for these design services.
Another option in the fee structure is for our participation in Construction Administration. We believe that there is a role for the architect and his purpose is to support the general contractor. The conventions of a standard AIA contract allows for 25% of the architects fee to be dedicated toward the construction phase of the contract. This scope of work is often omitted by many architects and leaves all of the construction phase burdens with the Owner and General Contractor. We offer our clients the opportunity for us to participate in the bidding and negotiating of the sub-contractors contracts, monthly draw process, and quality assurance. The size of our role is determined by the relationship between Owner and General Contractor, the nature of their Contract for General Construction, and the need to fulfill any requirements of a third party lending institution. Because many of these variables are not clear at the initial phase of design we offer to allow the Owner to determine our role at the time of construction by structuring these services on an hourly basis.
The following may assist in explaining the architects Basic Scope of Service included at each phase of a standard project.
The first phase of the design process is the Conceptual Design phase. This phase is programmatic, problem-solving, and involves the creative visualization of an overall concept. In a sense, it is the beginnings of the “big idea.” Through Owner/Architect brainstorming sessions, the fundamental relationships of space and layout are explored, and creative strategies are tested. Once the Conceptual Design phase is completed, the project typically enters the Schematic Design phase.
Schematic Design involves the initial stages of the design of the project. In this phase, the project begins to take shape. Programming information is incorporated at this stage and basic spatial relationships are developed. Initial plans and sketches are presented. The Schematic Design Documents shall include a conceptual site plan, if appropriate, and preliminary building plans, sections and elevations. Once the Schematic Design is approved, the project then moves into Design Development.
Design Development Documents are created based on the approved Schematic Design. The Design Development Documents shall illustrate and describe the refinement of the design of the Project, establishing the scope, relationships, forms, size and appearance of the Project by means of plans, sections and elevations, typical construction details, and equipment layouts. The Design Development Documents shall include specifications that identify major materials and systems and establish in general their quality levels. Once the Design Development phase is approved, the project moves into the Construction Document phase.
Construction Documents are created based on the approved Design Development Documents. The Construction Documents shall set forth in detail the requirements for construction of the Project. The Construction Documents shall include Drawings and Specifications that establish in detail the quality levels of materials and systems required for the Project. Once completed with Construction Documents, the project typically moves to Construction Procurement.
The Construction Procurement phase is characterized by the Architect assisting the Owner in obtaining either competitive bids or negotiated proposals and shall assist the Owner in awarding and preparing contracts for construction. If requested, the Architect shall assist the Owner in establishing a list of prospective bidders or contractors. The Architect may also assist the Owner in bid validation or proposal evaluation and determination of the successful bid or proposal, if any. If requested by the Owner, the Architect shall notify all prospective bidders or contractors of the bid or proposal results.
Once this phase is completed, the project typically moves into the Contract Administration phase.
Contract Administration is where the “fun” begins, and is a phase where the Architect administers the Owner’s Contract for Construction with the General Contractor. This is an exciting phase where concepts become a reality. This does not happen as a matter of course. A successful construction project depends on careful Contract Administration. During this phase, the architect represents the client’s interests during construction, shop drawings of building components are reviewed, periodic visits to the site are made, regular progress meetings are attended, and the contractor’s Applications for Payment are reviewed. The entire process concludes with Owner Occupancy!