Stage 1: Concept Design

Home > Concept to Completion > Concept Design

3D Side view

I examine client ideas and intentions along with a visit to the proposed site. If it is a renovation, I will measure the existing house. At this point the client does most of the talking while I listen and record the details of what the client may have been thinking about. I do not start on any proposals until I am satisfied that I understand the client completely and have seen any sketches, pictures or photographs they may have collected. Once the overall "vision" for the project is clear, my job is to bring order to the needs and requirements of the client.

During the second phase of this stage, drawings are prepared. They are drawn first at a smaller scale then at a larger, showing possible solutions for the design. Many meetings are held to make sure that the client is satisfied with the progress. The process of working back and forth from the larger considerations to the intricacies of the internal layout can often be quite time consuming. The design will now be presented in the form of' 1/4" scale drawings, including plans and elevations and a site plan which will take into account view, orientation, sun, topography and other site elements. Preliminary finished grade elevations are determined at important points. With these drawings, a very preliminary cost estimate is possible, to make certain the house is more or less within the scope of the budget. If possible, a chosen contractor is interviewed.

Top View 3D

Sometimes during this stage there are other complexities to handle. These relate to the zoning requirements of the location. In the city it can be quite time consuming if rezoning or special approvals are necessary. The end product of this is the Development Permit, which is often applied for before any other work is carried out, to make sure there are no city building restrictions. This is a stage that should not be rushed allowing all parties concerned to review what is proposed. Often clients are not aware that moving one item causes repercussions in other areas. While It is still easier at this point to revise the design, once the second stage is under way it is very time consuming and costly to change the drawings and may be disruptive for the integrity of the proposed design.

Next page: Construction design