Additions, Remodels and Custom Homes – Phase V of The Design Process

This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network.

David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue

The Construction Phase Including Permits & Bidding

There are five phases to a typical architectural project: Pre-design, schematic design, design development, construction documents, and construction.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the Permits and Bidding and Construction which occurs at the end of the Construction Document phase.

After having established the objectives and the restrictions affecting the project (pre-design), coming up with a solution to the problem (schematic design), selecting materials and coordinating with consultants (design development),preparing the construction documents, the drawings are now issued to the reviewing jurisdiction with a permit application and issued to the bidding contractors.

During this phase, we apply for the building permit. This requires a visit to the Building Department, filling out forms, paying a fee or fees, and waiting. Lots of waiting. Some jurisdictions can review the application in a matter of 2 or 3 weeks, but many, like San Francisco, can take months to do just a first review of the documents. Some very small projects maybe permitted “over the counter” on the same day you apply, but that depends on the jurisdiction.

The jurisdiction typically has questions or concerns, they issue comments and the architect will respond to the City in writing and by revising the documents as required.

A bid from a contractor is a fixed price quote and the contractor is willing to enter into a contract that promises to complete the project for the price quoted. You can send the Construction Documents (also called “CDs” or a “Bid Set”) to contractors.

A quality bid requires four to six weeks to create. The contractor will meet with you and they will bring their subcontractors by the site. They will collect the subcontractor quotes and also figure out the costs of the work their crew will self perform. This takes time. There will be negotiations on your behalf and questions to address. The contractor addresses as much of this as possible.

The architect will also answer questions from the bidding contractors. Sometimes the questions raised by the bidders will require that the architect revise the documents. Once the bids are received, the architect will help you review the bids so that you can better make a decision.

What Does An Architect Do During Construction?

Or, in other words, why should you pay for an architect’s services during construction?

Architects ensure quality AND save you money. What we do during construction consists primarily of three things: answer questions from the contractor; visit the site to observe the progress and quality of construction; and review the contractor’s invoices.

Most remodeling projects run into conditions that were unexpected. A good contractor will call the architect and ask for direction, or input of some sort. The goal in answering the questions is to maintain the integrity of the design and minimize any additional costs.

When I visit a project under construction, I am looking to see if the building progress is on schedule, and to see if the construction is being done to the quality expected and that no short cuts are being taken, and that the specified materials are being used. Basically, ensuring you are getting what you paid for.

When a client receives an invoice from the builder, I can review it to ensure that the materials billed for are on site, and that the work being billed for has been completed.

Construction Phase services protect the owner; ensuring that the schedule is adhered to, that the construction is of the appropriate quality, and that the design is executed correctly.

The New Avenue Design Agreement spells out the deliverables in this phase. Get Started here to access the Design Agreement that delivers the best practices in the industry and the best local architects and contractors.
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