Architecture and architectural services design buildings and structures for commercial and industrial applications. They analyze a client’s current and future requirements in order to develop site plans, floor plans, room layouts, and building specifications. Some architecture and architectural services specialize in landscape architecture or historic preservation. Other architects provide town planning, urban design, or code compliance services. As a rule, however, architecture and architectural services complete projects in three phases: preliminary design, documentation, and construction observation or construction management.
Architecture and architectural services perform many activities during the preliminary design phase. After completing an initial consultation, they may perform a feasibility study to analyze a customer’s potential for growth. Expansion vs. relocation studies, assistance with site selection, and coordination with existing facilities may also be necessary. Subsequent activities often include meetings with local planning boards, research regarding applicable building codes, and communications with the general public. During the preliminary design phase, architecture and architectural services may also develop a master plan or comprehensive plan for the long-term development of a site. If the review and revision process satisfies the client, the coordination of the design process with financial planning begins.
During the documentation phase, architecture and architectural services use computer aided design (CAD) or drafting systems to produce a detailed set of plans and specifications. These construction documents include a site plan, code analysis, floor plans and elevations, and reports about building sections and elevations. Architecture and architectural design services may also provide room finish, window and door schedules, as well as structural, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical specifications. In some cases, architecture and architectural services may need to consult electrical engineers and audio/video (AV) specialists in order to develop complete site specifications. Meetings with local planning boards or client building committees may also be necessary.
During the construction observation or construction management phase, architecture and architectural services can act as superintendent to the general contractor. Architects can review materials and requests for substitutions, approve shop drawings, and prepare any supplementary drawings to clarify the intent of the original construction drawings. Architecture and architectural services may also perform on-site inspections to ensure compliance with the construction documents, and provide a final inspection of the facility upon completion.