Designing is our passion. A design should be an exercise in discovery - a fulfillment of a personal vision. We strive to realize that vision for each of our clients. Each design requires careful attention to detail and an individual focus on client needs. Our design process is holistic. For each project we consider how the site, buildings, landscaping, and interiors work together to achieve the look and function the client desires.
Much of our life is spent in buildings. Buildings are our shelter, our safe haven, our sleeping place. They are a gathering space to share meals, interact with friends and families, and better ourselves intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Our built environment influences us every day and at all scales, whether consciously or otherwise. They are a physical representation of who we are as individuals and as a culture.
Accessibility and Sustainability
We strive to design spaces that are fully accessible to all people, while still placing a priority on design and architectural style. After all, why should people who require larger doorways, unobstructed spaces, or level ground lack attention to design and thoughtful attention to detail? It is fundamental to our design practice that we provide creative design solutions to all people, regardless of their physical ability or limitations.
We incorporate the latest ideas and technologies in sustainability and green building fundamentals into many of the projects we work on. Whether simply designing for maximum energy efficiency and thermal performance, or achieving true passive design with ‘off the grid’ functionality, we are finding new ways of designing buildings for a new climate and a new economy. Today, clients are looking for economical ways to achieve thoughtfully designed buildings that perform optimally as 'smart' buildings and incorporate fundamentals of universal design for an aging population, all while trying to maximize their construction dollar. We are continually exploring the design possibilities within this paradigm.
No project is predictable. The path from the beginning of a project to its end can vary depending on the overall scope of the project. Typically, a project is made up of two or more phases, however it is important to note that there is an element of design in every phase and each is equally as important as the next. It all starts with an initial consultation with the client, where we discuss the requirements of the project and determine the phases required to meet the client's needs.
These phases are:
1 - Pre-Design
Following our initial consultations, and depending on the scope of the project, this phase includes one or more of the following steps:
Optional services depending on scope of work or if requested by the client:
2 - Schematic Design
The design process begins by reviewing and refining the client's list of needs and wants and specific requirements for the project. Preliminary concepts will be developed based on these requirements and any inspiration photos or sample plans provided. At this stage our focus is on shape, massing, colour and materiality. Through further consultation we will identify the client's personal style and clarify the architectural necessities with respect to how they live.
Steps may include:
3 - Design Development
The design is further developed using the latest CAD, building information modeling (BIM), and/or 3D visualization software. The initial floor plans and exterior elevations are refined based on feedback from the client, as well as our recommendations based on experience and applicable product research. We will work closely with the client to create a final design solution that meets all expectations and code requirements, and demonstrates the programmatic use and vision of the project. The Design Development phase is iterative and will only end when we have a set of plans, exterior elevations, and imagery that meets with the client's approval.
4 - Contract Documents
It is during this phase when the final approved design documents are expanded to include details necessary for pricing, coordination, construction, and building permit application. This requires attention to detail and multiple levels of coordination with consultants and other designers, as well as with building and planning department staff.
Optional services we can provide depending on the scope of work or if requested by the client:
5 - Construction Administration
If within our scope of work, we are available to coordinate with clients, contractors, and authorities having jurisdiction to resolve any issues that arise during construction, and in general, to ensure the project proceeds smoothly and in accordance with the plans and all applicable codes and by-laws.
Additionally, we can offer the following services during this phase, either directly or through retained consultants:
Primary Consultant - Andrew Smith Building Design Inc.
Our fees are determined by estimating the amount of work required to design your project and establishing a fixed-fee for each phase. We believe that a fixed-fee service structure allows for more accurate and predictable project budgeting, eliminating escalating costs based on hourly rates or percentage-based fees.
*Please note that our fees are custom and specific to each individual project.
External Consultants - Surveyors, Engineers, Other Designers, etc.
Where applicable, we may require the services of external consultants critical to the completion of each phase. Consultant work is solely dependent on the architectural drawings, and the scope of work will be determined during the design process. Fees for consultants will be determined at the completion of the Design Development phase.
Want to learn more? Contact us about your next project.