By Jeff Eriks, Cambridge Companies
September 1, 2017
This article helps you understand the scoping and feasibility phase to develop a successful project.
So you chose who you want to work with on your next project. Congratulations! The process is similar when you chose a design-build firm or when you hire an architect. The important part is that you have an idea, and now that idea needs to get translated to reality by your design team.
The Initial Phase
This initial phase has several different names in the marketplace. The terms include scoping, feasibility, pre-design, conceptual design, etc. The initial phase is the most important in your project’s development. The better things get defined in this phase, help to keep:
- The budget more accurate
- The timeline better defined
- The end solution will be better
The first thing to know is the contact information for each project team member and their role and level of authority. The list includes the owner, team members, the design team, the construction team, and other contacts. The importance of identifying each level of authority is not an understatement. This helps the design team know who to contact for decisions, feedback, and clarifications within the project.
Typically, the owner has developed a need. This “need” varies and will likely continue to morph as you work through the design phase. The more questions that get asked, the more you learn about the project and the more the need develops. It is usually based on internal factors that are negatively affecting operations. You could be strapped for space, growing, needing a different facility layout due to processes having changed, or upgrading equipment, to name a few factors.
The designer’s responsibility is to ask hundreds of questions to learn and understand the need before they begin drawing anything. It would be irresponsible of a designer to begin drawing based on just the owner’s ideas and thoughts of the project alone. The designer should be responsible for learning and understanding the need and then developing options that address the need for you to consider.