The pre-design meeting is a free-style exchange of ideas and information. You don’t have to do anything in preparation for this meeting. In fact, the meeting will probably go better if you don’t bring a lot of pre-conceived notions with you. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there, and starting with a clean slate is a good idea.
We’ll begin with a look at the building owner/operator and their goals are for the facility. Beyond that we’ll be taking inventory of the types of people who will use the facility and assessing their wants and needs. We’ll establish priorities for each.
Then I’ll let you know how the wants, needs and priorities impact the design, and present you with viable options. For example, if you want to build an office complex for medical professionals, I’d point out the need for additional sound baffling in the walls to provide improved patient privacy. (Craig – you can come up with a better example.)
After we’ve identified the main challenges and established general guidelines for scope and size, I’ll work up some loose diagrams of the floor plans and rough sketches of the exterior. These sketches are purposefully abstract so you can focus your attention on big picture issues such as the number, size and position of offices. We’ll use the sketches to examine spacial relationships throughout the structure to ensure proper functionality.
On the outside, we’ll use these sketches to closely examine the circulation system – the roads, parking lots, loading docks, sidewalks, etc. Our goal will be to ensure smooth traffic flow and enhance the aesthetic appearance of the property.
The schematic phase is the best time to experiment boldly, move things around, and make radical changes. I am very conscientious about giving my clients a good value so I feel compelled to tell you that making “radical” changes later in the process can bump the costs up. Please make good use of the schematic phase.
This phase involves larger and more detailed drawings. I refine the floor plan and develop “elevations” where I convert the 2-dimensional floor plans into a 3-dimensional rendering. Scale, proportion, and volume of both interior and exterior space are developed, tested and re-tested until harmony is established between all aspects of the building. This is the stage where you will see how issues, such as building codes, city ordinances, mechanical systems, structural systems, site constraints and easements affect the look of the property.
We will need to make decisions in several areas before moving to the next stage. Some of these areas include:
1. Major furniture (like reception desks, etc.)
2. Equipment (like heating, cooling, copying, audio/visual, laboratory, etc.)
3. Materials (like granite, marble, carpet, wood paneling).
Once you are satisfied with the design, I will start assembling comprehensive construction documents, which include blue prints and detailed instructions that the subcontractors will consider their “Bible.” Specifications detailing construction material performance and quality standards will be provided. This is generally the longest phase and requires less client involvement.
The bidding process generally involves 3 to 5 contractors and usually lasts between two to four weeks. In considering bids, I do not advocate looking at budget only. Other factors to consider include: a contractor’s reputation, the time needed to complete the job, the subcontractors involved and other factors.
Once a contractor is selected, I will administer the contract between you and the contractor, and provide regular inspections of your project as it progresses through completion. With any construction project, issues will arise. Adjustments will need to be made. I will stay involved to make any required changes to shop drawings and ensure the job meets codes and quality standards.
I will be there with you from start to finish.