The 5 phases of successful design must be performed to create the best solution to the program.  Architecture and the design processes are expressions to the needs of the client.  There are different issues that will influence a design including location, lifestyle and budget.

Programming Phase

First, programming is the process of discovery. Requirements and desires for a project are set in written and graphical form. For a project to be successful, all participants must understand and agree on the program at the start, and it should determine the needs to be fulfilled.  In this phase the scope, objectives, limitations and criteria are established.  Research and assessment information from post-occupancy of similar types of projects can be used to assess the project’s feasibility.  This includes an examination of who the users will be, what rooms they need, adjacencies, and private or public spaces, etc.  It also includes an examination of constraints such as cost, zoning and building code restrictions, and locally available materials.

Schematic Design Phase

After establishing the program, the focus changes from analyzing the problem to solving it. During schematic design, the focus is on high-level design. In general, schematic design is the development of graphic and written conceptual design solutions to the program for the client’s approval.

Developing alternative solutions to a specific program is the goal of this phase.  Here, minor details should be ignored. Instead, the design should focus on creating a coherent solution that covers the project as a whole; documentation and presentation of solutions to a client for approval follows.

Design Development Phase

Consequently, this step occurs after the client has approves the schematic design.  During the design development phase of the process, the design is refined with more detail. In previous phases, the focus was consistency. During Design Development, the project’s design includes more details and selecting materials, components, and systems to be incorporated into the scope. The architect provides drawings and documents for the client showing the project’s range and quality.

Construction Document Phase

Moreover, construction documents are the written and graphic directions used for construction of the project. These documents must be presented to the client and should be precise, consistent, and comprehensive.  They must be coordinated with structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems with the building and site.  They may be prepared in conjunction with specifications.   A production sequence flow chart to illustrate the relationship between construction documents and the construction process is very helpful for the entire team.

Construction Phase – Contract Administration

Observation ensures conformance with drawings and specifications. These reviews help in certifying amounts due to contractors.  In this phase the architect manages the field observation and documentation task as well as evaluates compliance with construction documents and specifications.

In the end, the keys to a successful project include effective communications among all involved in the project including the client, consultants, contractors and the community as a whole.