Idea Studios takes a phased approach to the design and construction process. Each step moves the project closer to completion while developing more detail in the design ideas and the resulting documents. Phasing allows the careful management of the increasing complexity of the design and documents and maximum control over design fees and construction costs.

In general a project is composed of two segments: Design and Implementation

Segment A: DESIGN

A three phased process that allows the progressive identification of pertinent issues and the development of solutions for these issues. By the completion of this segment the design is ready to proceed to construction documents. The phases are:

During this phase the Studio seeks to identify and analyze significant design factors for the proposed project. This is called “programming”. This phase is not so much about design solution as problem identification. Pertinent information is gathered and analyzed. This results in a number of planning and schematic design meetings to loosely determine the parameters of the design. The goal is a clear understanding of design issues, parameters and significant elements, as well as values, goals and priorities to direct the design process.

Using the basic information collected and compiled during the planning phase the Studio works closely with the client to define and develop the overall character and intent of the project, This phase is critical as it forms the basis for all subsequent development of the plans. A simple definition of the design is developed in schematic form using hand sketches to quickly capture and verify ideas.

This phase produces the Conceptual Design Set which establishes the direction of the project. This set captures the essential design but is not suitable for final bidding or construction. It is used as a communication tool for consultants, contractors, governing agencies, and rough estimates for both construction costs and further design services.

Design/Document Development takes the plans produced by the Conceptual Design phase and begins the nearly simultaneous development of all aspects of the three-dimensional design into a coordinated whole.

This phase produces the Design Development Set which will serve as the foundation of the Construction Document Set. This set includes the plan, sections, elevations, structural, and other basic systems, materials, landscape and site use, as well as equipment, primary furnishings, materials and finishes. At this time the various building and design consultants and governing agencies become involved to insure the integration of all the systems into the preliminary design.

The Studio prefers to have the contractor and consultants included in the Design Development phase. This facilitates the resolution of construction details and methods before going into the more costly Construction Documents Phase, as well as providing more accurate estimated costs for the construction. It is costlier to make significant changes to the design once the project has moved into the construction Documents phase.


At this point the complexity and coordination requirements increase dramatically. Ideally at this point the critical issues have been resolved and major changes to the design are not expected. The construction documents are finalized, permitted and executed in construction.

Construction Documents are comprised of working drawings, specifications and performance criteria generated to communicate to construction personnel and government building officials the way a project is to be built. The number of drawings and level of detail required vary with the nature of the project and scope of the work.

An integral part of the Construction Documents phase is the submittal of all documents to county or city agencies, and handling all queries and governing agency requirements for the completion of the plan check. The Architect’s extensive experience and personal relationship with the many building agency officials can greatly expedite the permitting process.

Construction Administration helps keep jobs on track and on schedule. Regular site visits by Studio staff are scheduled at the job site during construction, providing a continuity of concept from start to finish. This service is provided when we are working with a general contractor who is responsible for the construction segment. We provide administrative services to review and assist the contractor in his responsibilities of scheduling, coordination and management of the construction.

We also provide construction management services. With staff contractors, subcontractors and artisans we coordinate, schedule and over see the work of all field constructors, contractors, artisans or workers.