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On 10:41 AM by Rachel Preston Prinz in
I prepared the following materials for organizations that may be wanting to implement a design project. Hopefully, it will get you prepared for the process in a concise way! Enjoy!

Introduction - The Architectural Process

This manual will help you to prepare for the process of designing and building your new facility

1     Identify your Need(s)

Each building project requires a careful evaluation of what is needed. Once a project is 80 percent at capacity, it’s time to start thinking bigger. When that time comes, the next step is to

2      Implement a Planning / Building Committee

Planning and Building Committees are integral to the process of design. They represent your project both outward - representing the needs to the architect and builders, and inward – sharing design and budgeting to the administration and benefactors. The members of this committee, or these committees, are often very active in the organization, broad-minded, level headed clear thinkers. The perfect balance in these committees is found when there are both general thinkers – with a broad range of experience and exposure, and specialists - who can finesse aspects of the design so that the result is a finer representation of the need. It is vital that building and planning committees have at least one member, preferably their chairperson, with a strong business and accounting sensibility. There are going to be large cost considerations in any project and it is vital that someone understand and be able to explain how the funding is obtained and distributed. A committee of 5-7 is ideal in size, for schedule coordination and cohesiveness. A secretary should document all decisions.

The planning committee should, before the process of design even begins, obtain:
    • A site survey that documents boundaries, topography, locations of trees over 6” in diameter, adjoining buildings, streets and curbs, building setbacks, easements, and the location of utilities.
    • Zoning restrictions for the site
    • Deed restrictions
    • Drawings of existing facilities, if applicable

Planning Committee Do’s and Don’ts

    • Express your concerns to the Architect
    • Ask questions of the Architect
    • Alert the Architect if something appears to be wrong
    • Expedite payments to Architect and Contractor

    • Give the Contractor instructions – Communicate via the Chairperson to your Architect who will them work with Contractor
    • Allow members of the organization to perform construction unless they competitively bid for the work. Consult with your Architect.
    • Make unnecessary changes.
3     Selecting an Architect
Selecting and Architect is one of the single most important, and difficult, aspects of Construction. There are lots of architects out there that are good at lots of different things. Some are generalists, and others specialize in certain aspects of design: like residential, commercial, or even more specifically - restaurants or religious design.

There are two main thought processes in architect selection.

Performance-based selection is when an Architect is selected based on his or her background and work history. The committee reviews and selects the Architect based on prior experience and interview connection.

Design-based selection is when an Architect is selected based on ideas they are asked to bring to the table before the project officially gets awarded. Oftentimes, several Architects will be invited to participate in preliminary visioning, or even given a program to work with, and will provide very preliminary sketch ideas based on these criteria. Some Architects will do this for free, others will not. But a small fee in exchange for knowing that your Architect truly understands your vision before you get into a multi-year working relationship with them is sometimes very comforting, making this an ideal form of preliminary interview.

An Architect Questionnaire is the first place to start in this process. This allows the committee to review side-by-side the qualifications of all the Architects without seeing the Architect’s portfolios, which can sometimes be so artfully created that the information you might be looking for may not be present. These documents describe the Architect’s education and firm experience, the team they propose for the project, list of related work, references, list of current workload, and a written commitment to attend all meetings.

Once the Architect Questionnaires are reviewed and culled, a smaller group of potential Architects may be asked to submit portfolio materials.

Once 2-3 preferred Architects are chosen, interview should take place, preferably on site, with entire Building and/or Planning Committee(s). You might make a list of potential questions for the Architect to answer, and send that ahead so they can thoughtfully prepare for the process. But in my experience, the best interviews are not held to a strict regimental standard but are easy, flow, and might even take off on several different tangents. A great Architect will see this, and flow you right back into your next question so that they may address your concerns.

Once you have selected a preferred Architect, your chairperson will begin the process of contracting with them for their services. It is highly recommended that you use the AIA Contracting forms, which protect the rights and responsibilities of both the Architect and the Owner to the greatest extent possible. Most Architects will charge between 8-12% of the estimated construction cost for their work. A famous Architect will often charge between 12 and 15%.

4     Course of Design

Schematic Design – Develop a Building Program and Masterplan

A Building Program establishes the sizes and uses of areas required to meet your needs. This document provides two major benefits – it gives the Architect a guideline to design by - so that the end result reflects the need, and it assists the organization itself in laying out and understanding it’s ideals. As the program is developed, the organization can check itself against its purpose, realign itself to that purpose if required, and evaluate its functionality.

The end result of programming should include:
    • Organization Mission Statement
    • List of Goals
    • List of Needs
    • Information about the property
    • Budget
    • Specific requirements of different program areas, i.e. education, accessibility, administration

Sometimes, when there are many buildings, or many phases required, a Masterplan is ideal. This document specifically addresses site and surrounding area, in a level of detail far beyond the scope of a Building Program. The exact size and shape of the building is not necessary at this time. A Masterplan allows the building and planning committees an opportunity to see the functional relationships between different aspects of a building, identify phasing requirements, as well as identify relationships between inside and outside space. The Masterplan is expected to be a “living” document, not set in stone, as the program develops or future needs are changed, the Masterplan is changed. It should give a fairly accurate snapshot of the design ideas as they are idealized today.

After these processes are completed, or alongside them, the Architect will prepare Schematic Design documents, which will include conceptual plans and elevations for the building and site, as well as a conceptual cost estimate for the work.

The cost for completing Schematic Design Documents is usually about 15% of the Architects’ total budget. (Masterplanning and Building Programming are separate services.)

The cost for completing Design Development Documents is usually about 15% of the Architects’ total budget

Design Development – Finesse the Design

After the organization approves the Schematic Design Documents, the Architect will prepare more detailed documents allowing for inclusion of technical criteria like mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and green design considerations, as well as outline specifications. An updated and much more clearly defined construction estimate is prepared.

The cost for completing Design Development Documents is usually about 15% of the Architects’ total budget.

Construction Documents – Prepare Documents for Contractors

After the organization approves the Design Development Documents, the Architect will prepare working drawings, which will elaborate each dimension and detail for the Contractors to use for construction.

The cost for completing Construction Documents is usually about 40% of the Architects’ total budget.

Bidding and Negotiation – Choosing a Contractor

Your Architect will submit, on your behalf, the plans to the city or county building officials for permit review. Alongside the process, the projects will be announced to interested builders. This process can happen in many ways, and your Architect can assist you in determining which method is right for your organization. The result of this phase is a Contractual Agreement with your preferred Contractor. To be clear – you have a Contractual relationship with your Architect(s), and with your Contractor, separately. Your Architect and Contractor do not have ANY legal relationship other than a desire to get your project built to the design standard you select.

The cost for completing Bidding and Negotiation is usually about 10% of the Architects’ total budget.

Construction Administration – Watch the Building Grow from the Ground Up!

Construction Administration is the phase when the building goes from designs on paper to a tangible edifice rising above the land. The Architect and Contractor will work hard to ensure that the building result is an accurate refection of design intentions and program requirements. Your Architect will assist the Contractor with supplementary drawings, site visits to answer questions and document progress, review the Contractors pay Applications, prepare and authorize changes to the work (Change Orders), determine the date of substantial completion, prepare the final punchlist, and collect warranty data.

The cost for completing Construction Administration is usually about 20% of the Architects’ total budget.