Overview of the Design Process

The extent of the pre-design process and the complexity of the design process vary depending on the nature and size of the project. Capital Development projects will go through the full process outlined in Overview of Formal Pre-Design Process. Other projects may utilize portions of the pre-design process as is appropriate for the project.

First Step:Feasibility and InitialEstimates

The first step in the process is to determine the feasibility of the idea, how long it will take and how much it may cost. For a project of any significant size, this usually requires the assistance of a consultant. Your Project Manager will help identify a qualified consultant, and arrange for their assistance. You will need to provide funding for this cost.

The consultant will look at the existing building condition, discuss with you your needs, and determine what it will take to accomplish what you have in mind. This will typically include a written study that summarizes conclusions, and gives you a general idea of costs. In consultation with the Project Manager, you should have a good idea of the feasibility of your project, including scope, cost and time estimated for the project. The Project Manager will also help you determine what to do next.

Funding Requirements and Approvals

Once the feasibility of the project is determined, the Project Manager can help determine funding requirements and administrative approvals needed to proceed with the project. When it has been determined that there is adequate funding for the work, approval is sought to proceed with actual design of the project.

For larger projects, such as Capital Development projects, programming will be required before design.

Design Process

The actual design of the project is the process in which the actual physical size, shape and appearance of the project is determined. Design is typically done in three stages, each with a review and approval before moving to the next stage. The three stages are:

  • Schematic Design - Includes development of the basic layout of the space, the skeleton framework of the space, with a preliminary cost estimate based on the layout.
  • Design Development - Includes more detailed design, with development of the look and feel of the space to flesh out the skeleton framework. A better estimate is developed.
  • Construction Documents - Includes documentation of all the details needed for a contractor to bid and build the project, including a detailed estimate of the costs.

Smaller Projects May Involve Fewer Steps

For smaller projects, design may skip some of these steps, if deemed appropriate by the project manager. The objective is to accomplish the design process in a way that reduces the time required while meeting the projects' needs. The Project Manager should be able to advise you on how those objectives can be accomplished in time, and within your budget.

Contact Info

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