RELATIONSHIP. God has blessed us to count many of our clients among those who have returned to us after a pleasant past experience. Our goal is to have you count us as a valued business partner in your land development projects.
NEED. It is critical during this stage to exchange ideas and goals in order to determine a static scope to be worked within as the project progresses. Arrangements can be made to accommodate unforeseen changes to this scope. However, additional service agreements do not share the good reputation of their predecessor agreements throughout the industry for several good reasons. They are generally the result of questions not being asked earlier in the project. They disrupt the progress on the rest of the scope while negotiations last. They leave the impression that the owner, consultant or both are trying to get something for nothing. (Sample Checklist)
AGREEMENT. A fee proposal and coinciding scope, previously determined, are outlined in a professional services agreement. General durations of primary project phases are agreed to in this stage many times. These contracts are based on engineering (EJCDC), architectural (AIA) or letter agreement formats depending on the composition of the project team and the complexity of the project. A standard TERMS AND CONDITIONS letter will also be attached to any fee proposal.
CONCEPTUAL. During this stage we work with the owner and other designers to develop “single-line” renderings of available options for the project. Many times there are several options to choose from concerning building placement, site arrangement and finished floor elevation selection. This is, many times, the first opportunity for the owner’s vision to be seen in a drawing format.
FEASIBILITY. This is the step where the entire team finds out if the project is really viable. Initial schedules for construction, estimates of probable cost and financing mechanisms are checked against the conceptual renderings to determine if all still fall within the owner’s parameters.
INVESTIGATION. This is possibly the stage of the project during which we provide the largest and most unexpected value to the owner and design team. Through hundreds of jobs and in hundreds of different municipalities across the nation, we have honed our process for performing site investigation and due diligence studies for any type of land development project. During this time, we visit the site to assess possible obstacles such as excessive grading, stream relocation, insufficient infrastructure, poor visibility and the like. We also set up meetings with city, utility, state and other permitting authorities to determine the jurisdictional requirements we need to meet and timelines for their approvals. Many times the owner requests us to make a formal presentation of these findings to the team by way of a printed SITE INVESTIGATION REPORT.
SCHEMATICS. Armed with conceptual drawings and a thorough knowledge of the development requirements for the project we proceed into this initial phase of design drawings. Through coordination meetings with the owner and design team we develop a more tangible product of the site layout, grading, drainage and utility extents. The schematic drawings have become the time, particularly on larger jobs, to determine a maximum construction cost that the owner, design team and contractor are all committed to delivering. The drawings are typically 35% complete at the end of this stage. (Sample Checklist)
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT. During this phase, specific design directions emerge and are utilized for progress towards the final drawings. These include locations and types of pavements, slopes, drainage pipes and structures, utility lines and appurtenances and erosion control concepts. Many times the progress drawings at the completion of this phase are given to contractors for a check on pricing and to permit authorities for a check on code compliance issues. The drawings are coordinated with the designs of other disciplines for compatibility. The drawings are typically 70% complete at the end of this stage.
CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS. The drawings are coordinated with other disciplines to make sure they are compatible. Final design elements are added to the plans such as spot elevations, layout information, accessibility details, final slopes and sizes on gravity pipes, drainage studies and technical specifications are completed and ready to turn in to permitting authorities with the construction drawings. These are the drawings used for permitting and final pricing. The drawings are 100% complete at the end of this stage and ready to be signed and sealed by the engineer of record.
PRICING. The final construction drawings are used by the contractor to verify the project is still within the budget and constructible as drawn and in the duration of construction shown on the construction schedule. Value engineering options, if any, are identified during this phase and returned to the designers for implementation.
PERMITTING. Drawings, calculations and specifications are submitted to authorities having jurisdiction for review as to their compliance with governing codes, rules and laws. The design team usually agrees to a process for these submittals. Sometimes the designers make all appropriate submittals for their discipline. Other times the contractor is responsible for submitting all permit drawings. Comments from these reviewing authorities are returned to the designers for inclusion into the construction drawings before final issue.
CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION. Generally, the longest of the stages, the design team sees their drawings come to life in this step. Site visits are scheduled as needed to discuss any questions regarding the plans or possible options due to unforeseen conditions at the site. During this phase, supplemental drawings are issued as needed to reflect minor adjustments made to the plans to enhance constructability. This phase culminates in a final punch list being generated by the project team for work in their area identified as needing attention or completion before the contractor demobilizes.
CLOSE-OUT. Final deliverables such as general compliance letters, as-built drawings and pond certification letters are submitted for final use and occupancy permits and the owner’s records.