Our Project Process
D+H Architects Inc. is a single discipline architectural firm that acts as the Prime Consultant from the start to finish of a project and is the key point of contact for a client throughout. We retain traditional engineering consultants (structural, mechanical, electrical) support as needed along the course of a building project. Additionally, we assist clients in retaining other engineering services (geotechnical, civil, landscape, acoustic, traffic, etc) as the need arises. We follow the standard phases prescribed by our association and is common to most architectural firms.
Our Project Process includes related Tasks, Deliverables and Timelines associated with each Phase.
Critical to a successful building process are three key aspects:
Owner Involvement, Communication and Quality Control.
[Schematic Design] At the beginning of a project the Lead Architect meets with the Client Representatives to confirm the needs and establish a Design Brief or Functional Building Program that summarizes all the requirements of the project in a clear and concise manner and provides a document to refer to throughout the project. If required, we often recommend that sub-committees be created and attend an “ideas session” so we can hear the needs expressed directly from the core facility users. Once the Design Brief is approved, we proceed with several Schematic Design meetings with the Client. This involves specific discussions surrounding the needs, translation of the needs into a functional plan, and further discussion of how the design will meet the needs, goals and objective of the client. Several design iterations may be required to reach a concept that meets all of the needs. Our office uses REVIT software which is a 3D modelling tool that allows us to develop the design in three dimensions and then review the design with the Client and representatives - also in three dimensions. This communication method enables a clear portrayal of the design at each step and minimizes surprises once the building is finally complete. In terms of deliverables, a series of drawings including site plan, floor plans, elevations and 3D model images are provided to clearly communicate the design. These submittals will form the basis of approval. Should a presentation be required at any point, we would prepare a presentation and deliver it at a time suitable to all and would include a Question & Answer Session.
[Design Development] Once the design has been approved, D+H Architects will begin to work with the sub-consultants required at an initial meeting with the Client to discuss structural, mechanical, and electrical system options. The sub-consultants will also present ideas suitable to the Client’s needs and complimentary to the systems of the building design. The intent is to enable the Client to clearly describe how they wish to operate the facility after the project is complete. There will be opportunities for the Client to review literature on various structural, plumbing, HVAC, electrical and lighting products and make comments on their preferences.
[Construction Documents] Once the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems have been chosen, D+H Architects will begin to develop the drawings and specifications for permit, tender and construction. There will be several milestones where the Lead Architect will review the documents for quality control. At these same milestones we will provide a copy of the documents for Client review. Adjustments to the documents can be made to minimize the impact on the overall project. At key points, our office meets with the Client to review the state of the drawings and specifications to ensure all parties involved remain current.
[Time Allowed for Client Approval] It has been our experience that clients have their own unique internal process for review and approval of architectural work. Typically, our office issues drawings, budgets, and other submittals 2-3 days prior to meetings for individual Client review. This enables time for adequate review and consideration of the proposed work and preparation of questions which results in efficient and effective meetings. Where items are submitted for approval, our office would recommend a one-week timeframe to respond, considering the scheduled proposed. We will regularly communicate with the Client regarding approval time and adjust expectations as required.
To facilitate efficient decision-making based on an effective process and well-informed client our office employs current technology to communicate our ideas and inform our clients. The following programs are employed by our office:
Building Design Visualization: Autodesk REVIT (3D modelling and drawing), SketchUp
Presentation: Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word
File Sharing: Microsoft SharePoint ftp for client access, email
Regular Owner Contact: Email, Office LAN Line for all staff, Cell phone direct to key staff, Text Messaging with key staff
In person meetings & presentations in our boardroom or at the clients location
Virtual Meetings: Microsoft Teams, Zoom
Other Meetings: Conference Call, One-to-One calling
Records/Documentation: Microsoft Word to PDF (drawings and documents).
To ensure that consistency and quality is maintained throughout the course of the project, the Lead Architect and Project Architect will review all work prior to being submitted. Lead Architect will be the primary contact to oversee control of design, quality, reviews, schedule, cost, contract administration, monitoring and reporting whether it be their office or that of the Consultants. The following systems/tools are employed to ensure a high level of quality in the delivery of our projects:
Design Brief (Functional Building Program): written document to clearly summarize the intent of the design and specific requirements to be used as reference throughout project. The Client is encouraged to share the vision for the project and establish Goals and Objectives.
Work Breakdown Structure: an internal quality assurance document used by our office to ensure steps are consistently taken when it comes to delivering and reviewing a project.
Client Colour Selection Package (Room finishes checklist, floor plans, etc): a clearly defined document for client group to assist in making selections for various materials and products throughout their building at the construction documents phase of project.
Peer Review: an exercise used by our office in which a non-lead architect reviews the drawings of a project led by another lead for a “fresh-eyes” review.
REVIT: 3D modelling software used to develop the building in three dimensions and then create two dimensions drawings for various purposes.
ArchiOffice: office management and invoicing software which enables live tracking of time committed to a project as well as a live account reporting capability to satisfy client requests for account information by lead architect or accounting department.
Common Communication Tools: email, texting, phone call, drawings, image files, video files, SharePoint online project file sharing.
Quality Assurance Checklist for Working Drawings: an internal tool used by our technical staff that ensure all aspects of the drawings have been included on all sheets.
Quality Assurance Check for REVIT model: a parallel system that works with the Work Breakdown structure to ensure a high quality REVIT model results from a project.
The prime objective of D+H Architects Inc. is to serve the Client’s needs. Sustainability is one of the areas we can do this. Our practice of detailing technically sound construction often results in higher energy efficient buildings, reducing thermal bridging and air leakage. We believe that designing a quality-built facility and monitoring the construction process helps to ensure sustainability. Several of our projects have implemented many value-added and specifically built sustainable and/or green components which have resulted in lower yearly operational energy costs. In some cases, grants are available to help cover the initial premiums of going “green”. Finally, should LEED become an important target, we are connected with resources that will assist in the certification process.
"I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your expert help in causing us to think strategically about our new building program. Being a elder in your church, with your close walk with God, gave us a sense of direction with a plan that we now can work through. Since we met with you, our church has taken on a new look. We dealt with the excuses that were holding us back and have progressed wonderfully this year, with a renewed vision and desire to see the Lord work. Above all, I thank you for your honesty, we were a long way from making key decisions and you helped us to see just that. Once again, as I think back on 2005, one of the highlights is you taking the time you did to work with us. A ministry changing weekend. Thanks."
Pastor Barry Todd
Main Street Baptist Church