When you work with an architect, they will envision your project in phases, starting with big-picture planning and ending with minute detail coordination. Understanding these phases will help you interact with your architect more productively.
There is a lot of confusion out there about what you actually get when you hire an architect. Unlike other service professions, such as doctors, lawyers, or therapists, a lot goes on behind the scenes that the client may never actually see. - And it’s not just design work. Architects will help coordinate the submissions to your local governments, help you choose a contractor, and help you pace your payments to the contractor in a way that is fair, but keeps him on the job until the last nail is in place.
“An Architect's primary job is to provide a consistent vision and clear direction for the project throughout all stages of planning and construction. ”
Architects work in "phases" starting with big picture ideas and eventually working their way into the tiny details of your bathroom floor tiling and exterior scupper attachments. At the end of each phase, the architect will ask you, the owner, if you are ready to commit to the general direction of the design.
Check out the chart above which describes what happens in each phase of design.