MNB Architects
Friday, July 28, 2017

Philosophy on design and Budget Control

The Programming Phase is the work, as defined in the contract to include appropriate narrative and spreadsheet format documents where the specific elements of the project are developed. This includes space relationships, room sizes, requirement for furniture/fixture/equipment elements in each space, and other necessary items to properly define the scope of the project. These other elements might include budget, schedule, construction delivery method and other items deemed necessary by the Owner.
 
The Schematic Design Phase is the work, as defined in the contract to include appropriate drawings, where the firm assists the Owner in program interpretation in the form of sketches and developed plans and elevations of the facility to determine approximate building area. This phase also establishes a budget based on past history of projects of this type using cost per square foot estimates.
 
The Design Development Phase is the work, as defined in the contract to include appropriate drawings, where the firm assists the Owner in developing a more detailed cost estimate using partially developed construction documents with all engineering and technical systems identified. In this phase there is a review of all building and engineering systems to ascertain that systems, as designed, are cost effective and correct for the project.
 
The Construction Documents Phase is the work, as defined in the contract to include appropriate drawings and specifications, where the firm assists the Owner in developing a final detailed cost estimate using completed construction documents prior to bidding.
 
The Bidding/Negotiation Phase includes the firm’s assistance with the bidding/negotiating process by the use of quality construction documents that fully define the project.  Answer all contractor questions promptly. Conduct pre-construction meetings with all contractors and confirm the relationship balance between design and budget.
 
The Construction Administration Phase includes review shop drawings promptly, observation of construction for proper construction as defined by the contract documents, anticipation of potential problems at construction observation site visits, communication with the Owner for compliance with design intent, budget control of construction and continued review for potential savings, and management of the contract for completion, accuracy, timeliness, and Owner satisfaction.
 
Should the budget exceed the estimate at any stage of plan development, the program (building area) or level of finishes should be reduced or the budget increased. Often cost control in the bidding process will be through “add alternates”, that is, those desired but not absolutely essential features of the project identified to allow adding those features if funds are available.
 
We encourage our clients to select a project (construction) manager or a general contractor early in the planning process so that this person or company becomes part of the design team. Experience has proven this process to be an effective way of balancing design and budget.