The process of an architect is long. In this article, we aim to help you understand the full process that an architect goes through when they’re designing a new building. Architecture can be a difficult process to explain to a non-architect, simply because it takes around 3-6 years of education, plus experience, to fully learn the architectural design process for professionals. Here, you’ll find a simplified guide to help you, as a non-architect, understand the process.
Step 1 of the architectural design process begins in the interview stage. Whenever an architect is needed for design purposes, more than one architect will be called for an interview. Several factors determine which architect will get the job, like experience and past designs. The client is more likely to choose an accredited professional who has had experience working on a similar project in the past, than a new architect fresh out of University.
Typically, during this stage, the architect will bring along a portfolio of their past projects to review with the client, and possibly even examples of their process. The portfolio may help generate more developed ideas than those that a client has at the beginning of a project.
This step is crucial. A set of plans will be created, and a copy will be given to the client for their records. These plans usually contain simple floor plans and some external designs. They are minimal, at best, and more for measurement purposes than the building’s design, itself.
During this stage, a surveyor is usually contacted to produce a site survey.
Now the designs can really start. Architects will typically produce 2 to 3 designs for the project their client needs, using all of the information gathered during step 1 and step 2. It is during this stage that the architect will start pitching ideas to the client and discussing the design overall. The design illustrations are just diagrams at this stage, and there are typically 2 to 4 meetings involved in this step.
As design decisions continue, the architect will develop the drawings into permit documents. The drawings are refined, and materials are decided on while the architect figures out exactly how everything fits together. Windows are cemented onto the designs, along with other opening locations for the building. Specifications for materials, fixtures, and relevant code information are added onto the project.
The permit documents created in the last step are used to submit and obtain the building permit from the city or county. Drawings continue to develop.
Contractors are interviewed for the project, and a good fit is selected.
The documents and drawings for the project are now complete and construction begins as soon as possible. Typically, the architect will remain on-site during the building process to answer any questions fielded by the contractors.