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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:

  • Preliminary site visit to evaluate and identify specific site conditions, constraints, natural features, and context
  • Thorough measuring of any existing buildings and structures on the property
  • Development of detailed 'as-existing' drawings
  • Analysis of zoning, conservation, heritage, or other requirements by authorities having jurisdiction, as they apply to the site
  • If required, preparation of a legal boundary and/or topographic survey by a Land Surveyor
  • Preparation of a zoning report and preliminary site plan identifying all site constraints, such as setbacks, lot coverage, building height, etc.
  • Confirmation of all necessary permissions and permits that will be required for successful completion of the project
  • Retention of any consultants that will be required throughout the project, such as Surveyors, Structural/Mechanical/Electrical/Civil engineers, other designers or consultants, etc.

Optional services depending on scope of work or if requested by the client:

  • Determine construction delivery method (competitive bidding, pre-qualified contractor chosen by client, construction management, etc.)
  • Provide assistance regarding site selection
  • Schedule and/or attend a pre-consultation meeting with Municipal staff

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:

  • Programming and flow diagrams
  • Hand-drawn sketches and/or computer-aided design (CAD) drawings demonstrating preliminary design intent for buildings and site, including the proposed building location     
  • Follow up meetings, or ‘charettes’, with the client as needed to further refine the design and ensure the client’s requirements are met    
  • Initiate Site Plan Approval process with planning department, if applicable

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.

Optional services depending on scope of work or if requested by the client:

  • Obtain Site Plan Approval for project, if applicable
  • Make applications for Heritage approval, Committee of Adjustment, or Minor Variances


  • Accurate and complete design-level Architectural floor plans and elevations of the proposed building, complete with room dimensions, furniture and fixtures, and exterior cladding
  • Exterior and interior 3D renderings and/or physical models to help demonstrate the design intent and proposed features

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.

  • Drawings will be developed to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Ontario Building Code Part 3, 9, or 11, as applicable
  • Construction assemblies and materials will be determined
  • Notes and details will be developed as required
  • Drawings will be refined based on the requirements of building and planning departments and other authorities having jurisdiction     
  • Our drawings will be coordinated with those of engineers, designers, and other consultants, as required

Optional services we can provide depending on the scope of work or if requested by the client:

  • Coordination of HVAC design documents
  • Coordination of engineered truss and floor layouts and specifications
  • Coordination of Grading and Site Plans
  • Development of Power and Lighting Plans
  • Detailing of furnishings, fixtures and equipment
  • Completion and submission of the building permit application and any other required approvals on behalf of the client
  • Preparation of project Specifications
  • Management of the Tendering or Competitive Bid Process.


  • Comprehensive BCIN-certified or Architect-sealed drawings suitable for pricing, coordination, construction, and permit application. These drawings will include, but are not limited to: plans, elevations, sections, details, notes, and specifications, as required.
  • Sealed and/or approved engineering drawings, shop drawings, other design drawings, equipment specifications, completed forms, etc., as they apply to the project

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:

  • Interior Design
  • Final exterior material and colour selections
  • Development of marketing and promotional material
  • Construction/Project Management
  • General Review of construction/site visits as required
  • Requests for Information/Change
  • Change Orders/Estimates
  • Site Instructions
  • Compliance Certificates
  • Payment certification
  • Certification for Substantial Completion


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.

Get in Touch

Want to learn more? Contact us about your next project.

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