Architectural Plans

Phases of Architectural Design?

In looking at a scope of work for an architect, you might see the scope refer to the phases of the effort as schematics, design development (DD), and construction drawings (CD).  The ultimate goal is to create architectural plans that provide the necessary detail to obtain building permits and the information for the subcontractors who will build the structures.

The schematics phase is essentially the initial design phase where all of the dimensions of the building and floorplans are drawn.  These schematics will illustrate the overall dimensions of the building and the dimensions of the interior rooms, garage, and other floorplan features.  Also in this phase of the design, the front, rear, and side elevations are drawn to illustrate the exteriors of the building.  In essence, these schematic drawings will illustrate the design but do not contain the necessary information to actually pull building permits and start construction.

The DD phase seems to primarily relate to multi-family buildings where the common areas are designed.  These common areas could include a leasing office, community room, offices, stairwells, utility rooms, and any other areas that are not part of the floorplans.  I have also heard DD refer to some of the interior architecture such as special design features for ceilings, walls, and staircases.  In the case of single-family homes, you might hear the architect say the interior architectural features are not necessarily a distinct DD phase but that the effort will get incorporated at the beginning of the CD phase.

The CD phase presumes that all of the rooms and common areas have been drawn, and it is now the final phase to put all the notes and details on the plans that become the basis for construction.  These CD’s are submitted to the local jurisdiction for the plan check process, during which the city/county will commonly request revisions and corrections.  Once this process is completed, these final CD’s are the basis for subcontractor bids, building permits, and inspections.

As always, please share with us below your comments and questions.

John Kaye has over 30 years experience within the land development and homebuilding industries, having held senior management positions with The Irvine Company, Koll Real Estate Group, and Brookfield Homes. As a developer, John has overseen the land acquisition, entitlements, and development of master planned communities, residential tracts, urban infill sites, and land assemblages. His experience and skill sets include land acquisition, land brokerage, project management, market analysis, finance, and strategic planning.

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