Your Top 5 Architectural Process Questions, Answered

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You’ve got a stunning new project or remodel bubbling away on your dream stove and you’re about to pick up the phone to call an architect. The architectural process—though it can seem esoteric—is actually an exciting one that will take your dream from paper to planet. What’s better than a custom-down-to-the-last-detail home to live in, an office to furnish a team in, or a business to welcome customers and guests into? In the world of architecture, not much. We love making your vision a reality, and we have a tried and true architectural process that we’re revisiting today in the form of a hypothetical Q&A. Your potential questions below are matched up with our behind the scenes look at how each step of our method works.

YOUR QUESTION: I’VE NEVER WORKED WITH AN ARCHITECT BEFORE. HOW DO WE WORK TOGETHER, AND HOW INVOLVED WILL I BE?
Our post: What To Expect When You Work With An Architect gives an overview of every one of our steps for the uninitiated from the first phone call to the final unveiling.

YOUR QUESTION: I’M CONVERTING THIS WAREHOUSE TO A LOFT/OPENING A DUMPLING SHOP/ADDING AN ADDITION TO OUR HOUSE—HOW WILL MY ARCHITECT KNOW IF MY WANTS ARE FEASIBLE FOR THE SPACE?
Our post: How We Operate: Field Measuring in Existing Buildings will give you the answers that you need. Through a meticulous process of measuring, documenting, photographing, assessing and sketching, we capture the existing space as is down to the letter before moving forward. We also take a look at existing fire, electrical and plumbing equipment to assess whether it will need improvement to be up to code.

architectural process schematic design phase drawings of a shop that sells food products

YOUR QUESTION: I’VE READ YOUR ABOUT PAGE—WHAT IS SCHEMATIC DESIGN. OR JUST AS LIKELY: I HAVE A VERY SPECIFIC VISION FOR MY SPACE, MATERIALS, CONCEPTS, TIME PERIODS, ETC.—HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY AESTHETIC OPINION IS THOROUGHLY INVOLVED DURING THE ARCHITECTURAL PROCESS? IS IT OK TO SHOW YOU MY INTEREST PAGE?
Our post: The Process of Design: Schematic Design should answer your question. It’s more than ok to share your Pinterest page or vision board with us. In fact, Pinterest is an integral part of our design process and we—along with our client—use it to gather inspiration and ensure the final product is outfitted with all the little details they had imagined. This portion of the process also includes multiple interior and exterior sketches and presentations (such as a flip book) for the client to choose from. This part is fun!

YOUR QUESTION: HOW CAN I MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF MY PROJECT—AND THE PRICE—IN A CONCRETE WAY SO I DON’T GET SURPRISED?
Our post: The Process of Design: Design Development talks about how we transfer our sketches and floor plans into AutoCAD to be specific and accurate in our plans and make sure everything fits together perfectly, including fixtures, equipment and furniture. Although we may rearrange some elements, the general floor plan is pretty set. We also use this time to finalize the exterior of the building. We work with our client to assign materials to different elements of the project, and even swatch them into virtual renderings so we can see how they all fit together. Lastly, we prepare a Pricing Set of drawings with the material square footage amount so we can ensure we’re on budget.

YOUR QUESTION: WHEN DOES CONSTRUCTION START? HOW WILL I MAKE SURE MY BUSINESS IS TOTALLY APPROVED BY THE CITY IN TERMS OF CAPACITY, DISABILITY ACCESS AND SAFETY?
Our post: The Process of Design: Construction Documents illuminates permitting and why it’s so important. Without city-issued permits, we can’t break ground on a project. We take our prepared drawings and create two sets, one for construction purposes and one for permit purposes. These are both submitted to the relevant civic entities and then the process of design gives way to the process of waiting until our permits are issued. This phase of the architectural process requires the least client participation, so it’s a good time to start packing up those boxes and getting ready for breaking ground. Once they are issued we know that there are not technical snags or safety issues, which is great news because it means we can start construction.

We hope this has been helpful and has answered some of your questions about working with an architect.