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What is the Building Design Process?

Building Design process:

Typically, building design process involves multiple stages of from initial contact with client during pre-design stage of the services to completion of construction documents and in some cases, there pay be services associated with the ‘building design service’ that occurs during the construction phase of the project.

A typical example in 3 major stages:

|– Pre-Design ——————|–Design ————————-|–Construction—–|

In Pre-Design stage, we will begin discussion relating to what your project requirements and conditions are. Establish scope of work/services, compensation for services rendered, leading to the written & signed contract which we will use. For work involving existing buildings (non-historic and historic buildings), we will need to do a number of things such as existing conditions assessment and report, we may also need to prepare “As-is” drawings documenting the building as it is currently. This may be part of the aforementioned report. Services involving alterations, additions, restoration, or other work done to existing or historic buildings may take several months even on a seemingly small project and *may* cost more to provide said services than it might cost to design a new building. This does not mean the total project will be more than it would cost to build a new building. That isn’t always the case. However, the crafts and skills used in historic buildings often will require craftspeople that are more experience and will often command a higher premium. Constructing a new building of the same caliber of craftsmanship would also be much more expensive than it may cost to build a new home that involves very little craftsmanship skills like advance finish carpentry and woodworking skills.

There is frequently a considerable amount of work to do with projects before getting started actually designing.

The DESIGN Stage:

This stage is often outlined in three distinct phases: (Schematic Phase, Design Development phase, Construction Documentation). I place that under the DESIGN Stage because design is iterative. It goes from very rough design concepts like the napkin sketches, scribbly diagrams, and iteratively leads to a refined design. Ultimately leading to the technical plans and specifications (technical submissions) prepared for obtaining permits and for use in construction. Often, designing doesn’t stop at this point. It would be nice but it doesn’t always happen and may involve design work happening even after a project has already begun commencing with construction.

The Construction stage:

This stage often involves numerous site visits during the construction process assessing how the project is going and how the builders are complying with the design intent and specifications. Frequently, contractors and their build team may deviate from the design intent and outlined specifications. Sometimes, there is change orders issued that requires revisions to the design after construction had begun. Additionally, we may need to review/evaluate “shop drawings” and address RFIs, RFCs, RFPs. (Requests For Information, Clarifications, and Proposals).

How long does it take to go from Initial Consultation to submitting plans for permits. Most of the time, it takes several months. Some projects on shorter durations and others can take quite a while. Additionally, clients may cause work to be delayed or longer for a number of factors. For example, how long you take to evaluate, the level of detail in what you are looking for out the services rendered, how decisive or indecisive you are, etc. Sometimes, projects may be delayed for other circumstances.

Often, we are working on multiple projects concurrently. Usually, two projects concurrent. Therefore, we usually allocate up to about 10 to 15 labor hours a week to a particular project when have two projects concurrently. To get a priority accelerated rate, the fees may be higher and other factors in billing arrangements would be necessary to accommodate faster delivery on the services.


As shall be noted, due to the nature of our services, we record in-person and over the internet voice or video conference meetings. Additionally, we use written contracts to formalize our agreements and usually will require signatures.

Additionally, we take the privacy importantly and do not disclose the entrusted private information attained through those conversations to the public without either permission from the client or through court order or subpoena. While we are not lawyers or doctors with special legal protections, we still do our best to preserve the trust of our clients.

Agreeing to use our services including initial consultation and / or by contacting us, you are consenting to use of recording.

Additionally, we retain ALL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS to the designs we prepare for our clients. We are independent contractors (not construction contractors but self-employed/stand-alone business). We are NOT employees to clients.  Therefore, we are not a “work for hire”. We are owners of our designs. Clients own trademarks and other intellectual properties are that of our clients.