To use a construction analogy, the foundation is the most important part of a structureÉif the foundation fails, the whole building fails. In that regard, the Programming phase is the foundational stage for the design of a building. If the ingredients are not successfully determined through programming, the design will certainly not reflect the proper direction.
During the Programming phase, Dimensions, Inc. meets with leadership and groups, as directed by the project representative, to determine wants, needs and goals for the organization as well as the facility. Issues such as future growth, finances, and actual space requirements are discussed. This information may be presented in written form, in a matrix, or in plan form depending on the size of the facility.
Schematic Design (SD)
Once the Program is established, the architect can begin preliminary layout of the building. With more input from the owner, a site plan and floor plan will emerge. Preferential styles will be discussed during Schematic Design to assist in shaping the exterior in regard to height, roof lines, exterior materials, windows, etc. All this work is typically done by hand in the form of sketches.
Dimensions, Inc. can provide the client with a preliminary cost estimate now that the square footage area of the facility is determined and a design is produced. This cost estimate is typically a cost-per-square-foot type of analysis based on industry trend and historical reference. It provides the client an estimate with a ŌballparkÕ degree of accuracy.
Design Development (DD)
During the Design Development stage, schematic sketches will be transformed into CAD drawings. These drawings might include a site plan, a floor plan with room names and sizes, and exterior elevations. More attention to door and window placements, mechanical & electrical concepts, structural concepts, and material selections will give the client a better understanding of their building. Although some preliminary code review will have been performed during SD, a more intensive code review during DD will reveal areas that may determine the construction materials, the need for sprinkler systems, ADA compliance, etc.
As the design takes shape to the clientÕs satisfaction, Dimensions, Inc. will typically provide a line item cost estimate to insure that the design is still financially feasible. Upon signed approval of the design and cost estimate, the project is now ready to go to the technical drawing stage.
Construction Documents (CD)
By this time in the process, most decisions should already have been made by the client. With clear direction, Dimensions, Inc. will proceed into the largest component of our services and begin creating technical documents. This phase involves intense coordination with consultants for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, kitchen (if applicable), sound (if applicable) and others. Dimensioned drawings with coordinated schedules and details, as well as a specification manual, are signed and sealed by the Architect and engineers upon completion. This allows them to be submitted for plan review by the proper authorities.
At the end of the CD phase, the itemized cost estimate created in DD is updated. This revised estimate will serve as a gauge against which to balance the actual construction bids. Dimensions, Inc. receives many compliments from contractors on the coordination quality of the construction documents. This is an aspect often overlooked when selecting a design professional.
Dimensions, Inc. will assist the Owner in bidding their project according to the desired construction delivery method (General Contractor, Construction Management, or Design/ Build). Bid Invitations are distributed, drawing distribution is coordinated, and Requests For Information (RFIÕs) are responded to by the Architect. Typically, a Pre-Bid Meeting at the site is scheduled to answer questions from contractors and to inform them of any special bidding requirements.
Dimensions, Inc. will require bidders to use proper AIA Documents for bidding. After bids are received, the Architect and/or Construction Manager will interview competitive bidders to qualify their bid and negotiate on the clientÕs behalf. Once the selection is made, AIA Contracts are executed between the Owner and Contractor(s). Dimensions, Inc.Õs level of involvement in the Bid Phase is dependent upon the clientÕs need for those services.
Construction Administration (CA)
Upon construction commencement, the Architect is responsible to inspect the site on a regular basis to insure compliance with the approved drawings. This is an invaluable service since inferior construction methods and substitute materials can slip past the untrained eye. Prior to subcontractors and suppliers ordering materials, the Architect will require product submittals and samples for critical items. Once reviewed, the products are approved or disapproved by the Architect based on their compliance with the plans and specifications.
Depending on the construction delivery method selected, the Architect will review each monthly Pay Application submitted by the Contractor(s). An on-site inspection will allow the Architect to compare quantities of completed work and stored materials against what the Contractor is requesting for payment. The Owner is notified if there are discrepancies or if everything seems to be accounted correctly.
Upon completion, the Architect will initiate close-out documents and requirements for the Contractor. A punch list is created to indicate items yet to be completed before final payment can be sought by the Contractor.
The terminology used in these descriptions is fairly standard in the architectural industry. However, the application of these standards is what sets Dimensions, Inc. apart by keeping the client involved and informed throughout the process.