Frequently Asked Questions


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How the Process Works:

Getting from the Initial Concept to a Finished Building

Programming and Concept/Schematic Design
First, we work closely with you to clarify the project, taking note of your stated goals, program, and specific requirements. We define the required functions and spatial needs of the project and discuss site features, opportunities and limitations, building placement, etc. This stage also includes the research phase of the project; we incorporate zoning requirements and/or jurisdictional restrictions

Next, we use the established program to begin concept diagrams. Based on your input, these diagrams are then developed into site and floor plans.  At this time, we develop a strategy for achieving any sustainable/green goals. Accessibility and other such requirements are addressed. We will begin the graphic work which could include comprehensive 3D renderings and building “walk-through” as well as a 3D physical model that will explain the project thoroughly and beautifully.

Final Schematic/Design Development
Additional details or modifications are added to the Schematic Design, finely honing the site design and building. This phase also addresses the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, and architectural details. Also, energy calculations may be made to test glass, insulation and other requirements to ensure that the building will properly function to meet Energy Code. When appropriate, contact with the governmental authorities required to approve the Construction Documents and the entities providing utility services to the Project is made. We continue to update imaging. .

Construction Documents
At this time, the final details and specifications are added to the project for construction, bidding and permitting.  Based on the Owner’s approval of the Design Documents, and on the Owner’s authorization of any adjustments in the Project requirements and the budget for the Cost of the Work, we will prepare Construction Documents for the Owner’s approval. The Construction Documents shall illustrate and describe the further development of the approved Design Development Documents and shall consist of Drawings and Specifications setting forth in detail the quality levels of materials and systems and other requirements for the construction of the Work. The Owner acknowledges that in order to construct the Work the Contractor will provide additional information, including Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and other similar submittals, which the Architect shall review in a timely fashion. Prior to the conclusion of the Construction Documents Phase, the Architect shall submit the Construction Documents to the Owner. The Architect shall meet with the Owner to review the Construction Documents. Upon receipt of the Owner’s approval the set will be ready for bidding distribution.

Bidding & Negotiation
We can be of tremendous influence and help in this phase, in finding general contractors to bid the project (competitive bids or negotiated proposals), and then helping to obtain possible price reductions through negotiated changes in the project design/features/ quality level. In the majority of cases, the Owner wants to see if the project can be built for less.  So here the architect’s service can help the owner a great deal.  The architect is the only party to the project that has the detailed understanding that will allow a coordinated price reduction, without sacrificing important items that could seriously damage the project (if changed without the architect’s guidance). The Architect and his team will work with the Owner and Contractor to facilitate the best methods and approach and guidance for any changes requested.

Construction Administration
We visit the project site and reviews contractor submittals, including shop drawings for various items, including but not limited to, doors and windows, insulation, concrete, wood, and paint.  We keep a watchful eye so that items are not changed by the contractor and suppliers without the owner’s knowledge, thus cheapening the project, damaging its durability, increasing its monthly utilities and possibly leaking, rotting and or being otherwise structurally compromised. Furthermore, we can review the contractor’s pay requests, checking on the progress of the construction and comparing that with the amount invoiced.  This keeps the project on track and keeps the Owner from getting into the position of overpaying up front.

Post Occupancy Evaluation
We will follow up after the building is complete to ensure that the building is functioning as desired and designed.  Here we evaluate the building’s performance in terms of energy, functionality, and aesthetics.

How long does the process take?

We work with a large body of consultants so our turn around time is excellent.  We generally discuss time frame as we work towards the final contract as there are many variables that affect the timeline including the size of the project, location of the project (governing bodies for permits etc), how decisive the client is, etc.

How do we establish our fees?

Our fees are based on several factors and vary according to the complexity of the project.  We evaluate the scale of the project, special programmatic requirements, whether it will seek either Passive House, LEED certification, ADA requirements, travel requirements etc.  We start with the industry standard of 8% of the construction budget and adjust up or down accordingly.

Please note that Vahid Mojarrab is a licensed architect.  He is a member of AIA and NCARB and WAMO carries Errors and Omissions and General Liability insurance.  Architect is a professional designation and one must be licensed to use it.