5 Stages of the Architectural Design Process

You might have wondered what are the different stages of the architectural design. Be it hotel, residential, commercial, warehouse, storage, industrial or retail etc. In this article, we will explain all phases that are involved in a design-build of a new construction/development project.

There are typically 5 stages of architectural design involved in a design-build of any project. These 5 phases/stages are

  1. Pre-design
  2. Schematic Design
  3. Design Development
  4. Construction Drawings
  5. Construction

1 – Pre-design (PD)

Pre-Design step in Architecture/Construction Project

The first objective is to get-together with a client and determines overall project vision and goals. There are some key areas to discuss the project –  scope, features, purpose, and functionality.

In this phase, we carry out

  • Client consultation
  • Existing conditions survey and documentation
  • Photographs
  • Measurements
  • Compile existing drawings if any
  • Prepare high-level base drawings
  • Statement of probable build/construction cost
  • Programming space and use
  • Code review

This phase ends with owner’s decision to move forward with a project.

2 – Schematic Design (SD)

In this phase, we do series of rough sketches/drawings that illustrate the basic concepts of the design.  Also, initial research of local compliance and regulations are completed at this time.

At the end of this phase, we deliver

  • Floor plans of all levels with generic openings and plumbing fixtures
  • Exterior building elevations with representative openings and finishes
  • Building cross-section
  • Typical wall section

And we move to the next phase with the owner’s approval.

Schematic Design during Architecture/Construction project

3 – Design Development (DD)

Design Development in Architecture/Construction projects

Design development collects the results from the schematic design phase and takes them one step further.

This phase involves finalizing the design and specifying items such as materials, window and door locations and general structural details.

At the end of this phase, we deliver

  • Floor plans with a proposed basis of design openings and plumbing fixtures
  • Overall dimensions
  • Structural grid dimensions
  • Interior wall dimensions
  • Exterior elevations with a proposed basis of design openings and finishes
  • Additional building sections
  • Wall sections at all typical conditions
  • Typical details
  • Additional details to establish a basis for design products

Now we have given shape to project ’s vision through drawings and written specifications.

4 – Construction Drawings (CD)

By now we have a final design. We can begin preparing construction drawings/blueprints, notes, and technical specifications necessary for bidding, construction, and permit application. Construction contractors will use these detailed drawings and specifications to prepare for the construction.

In this phase, we deliver

  • Floor plans fully annotated
  • All dimensions
  • Room, wall, door, and window identification
  • Section and detail indicators
  • General notes and detailed notes
  • Exterior elevations fully annotated
  • All building sections required for construction
  • Wall sections at all conditions
  • Details fully annotated
  • Structural plans, details, and notes
  • Plumbing plans, schedules, details, and notes
  • HVAC plans, schedules, details, and notes
  • Electrical power and lighting plans, schedules, details, and notes

And we move to the final phase

Construction drawings for Architecture/Construction Projects

5 – Construction


Finally, the construction is underway.

During this phase, we will build as per the design intent. Also if there are any changes, we discuss changes and options with the owner. It ensure that alterations are compatible with owner’s vision for the project. This is the last phase and at the end of this phase, a project is ready for the use/occupancy.

Feel free to reach out to us on info@rdaep.com if you are planning a new construction project. Check out the latest Hotel construction trends in Northeast of USA.