Process of Home Design

Process of Home Design

Process of Home Design is about explaining to anyone out there the actual steps they and their Architect will take to result in the design and construction of their dream house.

(C)Copyright 2018, Home Architect PLLC, All Rights Reserved Worldwide. One of the firm’s actual projects under construction.

Many new clients or potential clients contact HOME ARCHITECTS ® and ask them:
“So what’s the process?  What happens next, then after that and after that?  How do we get to where we want to be?”
And that’s an excellent question.  We’re going to answer that for you right now.


First, there’s a nice short e-book that answers this for you, all in one free download:
HOME ARCHITECTS ® wrote that online e-book just for you and people like you, who want to know what the process is for the design and construction of their new house.  Keep in mind: this is more like an outline and only briefly touches on the various steps helping you to get to where you wanted.  But it does provide  you with an excellent overview of where you’re going.


But for those who would rather just read this one post about the process of home design, here  you go:

Those are the main stages of the process of home design nearly every project, however there can also be POST CONSTRUCTION, WARRANTY PERIOD, and POST WARRANTY services, depending on what you want.

These steps are logical.  They result in the least required re-working or changes because they logically build on the steps before them.
This process is taught to most Architects in college and/or during their internship at architectural firms.  This process is not re-invented by this company.  It has proven to be a reliable method for most projects from start or finish.

What sorts of things happen in each of these steps?  That’s another good question.  Let’s look at those:

This is where you pay the Architect a flat fee to go to your land and conduct some preliminary analyses.  Architect may use GoogleEarth as a backdrop, then indicate approximate locations for the main house, porches, garage, driveway.  It is NOT intended as an actual design, but rather, a Land Use Plan, indicating where main features might be located, subject to review with Authorities Having Jurisdiction later in the process.

The Architect conducts an in-person or online video conference (such as using Zoom), and reviews what you want and what works on  your site.  The Architect may go through what your preferences are in each space of the house.  This often takes 3 hours or more, so all the stakeholders need to be focused and have set aside this time to properly discuss their needs and wants.  This particular architectural company puts the Program in the form of an email and this is sent back and forth several times until the Architect and Clients agree it covers their desired wishes.  This is then used as a guideline for the next step.


Using the agreed-to Program, this Architect designs the floor plans and site plan.  While some firms do this in a sketch form, this particular Architect has learned to do this in CAD, so that everything is precise and fits on the land, and also so that square footages can be calculated, as well as specific dimensions.
No elevations or other drawings are created at this time.
Because this Architect feels all that additional effort (for which the Client pays) is unwarranted until the Client agrees and approves the plans.


Using the approved SD (Schematic Design), the Architect then creates the exterior building elevations, starting first with the main, or front elevation, which determines much of the style for the house.  After that has been agreed to by the Client, then the remainder of the elevations are created by the Architect.

Additional detail and calculations are performed during DD, such as the number of steps in stairways, possibly appliances and similar aspects.


Using the approved DD (Design Development), the Architect proceeds to create the CDs (Construction Documents), which are the detailed drawings for the architecture that the Builder will use to construct that portion of the project.  Also, the Architect coordinates with other Client consultants, such as the Structural Engineer, incorporating those heights and other aspects into the Architect’s work.  Drawings often included by the Architect in CDs may include:
Title Sheet
Abbreviations, Drawing Index
Possible 3D imagery
Survey (included but comes from Surveyor)
Site Plan(s)
Floor Plans
Roof Plan
Exterior Building Elevations
Building Section(s)
Details (possibly in both plan and section)
Specifications (describing specific characteristics of materials used)
Finish Schedule (listing the materials used on all interior walls, floors and ceilings)
Door information (which may or may not be in the form of a schedule)
Window information (which may or may not be in the form of a schedule)
Structural Foundation Plan(s) (comes from Structural Engineer)
Structural Floor Framing Plans (comes from Structural Engineer)
Structural Roof Framing Plans (comes from Structural Engineer)
Structural notes, details, specifications (comes from Structural Engineer)
Electrical Schematic Plans (lighting, power outlets) (optional)
Electrical Abbreviations and Key (optional)
Interior Cabinetry Detail Plans and Elevations (optional)
Other optional documents


Architect may offer assistance to the Owners by offering to solicit Licensed General Contractors (GC) to price the project.  Architect would also answer GC questions, provide addenda (for any updates the Architect makes to the construction documents), possibly discuss the GC’s pricing and intervene to negotiate a price for the work, and possibly coordinate with the GC in value engineering solutions to result in providing the Owner with the best price.  This is all optional.  And there are no guarantees that any GCs will bid at all.  You can’t force them to do anything. It is a free market economy.   And right now, construction is in high demand.


Architect may do some or all or none of these kinds of activities:
– Appear on-site periodically to review GC’s construction progress and compare it with final Construction Documents, making notes, taking photos and producing a construction report for each visit.
–  Manage GC’s monthly pay requests from GC.
–  Assisting in solving construction problems.
–  Coordinating with GC; answering his/her questions.
–  Shop Drawing and submittal review (this, along with everything in the phase is optional)
–  Manage near final and final site visits and create, review and approve punchlists and final pay request(s)
–  There are other activities possible, all of which are typically optional.

Okay.  Those are the main phases of the Process of Home Design in a nutshell.  Please see the referenced online e-book for more information.