Project Management Training Manual Design Phase

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Design Definitions

Master Planning:

The purpose of the master plan is to provide blueprint for long term growth strategy and the basis for future project approval. A master plan should clearly identify the immediate needs and future growth areas of the facility. The master plan should address the present and future parking needs.

Space Programming:

The space program is the owner's compilation of the size and quantity of spaces needed for a proposed project. The space program should address the functions of the facility and their relationships to each other (often times bubble and stacking diagrams are developed).


There are different levels of detail during the design process and are typically as follows. This portion consists of approximately 75% of the Architect's contract:

Schematic Design:

This constitutes approximately 15% of the Architect's contract. Once the Space Program has been approved, the Architect develops the spaces into an approved floor plan. At the end of Schematic Design it would be expected to have Owner approval of the floor plan; hence, "fixing" the footprint of the building. Building elevations should be provided at this stage. The Architect will engage engineers to propose alternative mechanical, electrical, roofing, etc. systems for the Owner's direction.

Design Development:

This is an additional 40% of the Architect's contract. After the Schematic Design has been approved, the Architect engages the engineers to develop the design, identifying interior elevations, electrical, plumbing, mechanical layouts. At the conclusion of Design Development the Owner's feedback is substantially complete so that the Architect/Engineers can finalize the details for issuing the construction documents.

Construction Documents:

This stage is 20% more of the Architect's contract. Pending Owner approval of the Design Development documents the Architect/Engineers finalize the design and details for construction. At the conclusion of this phase the documents will be provided by the Owner and issued to the Contractors for bidding (unless otherwise negotiated).


During construction the Architect/Engineers will provide Construction Administration services, this is the remaining 25% (which includes the bidding process) of the Architects contract. At this stage the A/E team will provide interpretation of the Construction Documents as the Contractor raises questions. The A/E Team will be responsible to give direction to the Contractor regarding the documents and potential changes.

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