When the car breaks down, you call a mechanic. When you have a toothache, you go to a dentist. When you feel ill, you see a physician. When you have problems with the spaces within which you work and live, why not consult with an architect? An architect will work with you to learn what the problems are (symptoms), define what needs improvement (diagnosis), and how to achieve it (cure).
The planning phase is a critical aspect of any remodel or new construction project. Determining the type of Architectural Design Service that will be best suited to your project is part of that planning. These services can take on many forms. Two types of services are full services or designated services. Full services is a comprehensive process that involves the architect in virtually every aspect of the project from design to project coordination during construction. Designated services cover more specific aspects of the project. For example, providing design services for the overall project but having limited involvement in overseeing and coordinating the actual construction phase.
Once the Architectural Service type has been established, the scope, budget, schedule and other project consultants and team members are discussed. This article will only cover the project scope, the other topics will be in future articles. Clients also ask how architects are compensated. Two options to consider are a fee based on percentage of construction cost or a fee estimate determined by the scope of the project that is billed at hourly compensation rates for work performed by the architect. A good design firm should offer flexible options to consider that are reasonable and acceptable to the client.
If remodeling the existing cabin is the direction forward the condition of the structure will need to be assessed. Rarely are there drawings or “blueprints” of a cabin. If no drawings are available, measurements are taken and a digital “as built” drawing is prepared.
The next step is to create a program, which is a description of needs and problems with existing conditions and desired improvements. The architectural style and specific details and materials regarding interior and exterior are discussed along with special amenities or aesthetic elements. We analyze and establish the needs and spatial organization of spaces, their sizes and the relationship to one another.
In our previous article “In the zone-In the know” we discussed the zoning process and pointed to key topics one might encounter relating to your remodel or rebuild project. Once a zoning review has been completed it should be clear what regulations one will need to comply with. This will provide a better understanding of your property and options and challenges you will need to address. Then a site study is compiled to determine the orientation and relationship of building to site and key elements such as access, vegetation, orientation, views, prevailing winds and seasonal sun and shade.
Once the program is completed with an identification of needs as well as an outline of modified or new space the real fun begins. Through a collaborative process we start to design in sketch form to produce a concept and design direction. Floor plans, exterior and or interior sketches and a site study are presented. The process might require a few design iterations with changes or tweaks before a final concept has been accepted. Then arefined design is produced based on changes from the sketch form design phase. Floor plans, elevations and details are prepared with greater accuracy through the use of the computer aided drawing process. Scale and dimension are further developed, and Interior and exterior details are designed, along with additional architectural features such as cabinetry, stairs, fireplace, and other details specific to the project.
Finally, construction documents (also referred to as blueprints or building plans) are produced. In this phase, a complete set of documents is produced at a level of detail and complication required not only to communicate the design to the project consultants—but to obtain permits and other necessary approvals from the municipality. The Construction Document set will also contain drawings and other documentation from consultants and other members of the design team.
The project budget and actual construction costs rarely align. However, working with other consultants, like a general contractor, can help to maintain costs in line with budget constraints. Determining what phase of the process to assemble other member of the project team and the topic of scheduling will be discuss in future articles.
The Tap Architecture Team