What are the 5 stages of architectural design?

What are the 5 stages of architectural design?

The 5 stages of architectural design are: schematic design, development, document drafting, offer, construction management. Discover them!

Developing an architectural project from scratch can be very complex, because it involves multiple stakeholders and numerous resources and tools. To help organizing and better managing each work aspect, the architectural design process is typically divided into several stages.

If you want to find out which are the different phases of architectural design, you are in the right place!

Keep reading the article to find out all the details and try an architectural design software for free now, to find out how it can simplify the various design management stages.

What are the stages of architectural design?

Regardless of the type or size of the project, there are 5 stages of architectural design that, identified by the AIA (American Institute of Architects), allow any complex design process to be divided into simple activities, ensuring clarity and coherence.

These are:

  1. schematic design;
  2. project development;
  3. design documents drafting;
  4. offer;
  5. construction administration and management.

5 stages of architectural design

In reality, however, it is possible to identify a further step, namely that of design programming, which however is not considered by the AIA as a real design stage, but as an extra, a task of the owner, who does not necessarily have to develop it with the help of a technician.

However, the planning of a project acquires a lot of importance because it gathers the planning and research work necessary to start the next five phases.

Design planning

It coincides with the moment when the feasibility of a project is developed. More or less long, depending on the complexity of the work, is the stage where the research on the type of project and objectives take place, therefore identifying deliverables, requirements and strategies.

Important factors to consider include:

  • site conditions;
  • identification of pre-existing structures and resources;
  • zoning analysis;
  • current regulations analysis;
  • environmental impacts;
  • project areas;
  • conceptual programmes;
  • indicative analysis of the budget;
  • etc.

The 5 Stages of Architectural Design

We analyze in detail each phase of the architectural design.

1. Schematic design

Schematic design is the first phase of architectural design. its objective is to develop the form, size and basic relationships of construction, in order to understand how it will appear and work.

This stage takes the form of continuous meetings between the client and the designer, in which through surveys, sketches and general models, the client’s wishes are translated into design concepts.

First stage of architectural design: Schematic design

First stage of architectural design: Schematic design

2. Project development

The project development is the heart of the architectural process. If in the first stage the principle of construction takes place, it is at this moment that we go into detail.

All the design aspects are detailed:

  • architectural: Modelling with an architectural design software the interior and exterior spaces. Therefore focusing on the various technical elements, defining arrangements and simulating materials, finishes and furnishings;
  • structural: after identifying building the structural scheme of the , with a structural calculation software ensuring compliance with technical standards thus implementing and verifying resistant elements
  • systems: thermal, hydraulic or electrical system, nothing must be left to chance and should be model and developed adequately through BIM software for MEP systems.

In this stage is also important the use of software preparing metric calculations and cost estimates, to identify the general expenses of the project itself.

Second stage of architectural design: Project development

Second stage of architectural design: Project development

3. Drafting of project documents

In this stage you’ll produce all submitting deliverables’ technical documentation in order to obtain permits and authorizations necessary to carry out the works at the construction site. And with a software for graphic elaborations producing deliverables containing technical drawings is more convenient:

  • floor plans;
  • plants;
  • Tables;
  • wiring diagrams;
  • carpentry;
  • metric calculations;
  • etc.
Third stage of architectural design: Drafting design documents

Third stage of architectural design: Drafting design documents

4. Offer

The objective of this phase is to identify an executing company that will contract the project’s construction works. The designer will assist the customer in evaluating offers and in choosing the most optimal one and will finally conclude a contract between the parties.

To optimize this stage managing all the documentation, you will certainly need an engineering document management software with which to create, organize and share all the documents and project information.

Fourth stage of architectural design: Offer

Fourth stage of architectural design: Offer

5. Construction administration and management.

Once the contractor is chosen you’ll reach the final stage of the process. Here, technician moves from design to construction management thus ensuring compliance with the design intent.

With regular on-site visits and a timely organization of activities, costs and supplies, the designer keeps the works under control both in the office and on site and guarantees the completion of the same according to the plans.

Fifth stage of architectural design: Construction administration and management

Fifth stage of architectural design: Construction administration and management

Why are the stages of architectural design so important?

Splitting the architectural process through the stages of architectural design that we have talked about is important as it definitely improves its management:

  • allows you to keep the workflow in order;
  • release information in a structured manner;
  • ensures clear communication of design intentions;
  • ensures customer expectations;
  • provides better results.