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Understanding the Design Process

Design services fall under the responsibility of the Office of Program Development. This office is staffed with in-house architects and engineers who facilitate the design of construction projects exceeding $2 million and clarify design concepts in anticipation of larger capital projects.

This team is responsible for selecting and securing the external architecture/engineering (A/E) firm who will have the overall responsibility for designing the construction project. Stakeholders participate in the A/E interview process and contract award. In-house architects and engineers ensure that the selected external A/E firm adheres to the University Design Standards and are responsible for managing the design phase of the capital projects.

There are three distinct steps involved in the design process:

Programming
A project may originate in a number of ways; however, a clear and well-defined program is essential to every project. During the programming phase of a project, the following questions must be answered:

Who will occupy the new space?
What are the functional requirements of the new space?
What is the preliminary budget for the project?

Schematic Design
Schematic design represents the period in which all questions about the project are identified and general concepts are refined to represent all aspects of the ultimate design.

Schematic design is not detailed. It merely identifies details that require further study. It often represents the first understandable look at a building and allows users to begin to see its ultimate form and character. It is also the basis for detailed work in later phases.

Schematic design includes scaled floor plans, building sections, elevations and site plans. It also includes outline specifications indicating the types of materials that will be used to construct the building, as well as the basic mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire suppression systems to be selected. The project budget and scope are clarified.

Design Development
Upon approval of the schematic design, detailed design drawings are prepared. These include site plans, floor plans, elevations and sections showing elements and preliminary specifications, all the final space layouts, architectural elements, structural systems, mechanical systems, electrical and lighting systems, plumbing and fire suppression systems, IT and AV design. Documentation also includes preliminary specifications, a detailed 3-D rendering and an optional building model as needed.

Drawings are reviewed by university representatives and stakeholders for conformance to building codes, design standards and ensuring that project goals are being met.

As a final step, the project budget and scope are refined.