Our design process looks at each project including the site, building, landscape and interiors in a holistic manner. We provide services that can execute the entire project as a concise whole, while understanding and prioritizing the various elements that are attainable within the projected budget. As a full-service architecture firm, we guide our clients through the design and construction process, including any necessary municipal and associated approvals. We work with our clients to define exactly what is required and desired to build, and ensure that they are getting the highest quality project for their construction dollar.
Moving beyond the design and construction phases, our involvement will depend upon the method of construction delivery that suits the project and client best: using a specific pre-qualified builder chosen by the client; competitive bidding to three or more general contractors; or construction delivery through construction management, which we also offer as an extension of our professional services. With our extensive experience in managing construction projects we can bring invaluable advice in working through the chosen method.
To explain the design and construction process, we have broken it down into five main phases: Preliminary Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents and Construction. Within each phase, there are a series of steps, consultation and coordination to work through, and objectives for that phase. Often these phases overlap, and the design process frequently continues as details are refined during construction.
The design typically begins with an initial in-depth consultation with our clients to develop a full understanding of the needs and desires for the project. The goals for the project begin to take shape and a ‘wish list’ is developed. This stage also involves thoroughly documenting the site to identify its natural features, nuances, and context as well as obtaining an up-to-date boundary survey. We perform a preliminary zoning by-law analysis to determine the regulatory parameters and confirm any other applicable regulations and authorities that have jurisdiction over the site.
At this stage we will begin to examine the potential of the building in various configurations. A series of initial sketches are the first attempt to transform the program into a plan, and locate the building on the site. The intent is to deal more with environmental and spatial relationships than the “feel” of the spaces. We investigate various options to determine the general layout and direction of the project. We ask the big questions about how you want to live and ultimately how the space around you will to be resolved.
A physical model is a representation of the project and a tool for its exploration and development.
Once a basic layout and scope has been agreed upon, the design is further detailed to include construction methods, materials and to create the “feel” of the project. We demonstrate our design concepts through drawings, sketches, physical and/or computer models to ensure that our clients have a thorough understanding of the building and feel completely comfortable moving forward. We also bring our structural and mechanical consultants on board at this stage to introduce them to the project and ensure maximum efficiency in the design. It is at this stage when a preliminary budget is detailed to ensure the project is within the realm of initial cost expectations.
Upon final approval of the design, the construction details are worked out, materials specified, consultants and their drawings are coordinated, and we demonstrate that the proposal complies with applicable building codes and by-laws. A building permit and construction drawing set is created during this process. We will prepare the building permit application and assist our clients in applying for the building permit and any other required approvals.
During construction we work closely with our clients and their contractor or construction manager to ensure the project proceeds smoothly and in accordance with the applicable building codes. We can be available to assist the contractor in resolving any issues that arise during construction, deal with any unexpected situations, and provide supplementary details as required during construction.
Unforeseen conditions arise and new opportunities present themselves throughout the construction process. The design continues to evolve and develop as the building is erected.
Complementing our design services, we also offer complete construction management services, allowing us to achieve a continuity throughout the entire design and construction process.
If the scope of work allows, the project may be fully detailed, right down to the furnishings and fixtures. We can aid the client in the selection and sourcing of plumbing and light fixtures, kitchens and millwork, and furniture. Of course, the interiors are always an inseparable aspect of the architecture and these considerations play an important role throughout the design process.