Design Phase

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The first phase of the budget is concerned with programming, schematic design, design documents and construction documents. This is a required step before the construction phase can begin.

The Design Phase begins with the approval of the project budget which includes the following

  • design and associated documents
  • professional time for the project manager, designer and potential contractors
  • design contingency.

At the end of the Design Phase, the construction budget is ready for approval and the project is ready to be constructed. The deliverables of the Design Phase are the Design Documents, Construction Documents and the preliminary contract document package. Once the construction budget is approved, the Construction Phase begins.

The Design Phase consists of four sub-phases:

  • Programming Phase
  • Schematic Design Phase
  • Design Development Phase
  • Construction Document Phase

Common terminology and its definitions can be found under Definitions of Project Management Terms.

Programming Phase

The Programming Phase is concerned with the following:

  • Estimating realistic project cost.
  • Determining the building and user requirements.
  • Establishing a total building area.
  • Refining the scope of work.

Programming involves gathering information from the intended building occupants and user groups through group and individual interviews. The programmer researches current and projected needs in such areas as information and instructional technology, academic teaching methods, privacy and security. This results in a comprehensive description of the necessary components of the construction project.

This is the time to determine the effect on existing facilities or projects-in-planning, and the need for corollary projects, such as parking lots or new utilities services. State of Michigan building requirements or restrictions, all life safety, fire, environmental and barrier-free code issues are identified.

The project program, the end result of the Programming Phase, describes how the finished project will "work": how it will function for the building occupants and how it will meet all the project requirements.

Programming Phase Flowchart

Schematic Design Phase

The Schematic Design Phase is concerned with:

  • Building systems (structural, mechanical, HVAC, plumbing and electrical).
  • Interior and exterior finishes.
  • Building site.

The purpose of Schematic Design is to translate the project program into physical drawings of space. In the Schematic Design Phase,  the project team determines the areas, physical requirements and relationships of all the required building spaces and components, confirms or revises the total building square footage, the total project budget and the project schedule and occupancy dates.

It provides control strategies for all equipment and systems relating to building services such as security and fire alarms, and defines the technical requirements for phones, data, cable and audio/visual needs.

The schematic drawings—floor plans, site plans and building elevations—are reviewed and refined for functionality, usability, required adjacencies, code compliance, security, safety and aesthetics. The project program and the schematic drawings are scrutinized for possible errors or omissions. The plans are shared and discussed with staff in other areas of the University such as maintenance services, custodial services , logistics, information technology and public safety, to identify possible problems and to coordinate with the needs and practices in these areas.

Design Development Phase

The Design Development Phase is concerned with the following:

  • Interior and exterior building materials and finishes.
  • Furniture and equipment selection and layouts.
  • Cabinetry and custom fabrications.
  • Lighting and technology designs.
  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

In the Design Development Phase, the schematic plans and elevations are reviewed, revised and expanded to incorporate all the details and specifications required for construction. Project components are looked at to the smallest detail. Issues often come to light that affect constructability or are critical to satisfying the project program, and that may require changes to the project program or to the budget, or both.

By the end of design development the design drawings and specifications are sufficiently complete to establish and define the facility's size, function, configuration, spaces, the operation or use of equipment and the materials for all the principal building structures and systems. With this information the project budget, schedule and all building plans are finalized.

Construction Document Phase

The Construction Document Phase is concerned with the following:

  • Compliance with all applicable state and federal codes and statutes.
  • Compliance with university standards.
  • Verification of the building site conditions.
  • Quality controls during the Construction Phase.
  • Estimates of all associated costs.

Design Phase Flowchart

Construction documents are compiled from design development documents. They include all the architectural drawings and specifications necessary to complete the project, and are the basis of the bid documents and the construction contract. The estimated project costs are reviewed and updated to reflect current construction costs, and are compared with the established project budget. If it is no longer feasible to complete the project within the established budget, alternative approaches and practical cost reductions are identified.

At the end of the Design Phase, the project is ready to be constructed and the construction budget is ready for your approval. The deliverables of the Design Phase are the design documents, construction documents and the preliminary contract document package. Once the construction budget is approved, the Construction Phase begins.