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A Typical Project

From Programming to Final Inspection; A Project’s Various Steps


Often clients think they must know exactly what they want their project to be before they even contact an architect. In reality, part of the architect’s job is to assist in determining what is necessary and what is desirable for the project.

Through either a formal or informal process, The Driftmier Architects will help you and your organization determine your goal, needs, available budget and timeline.  Through our successful completion of over 500 projects we have learned that there is no "typical project". However, the process related to selecting a site, designing a building, and implementing that design does follow a pattern. That pattern is briefly described below.

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 Phase I - Programming and Needs Analysis

  • General project procedures and expectations are defined with the client.
  • Data related to facilities needs, space requirements and growth is collected through questionnaires, interviews, and current facilities observations.
  • An architectural program is written that includes a narrative outlining the goals of the project, a listing of facilities needs and relationships, employee and  workstation inventory, a use or activity floor area requirements chart, relationship matrix, and a bubble diagram which indicates spatial organization.

 Phase II - Site Evaluation

  • Site review begins with a visit to the site where site observation notes and photographs of the existing condition are made.  When possible, those who have been living or working on the site are contacted to determine what sort of problems or opportunities may exist.
  • Survey and soils information is obtained as well as any other data related to the site’s existing condition.
  • The site evaluation report usually consists of a narrative outlining the existing condition of the site, its advantages and challenges, site observation notes, meeting notes from contact with governing authorities, photographs of the site, a completed zoning code check list and code narrative if warranted, a series of site layouts and any backup data that has been collected such as surveys, soils, etc.

Phase III - Preliminary Design

  • A preliminary design is begun once the architectural program or written definition has been completed. 
  • The preliminary design begins with a bubble diagram of both the site and of the facility followed by an overall plan or concept showing how the facility will be able to take advantage of the site.
  • The next step involves the development of the site and building design.  Once the preliminary design is finalized, the clients knows what their building will look like and how it will be laid out.


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