Most projects can be broken down into several identifiable stages, with each stage being a two way design process between architect and client. These stages are structured so that the design can be progressively refined, with the appropriate level of detail being produced for each project milestone. Successful architecture combines functionality with aesthetics, and results from a collaborative working relationship between architect, client and builder.
The following stages are indicative only, and are intended to demonstrate just one potential design and documentation process. The design stages and their respective outputs will be structured to suit the different objectives, timeframes and budgets of each project, and this will be reflected in the fees.
A project typically begins with discussions and the development of a design brief. This is a clear and unambiguous document which outlines the client’s key requirements and overall vision for the project. The objective of this stage is to understand the client’s objectives – their needs and aspirations.
Design work can commence following an assessment of the site’s opportunities and constraints, including the planning regulations. For a project which is loosely defined, a concept design stage allows a number of potential design options to be explored. Although these may only be sketches and diagrams, some clients gain a clearer understanding of their own requirements once a drawing has been produced. The objective of this stage is to test the initial design brief, to explore different configurations, and to ultimately ensure that architect and client are on the same page before proceeding further.
schematic design (preliminary sketch plans)
The preferred concept design, along with any changes the client has requested, is formalised with preliminary CAD drawings, such that the overall scope of the project can be confirmed. Spatial relationships, rooms and circulation are developed, along with preliminary elevations and/or 3D perspectives. The objective of this stage is to have the floor plan broadly locked down.
design development (final sketch plans)
This stage is where a project really starts to take shape, and arguably where most architect-client contact is required. Preliminary drawings from the previous stage become progressively more detailed and more resolved. Initial engineering input is coordinated, and construction systems, materials, finishes and fixtures are selected. The objective of this stage is to resolve the aesthetic of the project, to obtain planning approval, and to have a good understanding for what it will cost.
Engineering input is fully integrated, and working drawings, specifications and schedules are produced suitable for calling tenders, seeking building approval, and ultimately for construction. The extent of detailed construction documentation required will vary greatly between projects. MTarchitecture can assist with tendering and the selection of a suitable building contractor.
The extent of MTarchitecture’s services during the construction stage is entirely project specific, and may range from merely responding to the builder’s site queries and undertaking periodic site inspections, to full contract administration. It should not be underestimated that a lot can happen during the construction stage…problems will always arise and changes will inevitably be made. The architect’s inherent knowledge of the project, and understanding of potential knock-on effects, may prove invaluable when attempting to resolve these issues. MTarchitecture is committed to the delivery of it’s designs, and construction stage services will always be recommended to ensure the project progresses smoothly and quality and integrity are maintained.