The Pre-Design portion of a project varies in scale, but follows a similar process that includes two steps. The first step is determining if the proposed project and budget is realistic for a given site. The second involves analyzing the obstacles that affect the site, both in terms of environmental and physical characteristics, as well as the regulatory bodies that have jurisdiction.
The requirements of the building program, along with the restrictions of the site provide for a sound base from which to commence the preliminary design that will begin to shape the physical characteristics of the project. More importantly, the program will assist in providing approximate building size and general infrastructure requirements from which a very basic budget review can be undertaken to ensure the project is on track.
Site planning is a critical component to any projects Pre-Design with lasting effects on the use and overall enjoyment of the property as a whole. A building design must work in harmony with the site for which it is intended, this can be the difference between a bland or an extraordinary building. Early site planning can be as straightforward as establishing boundaries and setbacks, identifying preferred views, and making note of physical and environmental factors (orientation, distance from neighbors, rock formations, important trees, etc). When done properly, site planning will improve the overall experience of your property and buildings alike.
Organizing the information gathered in the Pre-Design phase and transforming this into a visual representation is a complex task. Consideration for rooms and spaces, massing and building scale, site orientation and views, construction methods and materials, we develop the relationship diagrams as a base for further design.
Beginning with simple schematic design oftentimes represented by no more than a series of simple sketches that allocate a space or zones in the building in relation to one another. These sketches will evolve until they present an organization that meets the client’s program and complements the site requirements.
These preliminary sketches evolve with more detail and complexity to form the basis of the floor plans, elevations and building sections; later as more design is resolved models are used to assist in translating the design concepts to 3D to assist clients in better understanding the proposed spaces and aesthetics.
The schematic design process identifies organizational options, massing and aesthetic solutions. The preferred options are presented to the client with an explanation of the pros and cons of each concept. Feedback is incorporated into design modifications which are further detailed for client discussion and review.
The design development process can involve multiple rounds of revisions relative to the size and complexity of the project. Ideally, each revision refines the floor plans, elevations and assemblies of the proposed building. Throughout the process of the design development, it is important to maintain consideration for efficiency and economy. Structure, infrastructure, onsite labour and waste are carefully factored into this stage, as a few simple adjustments to the size or shape of a design can translate to greater savings in time and money and help reduce the overall environmental impact of a project. The final approved preliminary design drawings include scaled floor plans denoting room names and sizes with furniture, plumbing fixtures, appliances, door and window sizes and locations as well as the location of any specialty features such as fireplaces, millwork or staircases. The elevations, also to scale, illustrate proposed building height and shape. The drawings can also denote cladding size and material, window and door shapes, sizes and operation, roofing material and special features or accents. In some instances, basic building sections (a theoretical cut through the length or width of a building) are provided to illustrate the interior volumes of a proposed building and the relationship between floors.
The first phase documents are for the building permits and are often called Permit Drawings. Where a project is very basic (dock, deck, covered entry, basic garage), these may be the only drawings required. If the project is more complex or more time sensitive they may be a first set of required drawings used to obtain a building permit and to commence prep work on site. During this time, the second phase documents, the Construction Drawings can be developed while the Permit Drawings are being reviewed for building code and municipal bylaw compliance. When a complex project does not have restrictive timelines both phases can be combined, allowing Construction Drawings to be completed while the Permit application and Tendering process are entered simultaneously.
The Construction Drawings provide information over and above the requirements of Permit Drawings. They provide highly detailed instructions that outline the assembly of each component of the building. The advanced detailing of Construction Drawings allows the designer to work through many of the building assemblies and elevation details. The depth of the information provided in the Construction Drawings correlates significantly with avoiding on-site assumptions by the contractor, reduces labour and time in resolving conflicts with less waste, fewer changes, faster construction time, tighter tolerances and an overall better building process for all involved.
For the owner, Construction Drawings are the most valuable tool for both establishing and enforcing the contract with a builder. Depending on the type of contract negotiated, with a comprehensive Construction Drawing phase, the builder will often be able to provide a detailed fixed price for the project, with minimal contingencies as the vast majority of unknowns have been resolved.
In many instances, a client may have a preselected list of contractors they wish to use, based on reputation or referrals; others may have no preference. If requested, Sprout Studios can provide a short list of builders appropriate to the project in terms of location, scale and budget.
Should the owner elect to have Sprout Studios put the job to tender, we will act on their behalf to request bids from a preselected list of builders. The process will be confidential and information will not be shared between bidders. Sprout Studios will prepare the same documents for each bidder to review, meet builders on site (to answer any site questions they may have or discuss issues they need to be aware of), address any construction questions the bidders may have, communicate any addendums to the construction documents to all bidders for consistency, and take notes regarding which bidders are asking which questions. Upon review of the bids, Sprout Studios will break down each bid and compare it to the competition. The Tender Comparison breaks down each bid into similar elements of construction to ensure an impartial comparison. Items of inclusion or exclusion are listed or summarized to clearly quantify each bid.
During the process of construction and following completion, it is recommended that clients retain some degree of post design construction management service to act as their eyes and ears on site to assure what is being constructed is in keeping with what was designed to the level of quality expected. This is especially useful for projects that are remote or clients that are .
Required project management services are tailored to each job’s requirements and can include as little as periodic site visits and sending photos to the owner. Often management will include reviewing the project with building inspectors at time of inspection or providing the contractors with quantity calculations. More involved projects can include field reviews, progress documentation, construction documents compliancy reporting, scheduled site meetings, invoice and payment release approvals and deficiency reports.