This involves a free-flowing design collaboration where the architect works with the client to develop a clear understanding of site relationships, a “wish list” and a “must have” list of both design elements and functional elements, and stylistic preferences.

This period requires great communication and patience, and may involve many iterations to establish a comfort level with the design. The timeline of this period will evolve and adapt and some designs may introduce tremendous breakthroughs while others may not yield results.

In this primary design phase, the project will start to take shape. The building will be sited on property with relationships to the sun, other site conditions, and utilities, being the main focus. Also addressed will be the location of primary elements (doors, windows, stairways etc.), identification of egress issues, evaluation of ADA issues (if applicable) and general code-related influences. The function and aesthetic flavor of the building will be established.

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  • aCollaboration
  • bEstablishment of overall geometric relationships, aesthetics, and general “look”
  • cEstablishment of basic programming
    1.) Location & sizes of rooms from client summary of rooms needed
    2.) Adjacencies of rooms and proximity to target zones & areas of interest
    3.) “Flow” and space use as it applies to daily activities
    4.) Location of doors/windows
  • dEstablishment of budget & approach to design regarding cost using rules of thumb ($cost/sf)
  • eRoof angles/pitches
  • fEstablishment of amenities (for example: roof-top deck, pool, hot tub, barn, garage, etc.)
  • gLocating building on site & in relation to natural conditions such as sun, wind, water etc. in an effort to maximize thermal comfort, save heating/cooling costs, and respond to views/amenities
  • hSite plan drawing
  • iElevation drawing (4)
  • jFloor plan drawings for each floor
  • kRoof plan drawing



This phase include a close preliminary examination of how the building is going to go together. The client is welcome to learn about how exactly the home will be constructed at this time, and is encouraged to ask questions.

  • aReflected ceiling plans
    1.) Location of switches
    2.) Location of lights
    3.) Location of wall/floor receptacles
  • bWall construction
    1.) Select foundation construction (form foundation, icf, haunched slab etc.)
    2.) Select cladding (shingles, stucco, concrete, metal panel, wood clapboards, fiber cement clapboard etc.) system (will inform wall construction)
  • cBuilding sections
  • dWall details/foundation details
  • ePrelim estimation of costs
(established by estimator)
  • fPrelim color rendering development (s) 
(if selected)
  • gWindow/door schedules
    1.) Selection of doors
    2.) Selection of windows
  • hIncorporation of prelim engineering & building systems information into the drawing set
    1.) Structural
    2.) Mechanical
    3.) Civil
    4.) Electrical
  • iClient to begin informing architect on furniture type/sizes for rooms
  • jEstablishment (and preliminary integration) of heating/cooling systems
  • kEstablishment (and preliminary integration) of renewable fuel sources(solar, wind, geothermal etc.)



This phase of services will include final detailing and specifications. This will include door and window and wall schedules, millwork details, and finished construction details as appropriate to producing a complete, and satisfactory set of construction drawings that a builder can follow.

  • aFinal selections of
    1.) Lighting
    2.) Bath fixtures
    3.) Kitchen fixtures
    4.) Flooring materials
    a.) Bathrooms
    b.) Kitchen
    c.) Bedrooms
    d.) Living/dining
    5.) Door/windows
    6.) Wall/ceiling treatment and finishes
  • bInterior elevation drawings
  • cDetails (eave, foundation, framing connections, partition schedule, millwork details)
  • dIncorporation of final engineering & building systems information into the drawing set
    1.) Structural
    2.) Mechanical
    3.) Civil
    4.) Electrical
  • eSpecifications (in the form of notes on drawings)
  • fFinal color rendering (s) (if selected)



It is important that the client understands that construction observation services will be throughout the construction period will contribute knowledge, expertise, and design skills to help to facilitate the successful completion of the project.

Inspections will occur prior to excavation, footings being poured, frost walls being poured, rough framing, insulating, waterproofing, roofing, window and door installation, and throughout the interior finish process. This is an observation period & the architect will not be instructing the contractor how to do his job.

The intent is to see if the contractor is following the Contract Documents. A site report to the client will be generated when visits occur.

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  • aArchitect will observe contractor and make sure construction documents are being followed at regular intervals as needed according to the pace & progress of construction
  • bAll correspondence between the contractor and the client should include the presence of the architect (in person, email, phone) to avoid confusion and liability for all parties involved
  • cIn the course of construction, minor changes may need to be made to clarify or modify the contract drawings – this will occur in the form of an official stamped sketch from the architect – and will not require a client signature (only an update to the client from archtect)
  • dIn the course of construction, major changes may need to be made as requested by the owner and will require a signature on the part of the owner that outlines the addition or subtraction
  • eAn updated timeline outlining the “critical path” of construction
  • fAn updated submittal log
  • gMontly payment requisition schedule w/ a schedule of values