As the building process has its various phases, from the foundation to finishing,
the design process too, has it phases. The purpose of this guide is to familiarize
you with the design process and to outline our services through its various
Phase 1 - Client Wish List and Preliminary Consultation
The first step in any project is to begin defining what the project is to be. It is
where you, the client, collect your ideas and shared them at a preliminary
consultation. We find it is helpful to make a wish list and prepare a scrapbook to
communicate your vision of the project. Below is a link to open a Meeting Prep word document you can open, fill in and save.
Once you feel comfortable with your wishlist, it is time to schedule
a first meeting. The primary purpose of the first meeting is to gain an
understanding of the project and a review/discussion of your wishlist.
From this meeting we may be able to prepare a fee proposal or, if more information is needed, take some baby steps to gain more information.
Phase 2 Schematic/Preliminary Design
Once the scope has been defined and the project has been given the green light Schematic Design can begin. The Schematic Design phase is comprised of many start-up tasks required in a project.
• The building site is fully investigated and documented for views,
vegetation, solar paths, neighbour context and topography. For addition/renovations, we schedule an appointment to draw and measure the building to
prepare a set of Existing Conditions drawings. Historical drawings are helpful but in every case we produce our own to ensure accuracy plus have a CAD file generated that forms the base upon which design work is prepared.
• Discussions with relevant authorities and analysis of local zoning bylaws.
• Review Wishlist and Zoning Analysis jointly to explore preliminary design direction.
The first deliverable is a very simple double line floor plan to block out the spaces, provide relationships with neighbouring spaces and rough dimensions to communicate the pieces of the puzzle and how they might go together, and perhaps a simple 3D CAD model. Once we have the right pieces in the right places we can then develop them further by looking outside the building and developing how it looks and relates to the site.
The second deliverable would be more developed floor plans with doors and windows and a more highly developed 3d model with views of both the interior and exterior in schematic form. At this point the design is established and ‘signed off’ to allow more detailed work to continue.
Phase 3 Design Development
With an approved design - the CAD drafting work can continue we we look more closely at the technical construction related aspects of the design. The design is still somewhat fluid at this point to allow a more in depth exploration of the realities of construction or to incorportate upated information received from other consultants (ie Structural,Geotech) or processes (ie Developer Design Review, Board of Variance appeals).
Phase 4 Building Permit Drawings
The final stage is the preparation of drawings that are to be submitted for Building Permit (BP) application. Included therein are site and floor plans, cross sections, building elevation drawings and any relevant details required to build the house, as well as a Zoning and Bylaw Analysis to communicate the size, height, siting etc for municipal bylaw requirements.
A fee proposal/contract is typically considered complete once the building permit has been issued. At this point the builder takes over but we always remain available to help or provide input as you would like.
It is important to note that as Building Codes become more stringent to produce higher quality and performing buildings, the role of additional consultants is playing an ever increasing role earlier in the design process, some common examples below:
The Builder - decisions on construction assemblies and mechanical systems are now required to be made in advance of BP application and it is together with the builder that many of these questions will be answered
On all projects a Structural Engineer will need to input on how the building will stand up. and withstand earthquake, wind and other loads on the building.
A surveyor is most always required to provide property lines, elevations of existing grades and buildings, trees.
In most parts of BC, a Certified Energy Advisor (CEA) will be required to perform an energy model to ensure it conforms to the new BC Energy Step Code and sometimes changes to the design are required to ensure compliance.
In flood prone areas a Geotechnical Engineer may be required to produce a report containing instructions for construction of the building.