The 5 Key Architectural Design Phases

The 5 Key Architectural Design Phases

Most architects make use of a typical design process when coming up with any building project. Thus, familiarizing yourself with the basics before choosing any architect will make the process much easier.

Below are 5 design phases that any professional residential and commercial architect will utilize.

Schematic Design

This is the first phase. An architect talks with his client to brainstorm and identify his needs and goals. On this phase, an architect starts with rough study drawings for illustrating the designs concepts. In most cases, this entails special relationships and basic scales that the owner might want.

An architect also does an initial research on judicial regulations sand estimates cost depending on the size and complicity of the project at hand.

Schematic design is more about rough drawings on a site plan, floor plans, and elevations. Your architect will come up with computer renderings or illustrative sketches.

Design Development

On the design development phase, results from the schematic design phase are taken to another level. This is the phase where design is finalized and specifications of all items made. Materials are accounted for, door locations identified, suitable window locations pinpointed, and other structural details worked on. This phase brings along a more detailed suite plan, floor plans, as well as elevations and sections. This is done in the form of drawings that have full dimensions

Construction Documentation

This commences once the client and architect agree on the drawings at the design development phase. On this phase, drawings with more details to be used in the project’s construction are produced. The drawings are specifications for materials and construction details.

Construction documents are required when getting a building permit from the local regulating authority. When completed, the architect sends the construction details to contractors for bidding and pricing. To prevent the chances of issuing either party with extra or unimportant details, two sets of documents are produced and sent to each party. However, the design and specifications do not change.

Construction documents are a complete set of an architect’s drawings. They include a site plan, sections, floor plan, and construction details among others. They are also combined with structural drawings like mechanical, electrical, and plumbing designs.

Other Phases

In big projects, there could be room for extra phases such as negotiation phase and construction phase service. They are not common to small residential projects but are critical in industrial, commercial, and larger residential projects.


Once the design stage is completed and construction details handed over to a contractor, construction commences. This is done using every detail indicated in the design stage. The developer can hire a construction administrator to ensure that all this is observed.

As much as choosing an architect and working with one might seem like a daunting task, understanding the above steps will make it easier. You will probably relate better with your architect to produce results. Keep it in mind that the end result will be as good as the architect in charge. You thus should not compromise on the competence of the residential or commercial architect you choose.

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