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The 5 Phases Of The Architectural Design Process, Explained

Building a property from scratch is a long, complicated process, one that involves numerous stakeholders and multiple tools and resources. Every construction project, be it residential or commercial, starts with the architectural design process where an architect and interior designer work together to ideate and sketch a plan of the building based on your requirements. The architectural design process is further broken down into phases to help organize the project better and create more manageable steps for the contractors to follow.

If you’re wondering what the different phases of architectural design services are, you’re at the right place. Let’s take a look at the architectural design stages that are a part of any construction project including hotel, apartment complex, storage, retail, and industrial.

5 Phases of Architectural Design

Phase 1: Schematic Design

The first phase of architectural design involves the coming together of the designer and the client to come to a conclusion regarding the project vision and overall goals. This initial discussion covers a few crucial elements of the project including its scope, purpose, and functionality. Post this discussion, the architectural designer will compile the information collected, conduct a field survey and draft a couple of design options for you to choose from. To help you better visualize the finished building, these options are provided in the form of professionally created sketches. The schematic design phase of architectural design also includes a rough cost estimate for each option we provide to help you make your choice keeping your budget in mind.

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During the sketching process, you’ll have the option to request any alterations in the design based on your aesthetic preferences. Once these changes, if any, have been made, and you’ve finalized a design option that suits your needs, the architectural design team will work towards further refining the design in the next phase.

Phase 2: Design Development

An extension of the schematic design phase, the design development phase takes the designs and results of the first phase a step further. During this phase, the architectural designer finalizes the design selected by the client and starts working on general structural details of the building, like the placement of the doors and windows, and the materials to be used.

The design development process begins with the revision of the schematic design chosen by you based on the requested changes. The cost estimate for the project is also updated to incorporate the changes made to the initial design. The cost provided at this stage is still an estimate and can increase or decrease by the time the construction is completed. Since this is the final phase where clients can request any last-minute changes, they need to carefully analyze the design and measure it against their requirements. The design development phase of the architectural design process involves a lot of give-and-take between the client and the design team as both parties work together to finalize the design before moving to the next level.

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Phase 3: Construction Documents

When the construction document phase begins, the design has been finalized by the designer and approved by the client. In the construction documents phase, the architectural designer starts working on construction blueprints, technical specifications required for bidding, construction, permit application, and other project-related notes. These documents are created keeping the overall vision for the project and the client’s specifications in mind. The construction documents phase most prominently involves an architect as they are responsible for creating blueprints.

The documents created during this phase of architectural design are needed by the construction contractors who’ll use the drawings and other details to begin prepping for the next phase of the process.

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Phase 4: Bidding

The fourth phase of architectural design is bidding. Arguably the simplest step of all the design phases, the goal of bidding is to identify a construction company to work on the project. It’s part of the designer’s job to help their clients find the best-suited construction company based on their expertise and cost. For clients, having an architectural designer by their side during the bidding process is a great advantage. This is because even though the final decision is the client’s alone, the architectural designer is responsible for compiling a list of suitable construction contractors and submitting bid packages to bidders.

Apart from this, the designer can also review the bids received, provide their clients with a detailed analysis of their options, help them compare the varying cost figures, and much more. During the bidding process, the client can ensure that the contractors they’re considering for the construction project are aware of the blueprint and are providing an accurate bid for the project.

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Phase 5: Construction Administration

The fifth phase begins with the completion of the project documentation and selection of the construction contractor. Since the construction work is well underway, the client needs to ensure that the building is being constructed per the design specifications. Construction administration, like the name suggests, involves the architectural designer providing construction oversight. Typically, during the final stage, the designer will oversee the construction work to ensure that the final design is being adhered to. This involves site visits during construction to address any deviations from the plan and find ways to course correct.

These are the five phases of architectural design. As you can see, the architectural design process is segmented to ensure a smooth and hassle-free construction project with each phase playing a crucial role in the overall proceedings. If you are looking for exceptional interior design services, CasaOne can help. We offer professional design services to help you upgrade your home interiors without worrying about any of these processes. Get in touch with us today for a free explanatory call with our design expert.

Got Questions?

  • What are the phases of architectural design?

The five phases of architectural design are schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding, and construction administration. Each of these phases is crucial to a hassle-free construction project.

  • What are the phases of landscape architectural design?

The landscape architectural design process can be segregated into four phases namely design brief, design development, construction, and project closeout. These phases may overlap and interact with each other throughout the architectural design process and are in a linear sequence.

  • What is the cost of the architectural design of a studio apartment?

While there is no fixed price for architectural design services for studio apartments, most designers charge an amount between $2,000 to $8,500. In many cases, this amount ends up being the initial fee with designers charging anywhere between 8% to 15% of the total cost for home design services.

  • What are the architectural work stages?

According to the American Institute of Architects, the five phases of architectural design include schematic design, design development, contract documents, bidding, contract administration. While some architectural designers might have their process, most others follow this set structure.

  • What is detail design architecture?

Detailed design is an architectural design phase where the design is further refined and project plans and specifications are created. The output for this phase includes procurement plans, 2D and 3D models, cost estimates, and more.

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