What are the 5 Phases of Architecture?

5 Phases of Architecture - Chitkara University

The design and creation of a building can be a challenging process. Work done in organizing an architectural project into design phases can clarify the process and also put it into more manageable steps.

Let’s see what you need to know about the architectural design process, stages of architectural design, and how to become more efficient in the architectural design phase to ensure a smooth process and achieve improved customer satisfaction.

In this blog, we will see the five phases of architectural design and how can we implement them to achieve success.

What is the Purpose of Design Phases?

Planning of design phases is important for achieving overall success in an architectural project. Usually, it takes many architectural design phases to reach a completed project and many architects have multiple projects going on all at once. The juggling of these design stages is a complicated part of the job but organized phases can make it simple.

What’s more, a building is a permanent structure and once it is made, it is difficult to go back and change elements that the customers do not like. Architects must get it right before building and the area is often restricted by budget. A structured architectural design process with phases can help your customers feel in control and give everyone clear insights into what is happening.

5 Phases of Architecture:

Schematic Design: The first phase of design is called schematic design. It is where the architects and owners discuss the project and any requirements provided by the owner. This is where the architect does precedent research and analysis of the property including zoning and building code issues that can affect the development and site analysis.

Programming is also a part of the schematic design and this is when the client provides the architects with a list of which spaces are going into a building. The architect also establishes the size, location, and relationship between all spaces.

One of the fundamental goals of schematic design is to develop the shape and size of the building with a basic design. A general plan and basic exterior design are developed in a schematic. During this phase, the architect figures out more or less how the building will look and operate. This phase includes sketching, meeting clients, and basic designs.

The schematic design is where you really get into the general design and not into deeper details. After the basic design is locked down and the architect provides drawings, the architect and owner mutually agree to proceed to the next design phase

Design Development Phase: The design development phase is almost 20% of the Architect’s work and fee. In this phase, the Architect and owner come together to choose materials including interior finishes and products including windows, fixtures, appliances, doors, etc.

In this phase, the architect revises the drawings with a lot more specificity and details than in the schematic design. Engineering begins with the structure, plumbing, energy analysis, project specific system, heating/ventilation systems, electrical analysis, etc.

At the end of design development, a good deal of product selection and system design can be used for progressing in the project. This is a phase that includes the exterior and interior design of the building being locked in by the owner and architect.

Construction Documents: The major work happens during the third phase. It accounts for over 40% of the architect’s fee depending on the project and the firm. During this phase. The architect and engineers complete technical engineering and designing including heating, air conditioning, ventilation systems, gas, electrical, plumbing, structural engineering, and energy calculations.

In this phase, the architects also submit many drawing sets for approval from the Department of Buildings. A separate collection of construction drawings is also required. It must be noted that getting the required building permits can take a good period of time. However, implementing streamlined design software can help in making the process smoother.

Bidding and Negotiations: After the building permits get approved, it is time for the owner to choose their contractor and sign the necessary contracts to begin construction. This stage can begin before completing the construction documents and estimates are more accurate if you start this stage after approval.

The fourth phase of the architecture design process is shorter and makes up over 5% of the time and fee. Many times, contractors submit bids to be chosen from and even the client can hire a contractor directly. In all cases, the architect’s job is to assist the client by answering the questions and providing additional documents requested by the contractor.

In case the owner has a precise budget from the start of the process, you may want to consider hiring a contractor early to consult on it. They can oversee the schematic design, design development, and construction drawings from the beginning to ensure that the project stays within the budget. The architects and cost estimators can offer estimates of the budget but a contractor can guarantee the construction price.

Construction Administration: After the contractor has been chosen, it is time to switch to the construction administration phase. This is the longest phase and accounts for over 20% effort and fee for architects.

During the preconstruction, the architect arranges and leads the meetings along with the progress meetings during construction. The architect also reviews testing including soil or concrete to ensure nothing interferes with the plans.

In many cases, the architect does not supervise the construction plan so there is not that much effort required before visiting the job site to see progress and ensure that the contractor can follow through with the plan. In this phase, the architect is also available to answer questions and provide additional information in case an issue arises.

Also, read this blog post: Understanding the Basics: Architecture and Planning

Summing It Up:

When the Architect has a clear understanding of all the design phases, it becomes manageable to meet the client’s expectations. In case you are also someone who wishes to become a successful architect then learning how to complete design phases is important.

Pursuing a professional program such as a 5-Year Bachelor of Architecture can help you to become trained in the architectural design phases process and also complete the design phases successfully. Enrol for the program today to know more.


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