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The Architect's Process For Success in Construction

Architect's Process For Success in Construction,

Architects, and designers alike main goal is to create the overall appearance and function of a home or said structure. Meeting the high demands of local and provincial authorities, whilst exceeding the function and aesthetic goals of our clients. Starting in the research of local bylaws, site geographic limitations, radon radiation, soil analysis, thermal efficiency, solar paths, sound pollution, environmental impact, community plan guideline and so on. These demands must be and have been met through the well defined methodology in precise strategic planning of the design process.

Before we can further discuss the methodology of planning for success in construction, it is mandatory to understand who can be involved to assist in effectively creating the most efficient final outcomes. Theses key members being geotechnical engineers, land surveyors, structural / civil engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, local building authorities and general contractors. With knowledge of the roles of these key members within the design and construction, architects and designers are able to build more efficiently and effectively in relations to the scope. Thus resulting in high quality, more affordable and sustainable structures and aesthetic outcomes.

Recapping, the architect and designer's main goal is to effectively develop the scope and manage all factors in relations to the said project. Starting from the early stages of design, specification drawings to the management of construction. In the following we will be discussing the most common purposes and the roles of key members in construction.


Geotechnical Engineers & Land Surveyors

Geotechnical Engineers & Land Surveyors, although categorized in the section of civil engineering, for this discussion they will be talked about separately, due to their specific roles, common involvement in city planning and the foundation design of a structure.

The roles of a Geotechnical Engineer & Land Surveyors:

Project Planning - Design Material Analysis, Economics, Planning Investigations, Urban Planning, Environmental Factors.

Mapping - Topographic Survey, Surveying, Soil mapping, Site Selections,

Exploration - Engineering Aspects, Conducting Field Exploration Planning, Observation, Etc. Selecting Samples For Testing Describing and Explaining Site Conditions,

Engineering Geophysics - Engineering Application,

Classification and Physical Properties - Soil Testing, Earth Materials, Soil Classification, Soil Description,

Earthquakes - Response of Soil and Rock Materials to Seismic Activity Seismic Design of Structures, Seismicity, Seismic Considerations, Earthquake possibility,

Rock Mechanics - Rock Testing, Stability Analysis, Stress Distribution, Regional and Local Studies,

Slope Stability - Engineering Aspects Of Slope Stability Analysis and Testing, Grading in Mountainous Terrain,

Surface Waters - Design of Drainage Systems, Coastal and River Engineering, Hydrology,

Groundwater - Mathematical Treatment of Well Systems, Development Concepts,

Drainage - Regulation of Supply, Economic Factors, Lab Permeability.

Architects and designers use these engineers, for planning, due to there expertise in precision measurements, soil testing and evaluation of the site before construction. This is in order to develop a plan of the most suitable location of which the building will be located. Evaluating the longevity of the environmental, legal and economic impact. Most specifically insuring that the foundation of the structure is in no legal violations and is safe to support the live/dead loads of the duration in the expected lifespan.

Structural Engineers

In construction a structural engineer is mandated when the said structure or any structure member is no longer able to fit within the section 9 of the BC building code (2018). This is a common practice and mandatory when dealing with custom homes with large spans/tall ceiling, structures larger than 600 square meters and taller than 3 stories.

Roles of a Structural Engineer:

Documentation - prepare structural reports, designs and drawings on complex structures.

Calculations - make calculations about pressures, loads and stresses for when buildings fall inside and out of section 9 BC Building Code.

Evaluate - consider the strength of construction materials and select appropriately.

Consult - provide technical advice on safe designs and construction.

Inspect - properties to evaluate the conditions and foundations.

Civil Engineers

In the involvement of complex road construction, civil engineers are commonly used. Although the definition of a civil engineering covers a vast margin of engineering related to any civil construction, in the following will be discussed of the uses of a civil engineers specifically to road works and other transport/public services. This is most common for land developments to homes in remote locations where road works is required, (roads, sewage, water, electricity, drainage, highways, bridges, and other transport/public services.) A civil engineer many or may not be required base on location, project size, project goal, and local jurisdiction requirements.

When are Civil Engineers most commonly used:

Transport/ Road Works/ Public Services - NOT LIMITED TO: Pipelines, Trains, Airports, Bridges, Freeways, Roads, Ports, Super Structures, Water Networks, Dams, Power Grid, Sewage, drainage, hydraulics etc.

Note: Civil Engineering is a vast subject, with many subsections within (structural, geotechnical, transport, architectural, water engineering etc.)

Interior Design

A sub section of architecture, specialized in flow of interior spaces. Working with all interior finishes, designing millwork, (custom cabinetry) organization of space, interior lighting, custom kitchens, bathrooms, colour science, etc.

When are they used:

For well organized, custom interiors, lighting, finishes, interior specifications etc.

Note: Depending on jurisdiction and local authorities, interior designers are limited to only interior design, thus are not allowed to all architectural practices.

Landscape Architects

Landscape Architects, are specialized in creating light and flow of exterior spaces.

When are they used:

Creating magnificent exteriors, from gardens, paths, railings etc.

Local Building Authorities

Buildings must conform to the code to obtain planning permission, usually from a local council. The main purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures.

When are they implemented:

  • Pulmonary Approval,

  • Stating legal requirements,

  • Final Approval,

  • Building Inspections.

General Contractors

Responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project. A general contractor often hires specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work.

When are they implemented:

  • Creating Accurate , Cost Estimates Based From Architectural Drafts,

  • Performing Construction Based On the Architectural Drafts,

  • Gathering Materials and Equipment Required For Construction,

  • Organizing subcontractors and other manual labor professions,


Methodology of Planning For Success in Construction

With the knowledge of what the key members in the design and construction process, Architects and Designers are able to implement them into the project for either aesthetic or for legal approval. In knowing the purpose of these possible assisting members, we will now be looking over in simple terms of the methodology of planning for success in construction.

Basic View of the Design to Construction Process

Research Design Permit

In the reference above is how others have described the design process. Whilst in the reference bellow is a more realistic approach of how I have personally able to create all of my projects, from extensive land developments, new construction to renovations. Understanding where a project is within this diagram is key when preventing stagnation and keeping high level of efficiency.


Land Developments

Land Development requirements change depending on geological location and local government documentation requirements. In the following will be discussed of the standard process, this is subject to change.

Preliminary Research

In basic terms, research, must be conducted to understand the sites legal requirements to determinant what is possible. Discovery of limitations, (setbacks, maximum building height, riparian zones etc), and determinant what infrastructure must be put into place to make the project feasible. In this phase, discovering who may be required to assist in the project according to the scope.

Preliminary Design

Capturing the basic idea of what the client wants/needs. Determining how many homes, where new roads may be placed, size of roads/lots etc. After determining the wants and needs these rough designs of the site must be refined to meet the legal requirements and standards. Not all details of the project are required at this point only the general scope must be presented.

Preliminary Approval

Once the preliminary design is complete, local government officials will either accept or decline. They may give advice on what documentation or changes they require to move forward to the permit.

Physical Research

For new construction, land developments it maybe requirement for a registered and Licensed Land Surveyor (Geotechnical Engineer) to take detailed measurements/ documents of the existing lot lines and structures, (homes, pipelines, roads, river, lakes etc.).

Schematic Design

No projects are ever the same, thus schematic design requirements will change project to project depending on the scope. Luckily, during the previous research and development that has taken place during the preliminary approval, it should be well documented by the local official what is required to gain a permit.

For Land Developments, the physical research, (legal land survey) must be documented and referred to and include the existing lot(s) plan and the purposed land development in detail.

Information that may or may not include (NOT LIMITED TO):


  • LOTS,


  • SCALE,



  • LAKES,

  • ROADS,
























Once the site has been properly researched and documented, the local government officials may give legal permission allowing construction to begin. Construction

Architects and designers, assist in ensuring the contractor builds to the correct specifications they may also assist in planning for the most efficient execution. In most cases the permit is required to be on site.

Legal Inspections