The job of an Architect is a multi-faceted role. The core of what we do is design work for our clients (you)! Design is a fairly nebulous umbrella covering a range of phases that, when put together, add up to a complete architecture project. We will lay out what each phase consists of through a series of posts, including the construction phase, so you may gain a greater understanding of what to expect when you renovate or build your new home.
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Construction Documents: They are the drawings and items used for the bidding, permitting and construction of your building – Architects and contractors call them “CDs” for short.
During the CD phase the final details of the design are fleshed out and laid out in our drawings, and we finish collaboration with one or more consultants to finalize specific systems in the project like the structural frame or electrical system.
The CD phase takes an amount of time that is typically proportional to the amount of “stuff” designed during Design Development (DD). We typically draw using computer programs and can output PDF drawings and/or large-format prints on paper sheets which may be up to 30 x 42 inches or even larger.
I like to be efficient in resource use so I usually choose a paper size which will allow me to show all parts of the design clearly but hopefully not require too much extra paper. The drawings are laid out at different architectural scales (which are sizes relative to full size). I will choose a scale for each drawing so that the detailed information is clearly conveyed to those who need it.
Depending on the size of the project and the detailing required, I’ve seen an entire house drawn up on as few as 10 large-format sheets; large complex houses could require 75 or more sheets. By reviewing drawings digitally, the Architect and client can be pretty “green” during this phase. Note: The city/county/state permitting authorities usually require paper printouts for their permitting reviews. Expect 3 or 4 sets of drawings for this purpose to be required.
The complete CD set will allow the general contractor to bid on and build the project. The bidding side is fairly simple; the contractor spends a few weeks with the documents and comes back with his/her cost proposal to build your project. Once the construction starts, the documents tell the contractor what needs to be built so the design is complete. The CDs usually don’t tell the contractor exactly how to put things together – while this may seem odd at first, the contractor has a great deal of experience in building houses and he/she knows how to put things together. The Architect and design team’s responsibility is to illustrate what it should look like when done!
Next phase: Construction Administration
This post was originally written before re-branding as Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture at the end of 2017.
At Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture, we design unique and stunning projects, individually crafted for our clients’ lives. We’re passionate about listening to your needs, wants and desires as inspiration to design the dream home you’ll never want to leave.