Design approach

Our firm believes in the value of a highly collaborative interactive design process by working closely with the client to develop a strong working relationship. Solutions and challenges for the project will be discussed, analyzed and reviewed in a project team context. This allows everyone to buy into the solution and ensure the results maintain the desired goals of the project.

Normally, our design approach is to subdivide the design exercise into different steps. First, we review the client’s building
program and needs list. We work with the client to confirm space needs, aesthetics requirements, initial construction budget, technical requirements and the goals and objectives for the building. Also, we collect information regarding the site, including geotechnical test reports, site and topographical surveys, and we review the City’s zoning requirements and bylaws. This review will identify missing information required to complete the project and identify areas where the project schedule may be impacted.

Next we meet with the client to review the developed program and facility requirements and confirm that the information and layout is current and supported.

With the information gathered from steps one and two we will do a preliminary design complete with a rough working 3-D model to explain our thinking. Normally, the rough model will be destroyed during the design meetings as design input is gathered from the client. We have found over the years that this exercise helps the client to understand the spaces much better. As part of this Schematic Design Phase a preliminary construction cost opinion is also developed to confirm project budget parameters.

Based on this information we design the building and present it either in physical- model form or computer-generated model and space drawings. On approval of the final design we update the construction cost estimate, to verify that the design is within the proposed budget.

The next step is the contract documents. The design is translated into working drawings utilizing the site photographs as part of the contract documents. This process is still a design exercise, so meetings are held to ensure that special architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical requirements are met. Design sketches are done to describe the interior space quality and storage mill work requirements. A color scheme is proposed and a finish materials board is presented and discussed with the client.

A pre-tender construction cost opinion is done and reviewed with both the client and the cost consultant to ensure we are still within the budget. On approval of the final contract documents by the client and authorities having jurisdiction, we prepare the tender call and assist during the tender process. With a little bit of luck and tight cost control throughout the process, we will receive a tender(s) that are on budget and the construction can start.

The construction phase is handled with bi-weekly meetings and regular inspections. Upon completion of the construction, our firm and consultants will issue the Building Code Schedules to the authorities having jurisdiction. We also collect the record drawings from the mechanical and electrical contractor’s and input any changes to the building to create a final set of record drawings (can be electronic and hard copy) for the client’s future use.