Thursday, February 28, 2013

Working With an Architect III

For the scenario introduced in the first installment of this article, the product of a thorough and comprehensive schematic design phase would be basic plans, sections and elevations of the new house. Basic in this context means drawings which are proportionally correct, but are not accurate enough to dimension or indicate material. The final schematic drawings are the product of the collaboration between the client and the architect, and there were likely three or four collaborative reviews of the progress to keep the project on course. These schematic reviews would be described in the agreement between the client and architect; in fact, a review schedule is or should be part of any agreement when working with an architect.

The schematic interim or review drawings and final schematic drawings would be part of the deliverables mentioned briefly in the first installment. Other deliverables would be interim and final drawings, specifications, renderings and scale models, at a minimum, from the design development and construction documents phases. The design development phase undertakes the task of developing the basic drawings from the schematic phase into detailed drawings that can be dimensioned to an agreed upon tolerance, like 3" for example, and can be rendered to show basic materials, shadow lines and color. Exactly what is shown is up to the collaboration, and is likely influenced by the project budget, but the intent is to develop a high level of confidence in what the house will look like and how it conforms to the guidelines established during predesign.

The construction documents phase is devoted to converting the design development drawings into construction documents; construction documents are what are used as a basis for the bids solicited from contractors, and what the contractor who is awarded the bid will use to construct the house. The construction documents are dimensioned to within a very tight tolerance, usually to 1/16" for large scale details in residential construction. The architect endeavors to specify each component and material, from 1/2" type 316L stainless steel screws to roofing materials. The construction documents are used as the basis for the contract between the building contractor and the client, and they are also used by the contractor to procure the building permit from the local body having jurisdiction over the project.

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