From idea to completion, the creation of an architectural project is a very time-consuming process that must take into account numerous external influences, rules, and pressures, as well as the many contributing internal parts of the design team.

As a result, (the majority of) projects require a standard set of drawings and paperwork in order to be acquired effectively and executed efficiently and without error. These components are divided into what is often known as the architectural design process. But,

Why Do We Need a Set Of Phases, And Are They Even Important?

The architecture design process (usually divided into seven phases) permits the development and analysis of a project in predetermined stages. This helps to bring structure and organization to the project’s schedule, defines review times, produces an organized release of design information, and establishes natural invoicing phases.

Managing the design and construction of any structure is a significant responsibility, which is the major reason for the profession’s stringent regulations. Once construction begins on a project, there is very little space for adjustment, and there is almost none once the project is finished. Consequently, having a series of architectural design phases helps structure its administration and express its design goal in a logical manner.

Following a series of design phases enable the manufacturing information to be clear and efficient, hence minimizing risk as much as feasible. In this post, we detail each of these phases, beginning with information collecting and ending with construction. The design process for architecture students is comparable to that of architects, and we outline the important stages you should take to complete your project in an orderly manner.

The 7 Phase Of The Architecture Design Process

Numerous teams of specialists, including architects, constructors, and engineers, contribute to the creation of a structure; the design process facilitates their collaboration. The subsequent design phases establish clear expectations by establishing attainable project deliverables and timeframes.

Pre-design Phase

The pre-design phase, often known as the programming phase, is devoted to comprehending the project brief and customer requirements, conducting the necessary research, and generating ideas.

Define The Problem

First, it is essential to establish the project’s needs, as the customer may have restrictions such as a restricted budget or a limited amount of time to produce the intended result. We must now construct an initial design brief to define the project, analyze its features, and establish its goals.

Research And Collect Information

Now that these have been determined, it is vital to collect information to assist the project’s development. Moreover, the data you collect may guide subsequent design decisions.

Here are some essential study topics for a particular project:

  • Project scope
  • Client’s wants
  • Use of Scale Buildings
  • Surrounding structures
  • Regional Site Conditions
  • Building regulations
  • Zoning laws

The site’s limits and benefits will be revealed through a thorough investigation. Therefore, the architect must examine how to adapt to these conditions.

Analyze/generate Ideas

After gathering project-related information, the following phase is to produce and evaluate potential solutions. Using your architectural skills, draw and model potential designs that satisfy site conditions and customer requirements. Additionally, you may evaluate the many components you wish to include in your project. After generating early drawings for the project, it is time to evaluate whether the components are successful. For instance, the shadow conditions of one concept may be optimal, yet the layout of another concept may be optimal.

Schematic Design Phase

After the first assessment of project ideas, the following step is to create designs and offer them to the customer.

Develop Design Proposals

Architects create site plans, floor layouts, and building elevations to depict their projects throughout the schematic design process. Also included are structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.

Present Your Ideas To Others For Feedback

Architects hold many sessions with the customer in which they exhibit drawings and models of various design options and debate which concepts the client favors.

On occasion, the architect and the client argue about the design or a particular component of the structure. When presenting ideas, it is crucial to consider the client’s preferences and to be convincing.


Following a client meeting, an architect examines their remarks. Changes can be made to the project at a later date, although it is simpler to do so at an earlier design stage.

Ultimately, the architect and client will meet until they agree on the following phase’s design direction.

Design Development Phase

During the subsequent phase, the architect prepares a more thorough blueprint of the agreed-upon design with the customer. This involves the positioning of doors and windows and the modification of the building’s shape.

At what point does a structural engineer join the design team when they may assist with estimating project costs and determining how alternative designs can be constructed?


The architect will offer the client inside and external finishes. In addition, materials, fixtures, and finishes will be explored. In instances of dispute, you may need to negotiate with the customer on these specifics.


At the conclusion of the design development process, the exterior, plan, and measurements of the building are finalized. In addition, the majority of the materials will have already been selected. Minor adjustments are made to the architecture of the structure.

Construction Documents Phase

In the subsequent phase, the architect shifts from providing design services to creating construction drawings for the project’s development. Typically, this is the most time-consuming phase of the design process, as architects must guarantee their design is well-planned for implementation, as well as wait for approval of the paperwork.

In addition, an internal construction contractor may join the development team at this point. The two needed sets of drawings at this time are the permit set and the construction set. The building permit package is submitted for approval to the local permitting authority. It is vital to complete and submit this initially, as the procedure might take some time.

The Issue for construction package provides all of the specifications and measurements necessary to convey the design to the builder throughout the duration of the building process.

Building Permit Phase

The city or county examines the building permit set for structural integrity and compliance with local zoning regulations and building standards once the architect has submitted it.

This is important to protect architects, builders, and property owners from potentially hazardous building errors. In addition, the building of the project cannot commence without the proper licenses. Approval for modest projects might take a few days. However, permission for major projects or structures in historic areas might take months.

Bidding And Negotiation Phase

This stage applies solely to architecture companies that are not constructing the project themselves. During the bid process, architects must choose a construction business to create their designs. Finding a builder is easier if your project already has the necessary permits and is ready to begin building.

In addition, it is the architect’s responsibility to assist the customer in selecting a contractor with the greatest credentials and price. The first approach is a negotiated bid. The builders analyze building documentation, supplies, and timelines during meetings. In certain instances, the customer has a specific builder in mind.

In the competitive bid procedure, the architect investigates the prior work of local contractors. The architect then invites contractors to submit bids for the project.

After receiving the building documents, contractors typically have around three weeks to submit a quote. Cost is the primary consideration when selecting a contractor, but quality and expertise are equally vital. Additionally, the construction company forms a contract with the client rather than the architect. Therefore, clients will want to make sure that an excellent builder is hired for the job.

Construction Administration Phase

It is vital to minimize delays that the architect routinely visits the construction site during the final design phase to answer any inquiries from the builders and handle any potential problems.

Depending on the scope of the project, the architect may make weekly or monthly site visits. Moreover, the construction team is now in charge of the project’s development. This phase might take many years, depending on the project, until the building is constructed.

The Architecture Design Process For Students

Although architecture students seldom create concepts that are constructed, they must follow a similar design approach. This is useful for developing your design and arranging your timetable.

Define The Problem

Similar to actual architects, students must determine the problem at hand. Typically, this information, as well as the site’s location and required deliverables, is included on the assignment sheet. A professor may need a physical scale model (1/8 in = 1 foot), a slide show presentation, and a predetermined amount of printed drawings.

Collect Information

Once you have determined what the project is, you must do a site study and research to collect facts that will guide your designs. Obviously, this only applies if your project has a designated location. If the place is nearby, you can document the following details, for instance:

  • Sun’s direction
  • climatic conditions
  • Placement of trees
  • Dimensions
  • Surrounding structures
  • Circulation of individuals on and around the place

Brainstorm And Analyze Ideas

After gathering site information, you may consider how to approach the prompt and specific design aspects you wish to include in your project.

For example, what architectural style will your building have? A shaded outdoor space is an illustration of a design feature.

Develop Solutions

Once you have determined which components to include in your design, you can begin brainstorming concepts. The Kent School of Architecture and Planning advises students to draw their concepts.

At this stage, rapid physical sketches are more useful than computer software since they are superior for conveying your numerous thoughts and capturing notions on the spot. Using tools like Rhino, AutoCad, or SketchUp, you may analyze your ideas and then virtually model one. Creating plans and sections will assist you in communicating your thoughts to others for the subsequent phase.


After getting comments, consider modifying your design if you believe it may be improved. You will likely go through several iterations of receiving comments and making modifications, but the experience will ultimately make you a better designer. In addition, completing your project requires the creation of additional drawings that effectively convey your concept. For instance, an axonometric exploding drawing.


To produce effective solutions and preserve the structural integrity of a project, it is required to follow a specific sequence of stages. Architects must also consult with clients about design, building characteristics, and builder selection. Similarly, architecture students describe the problem, generate concepts, show them to others, and make adjustments using a similar procedure.

Meta Title: The Architecture Design Process

Meta Description: In this article, we describe each phase of the architectural design process, from information collected through construction.