Our Approach

Every project is different, but our way of thinking stays the same.

01 SCHEMATIC DESIGN

The first steps of a project are to gain familiarity with the site surroundings and understanding of the client’s needs and goals.

We start off by visiting the site and asking our clients to fill out a detailed, personal questionnaire. This is extremely helpful to us as we get an understanding of the way they live, how they intend to use the space, what their habits are for eating, sleeping, playing, etc.

Based on this information gathered, we will analyze the site’s existing conditions and come up with conceptual drawings or ideas that integrate the client’s goals with our aesthetic direction and schematic approach. During this phase we discuss inspiration photos with clients to get an idea of likes and dislikes. 

From these conversations we put together a set of different concepts intended to spark feedback and hone in on the clients desires. Typically, several design options get explored and evaluated in the schematic design phase.

The purpose is to find the right design concept without getting lost in the details prematurely.

02 DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

In the design development phase, the design that emerged out of the schematic phase gets refined, and the structure and materiality of the building evolves. There is still plenty of interaction with the client; for example, material selections, exterior and interior, optimizing the kitchen layout, or discussing furniture placement.

The interaction with consultants intensifies during this phase, typically involving structural and civil engineering. More complex projects might require geotechnical engineers, mechanical and/or electrical engineers and so on. At the end of the design development, all basic parameters of the building are established in plan, elevation and section, as well how the structure and interior spaces interact with the site, landscape and natural environment.

If special city approvals are required by the local municipality and/or homeowners association (HOA), towards the end of this phase would be when the materials and drawings get submitted and reviewed for approval. 

03 CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS

As well as specifying the construction drawings to the last detail, these drawings are getting ready for obtaining permits and to be sent out for bidding. During this phase, the client’s input might include selection of finish materials and fixtures, deciding on building components such as windows, refining our landscape design, or reviewing electrical layouts.

The bulk of the work is to incorporate the consultants layouts and create a consistent plan set with all the information required to obtain a building permit, accurate pricing, and a complete and thorough set of construction documents to build from.

This is the period where we submit the construction documents to the local municipality in charge of reviewing the drawings. At this time, we also send the construction sets out to contractors that were selected for bidding and are constantly in communication with them to answer any questions they may have.

As we start receiving the different bid numbers, we organize and review these items with the client to help make the contractor selection process easier. Once a contractor has been selected, we help the owner negotiate the contract with the contractor. 

04 BIDDING & NEGOTATION

05 CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION

After the project breaks ground, it is the responsibility of the contractor to implement the plans. However, a high level of oversight and involvement is needed to ensure the proper execution of a design, and to make sure that the building reaches its full potential.

During this stage, we will engage in regularly scheduled visits to the project with the contractor. At these visits we will go over instructions with subcontractors in order to get the details right, develop solutions to challenges that arise during construction, make visits to material showrooms and plant nurseries, and review the requests for payment. We prefer to be fairly involved during this part of the process. We think that our being part of construction is critical to the success of the project. 

We treasure close relationships with clients and appreciate their feedback. We also value the synergy between all the building trades and consultants involved. Studio AR&D Architects knows how to combine a clients vision with the technical requirements necessary to craft an environment with heart and soul.