Arc Castle Studio

A Simple But Needed Planning Process:

Developing the architectural design for a home or most any project, requires a process that helps you navigate through a diverse array of decisions. This is especially true when having to coordinate among various stakeholders. This post will focus on a brief overview, to help navigate your project to completion. And establish a simple but needed process.

Design Work Requires A Plan:

Often, our initial ideas fall short, and it is not until they are refined and expanded upon that they become worth perusing. Learning to plan provides a way to work through many ideas and begin the process of setting the course of the project. It also will help to refine ideas over time and perhaps reveal challenges that need resolution. Discovering challenges early on can be a way to save time and money. A great way to begin this planning process is to develop the building program and functional requirements of your project. Working through your program, will establish the preliminaries of your vision. Unfortunately, many homes by-pass this planning stage and are mass produced, with a one size fits all philosophy. This does nothing to improve upon our building infrastructure.  

Only after a good understanding of the building program and client expectations, can the design professional begin the next process of exploring ideas, and solutions. But it’s all contingent upon a specific program, which BTW should include the site, and budget requirements. The process leads to clarity and adds value to the project by way of thoughtful development. This planning process provides the initial steps of developing and organizing your building objectives and goals.  Through this planning process, the project can begin to start a dialogue of whats important, and were do we want to take this project? This initial process alone, can far and above exceed a design professionals fee! (even before the designing begins)

Although hiring an architect for your residential project may not be for everyone. It can be quite beneficial on many levels , both from the perspective of how to align your budget with the overall aesthetics. They can also prove to be a valuable part of the team during the construction phase. The architect’s experience with working through various solutions beyond just the standard building approach, lends itself to help clients achieve greater efficiencies through design that might not otherwise be possible. This provides the client with a site specific solutions that are infinity more valuable than an arbitrary process of building from a stock plan. 

A Case Study Example:

By way of a simple example, If the architect can design a residential plan operate more efficiently, even by 100sf, that can represent a major cost savings, In the case were a  building cost is $250/sf, that can be a $25,000 savings! (using a very conservative building cost value.) This is a tiny example, however it provides a clear advantage in designing a home. In addition, aligning the extensive array of various functions with the design, provides solutions that are harmonious and well thought out.  It is not unusual  for those projects that have had an architect involved in the design process; typically can add approximately 10-15% or greater value over comparable homes utilizing an off the shelf variety.  The potential to serve a homeowner through a formal design process provides many advantages. Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us.”  

When a schematic plan is developed, it establishes a process in which you are able to order your goals and objective. As ideas are developed, and greater levels of information can be established this can serve as a preliminary cost estimation tool. A building contractor can review these documents and provide preliminary cost estimates, based on specific square footage and design parameters. It’s a great way to gauge your budget and the cost implications at an early stage. This can also facilitate effective revisions long before the project is built.  

Another aspect or benefit of using a design process, establishes a framework to evaluate all the applicable building codes. This is about mitigating risk, and establishing a clear path before the construction process starts. In short, this is not only about the design, it is about creating value through planning, mitigating risk, and seeking to improve upon how you live.

Utilizing an Architect to Include the Art With the Science:

Like soo many things in life, it helps to have a plan. Having a design process can greatly help in clarifying and attaining your goals. It is also interesting how setting out on a journey to create something, can lead to discovery and improvement. There is something quite unique about the process of planning, establishing goals, creating a vision can provide added meaning to life, and in turn help to create substantial value. As an architect, I have discovered that having a design process in place helps to organize lots of information so as to prioritize the effort. In short, with no guide, chaos can quickly ensue and undermine any building project. The process that leads to bringing ideas and concepts together in a meaningful way, can also help make the dreams a reality. It’s vital that the client has an advocate and guide to balance the art with the science of building.