Copyright 2016 by dougsimonARCHITECTURE
All rights reserved
"Enjoy life....Build more often!"
DSA offers a broad range of architectural services that can take  
you from the "just talking" phase of your project all the way to  
your Moving-in Party.  

The services listed below describe the most common phases of  
a typical construction project. Not surprisingly, they correspond  
directly to phases of work defined in a typical Architect/Client  
agreement. The phases define the architects responsibilities  
while guiding the project from beginning to completion.

While it might not be the most glamorous part of the design  
process, Pre-Design is crucial to the successful launching of  
any new project.
During Pre-Design, the client is interviewed at length to  
determine goals, identify design issues and establish a budget.  
These factors are then studied in relation to the specific site  
conditions, legal constraints and building codes in order to  
establish a project's feasibility.
As site conditions play an important role, the site is carefully  
documented. Any existing structures are photographed,  
measured and digitally drawn to produce a set of "As-Built"  
drawings. These drawings will be referred to, elaborated and  
modified throughout the entire project.

Exciting and fast-paced, Schematic Design is when the first  
rough layouts for the project are produced. Information and  
ideas gathered during the Pre-Design Phase are used to shape  
design sketches which:
1) Determin an architectural character appropriate for the  
2) Establish general size and arrangement of spaces;
3) Establish the general massing of the building or addition;
4) Address parking and other site-related elements;
5) Determine a conceptual structural layout.
The final Schematic Design drawings will include plans and  
exterior views that show which portions of existing structures or  
site elements are to be removed, and which elements are to be  
added. Exterior "before & after" views (elevations) are also  
drawn as required.
"Reality Check #1"
Before completing Schematic Design and moving on to the next  
phase of work, rough cost estimates are made based on a  
price/square foot multiplier. Independent builders may also be  
asked to comment on the constructability and estimated cost of  

The Design Development phase is where the final plans from  
Schematic Design are rigorously developed and refined. This  
includes the drawing of interior views ("elevations"), building  
sections and details as well as the selection of materials and  
products such as windows, flooring, mechanical and electrical  
equipment and plumbing fixtures.  
"Reality Check #2":  
During Design Development independent builders will be asked  
to perform preliminary estimates on the project. This will help  
the owner decide if any cost cutting measures should be taken  
before proceeding to the next critical phase of work:  
Construction Documents.

Construction Documents are the actual building instructions for  
the project. Based on the approved Design Development  
drawings construction documents can be produced with varying  
objectives. These different objectives require that they include  
different degrees of detail and information.
The main types of Construction Documents, from the least to  
the most detailed, are:
The Permit Set:
Intended for submittal to the Building Department, these  
drawings require enough information about the project for City  
personnel to check for conformance to building codes, zoning  
regulations and other laws.  
The Bid Set:
Given to building contractors so they can bid the project. More  
information is generally required than for the Permit Set. More  
information results in a more accurate bid. Occasionally the Bid  
Set is developed while the Permit Set is being reviewed by the  
The Contract Set:
Once a contractor has been selected, additional information and  
some adjustments to the Bid Set generally need to be made.  
The Contract Set becomes part of the legal agreement between  
the owner and the builder.
Permits from various governing agencies must be received  
before construction can begin. For projects within city limits, the  
local Building Department (aka "Development Services") is  
usually the main entity overseeing the permitting process.  
Some smaller cities or areas outside city limits have private  
companies do the review on their behalf. County, state or  
federal agencies may also be involved either directly or via local  
the government.
The architect is generally responsible for assembling and  
submitting to the City and other appropriate agencies all the  
drawings, specifications and other information required by them  
to conduct their review. Once the review is complete the  
architect responds to the rewiewers' questions and comments,  
makes any required changes, and works to resolve any disputed  
Of course there are permitting fees to be paid, usually at the time  
of first submittal of plans. Fees are generally estimated based on  
the size of the project. If there is a balance or refund due at the  
time of project approval it is usually paid/refunded when permits  
are issued.

Contractors are usually the most interested in bidding a project  
when the Permit Set is ready to be submitted to the City or has  
already received permits. However it's best to get as much  
information as possible onto the drawings before releasing them  
for bidding. (See Construction Documents) Therefore, additional  
information that surpasses the requirements of the Building  
Department is usually included when putting together the Bid Set.  
This includes items that can greatly affect the price of the project  
such as materials, finishes, products and equipment.
When the Bid Set is ready the architect assists the owner in  
qualifying contractors, organizing and administering the bidding  
process. This includes establishing the rules and requirements  
for bidding, responding to contractor's questions and for  
maintaining fairness by getting equal information to all the bidders  
at the same time.  
Once the bids have been made the architect usually helps in  
evaluating them so that the owner can decide which contractor is  
best for the job.

Construction Administration helps keep the project on track and  
constructed in accordance with the architect's drawings.
This is usually done through periodic site visits by the architect.  
Construction Administration visits give the contractor, as well as  
the architect, an opportunity to discuss any issues that have  
arisen. When required, additional research or design drawings  
may be furnished by the architect, who also provides  
photographs and written field reports of the site visits to the  
Review of shop drawings, writing and administration of punch  
lists, coordination of consultants and rewiew of product literature  
are also some of the duties performed by the architect during  
Construction Administration.

Del Mar Modern: An addition and complete makeover by DSA of a 1960's Del Mar Heights home. Click here for more photos.