ducks in a row

The Design and Construction Process 101.

Designing and building a house or building takes a while. Figure a year, often more. For an addition deduct about 30%. Why does it take so long?

Because there is a lot that goes into it. For simplicity we organize this in 3 basic parts, with sub-headings. In summary:

ducks in a row
preparation is key

a. 2-6 months to design and do the due diligence (find out related regulations and factors)-

b. 2-6 months for municipal approvals and bidding

c. 6-12 months of construction

herding cats
of course the lack of preparation, has its merits too -if you enjoy chaos

The 1st phase (Due diligence and Design)

Due Diligence: We begin any project by obtaining information and asking lots of questions. We’ll question, investigate, and research available resources. Among the questions, we’ll pose include: What is the proposed use? Who will use it? What should it look like? How will it be built? Who might be the builder? What is the budget? What are the time restrictions to accomplish the final project? What are the regulations pertaining to the job?

Feasibility/Preliminary:  Once we understand the scope of the project, the size, and the related factors, we begin measuring and designing. Several schemes are explored and presented to the Owner or User. We’ll meet several times to discuss the merits and limitations, costs, schedule and approval sequence of each. We work from most general, i.e. where should the building be, to more specific, i.e. which way the door should swing.

Design Development: We’ll meet to refine the design, “look” and select the materials and systems to build the project. We frequently meet with building and municipal officials to review the project and get preliminary feedback. We’ll develop 3-d images and animations to make it very clear what the project will look like before it is built. We’re using Virtual Reality goggles to help simulate walkthroughs.

residence rendering

Construction Documents Phase: At this point many of our major questions have been answered, and our office will develop the drawings into more technical drawings used for obtaining municipal approvals and further embellish them to be suitable for construction purposes with dimensions, details, lists of materials and occasionally integrate with drawings from other consultants when necessary.

The 2nd phase (Approvals and bidding)

Approvals/Bidding and Negotiation Phase: We’ll meet with various municipal agencies, boards and committees to gather their input about the project by submitting drawings, applications and assorted fees and get your permits in order (this is a back and forth process). Then, contact qualified builders to verify their interest and availability to do the work and send them related drawings and documentation so they have a clear understanding of the proposed work. Occasionally, we’ll meet on site with the bidders and walk them through the project and clarify any questions they might have.

construction permit

When the bids come back, we analyze them and verify that the costs are “apples to apples” and not laden with substitutions or caveats. We analyze the bids side by side to confirm what’s in , what’s out and drill down into the finer “conditions” that contractors will frequently include. We often will negotiate with the Contractors to obtain the best price, schedule, and delivery for the project. We help prepare a written contract between the Owner and Contractor to protect each party from misunderstandings.

The 3rd phase (construction)

Construction Phase: During the course of construction, we’ll monitor the work to make sure it reflects the intentions of the drawings and good construction practices. We’ll review schedules with the Builder to make sure the work unfolds in a rational, well-planned sequence. We assist the Owner in advising when and how much to pay the Contractor and help mediate disputes before they hinder the progress of the job. As the project winds down, we’ll “Close-out” the project by developing a “punch list”, a tally of incomplete or deficient work that needs to be addressed before the project is complete. We’ll monitor the completion of this work and assist with obtaining any necessary additional approvals to occupy the new or modified buildings. Our office also frequently helps the Owner pick out and arrange new furnishings and fixtures to fit-out space.

Follow-up Phase: We stay in touch with the Owner or User to find out what aspects of the project they liked and what aspects we can improve upon.

We have some other ideas and would be happy to discuss them with you, CALL NOW 914 980 5532.

homes under construction
Almost there! (see rendering at top of blogpost)


Let’s get your project in balance, call 914 980 5532, ask for Steve

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