Design Process

Design: An activity to identify a problem and try to improve the existing condition or make something work better

Design Process: A method to help clarify ideas and issues of what is needed for a new building, addition or renovation

In any building project, an architect assists owners in achieving their needs and wants for their project. The fees for our services are usually offset by improved design, better cost estimates and more efficient construction.  Your construction project is a large investment and it’s important to have all the information needed to make the right decisions.  A successful project addresses many considerations including location, lot size & features, setbacks, floor plans, architectural style and budget.

The design process helps clarify all your ideas & issues for your new building requirements.  Additional ideas and issues that you might not  have thought about yet can be looked into. The process  gives you a better design at the end. There are three typical design phases: schematic design, design development and construction documents. Additionally, a feasibility study at the beginning can help reduce the amount of changes during design phase and the length of time spent in the design process.

Identify Opportunities

Feasibility studies are a pre-design information gathering process. It will help identify your needs and requirements. Codes, regulations, setback requirements and other zoning limitations are discussed during this phase. The feasibility study includes the scope of work, features, purpose and function.  The client needs to provide any information they have about their building, spaces and square footage needs for each space, wants, and site information. This includes their site survey, plat or even the information on the deed available for the initial meeting. All this information is used to define the project. The larger or more complicated a project, the more the feasibility study will be needed. On small projects this information gathering process is often included in the Schematic Design Phase. A feasibility study is often used for long range planning.

Architects depend on you to communicate your design preferences, functional requirements and budget. To keep the project on track, we need a timely response to questions and design submissions. We want you to feel free to voice any concerns so they can be addressed as early as possible.

Explore Ideas

Next is the Schematic Design Phase. Based on all the information gathered, several design concepts or initial designs are created.  These scaled options are realistic solutions that help generate discussions between the architect and clients.  The dialogue from these meetings leads to changes and refinements to the design requirements and in the design. The requirements for the building will begin to be prioritized to help keep the building within budget.


Design Development is the next phase. Once the schematic design is agreed on, EDDesign will start to develop the plan in more detail. This phase is when many decisions are finalized such as window sizes, materials and the look of the exterior. Structure is considered and the mechanical units, water heaters and electrical panels are placed in the design. The end of this phase is a good time to get estimates from contractors. Getting estimates at this point allows any adjustments to the budget to be made before the construction drawings are started.

Construction Documents

Construction documents include details, sections and specifications that describe different aspects of the final design.  These drawings can be complex and include information about materials and methods of construction. These drawings are used for bidding, negotiation, construction contracts, permitting and construction. They are also used to obtain construction loans and for confirmation of the contractor’s monthly draw or payment. These drawings help eliminate misunderstandings during construction that add expense and delays.

It is important that the client review the drawings after each phase to ensure that the design meets needs and requirements.  Once approved the design can to move on to the next phase.

If there are any trouble visualizing the plan at any phase, EDDesign can provide 3d drawings to make sure the design is as wanted before moving forward.