At MMA each project is approached similarly but in an adaptive and flexible manner, responding to the particular needs of each client, client brief, site, and set of conditions for the project’s success and deliverables. Our design work only begins when we fully understand the client’s goals. Our design process breaks down, fundamentally, into three major phases:
Schematic Design. We begin this phase only after generally producing a client program (brief)—a short written document that summarizes the core requirements for each space within a home or building. We also begin design only after visiting and fully documenting the site, including completing a full zoning code analysis and reviewing any ARB (architecture review board) requirements, if applicable. We develop our design concepts in both computerized and hand drawings during this phase, producing floor plans, elevations, and 3D views of the design.
Design Development. This phase often begins with the goal of producing a preliminary pricing package in order to ensure the design is conforming to project budgets. We adapt the design as needed to respond to cost estimates and gain further client approvals prior to proceeding. It is often during this phase that we begin discussions about general contractor selection. During this phase, we begin working with clients to select real materials, their finishes, colors, lighting, and AV (audio-visual) systems—working in conjunction with an interior design professional as well as a landscape architect and an AV consultant.
Construction Documents. With most major design decisions behind us, we embark on construction drawings and specifications in order to document the requirements of the entire project and to communicate design intent for the purposes of construction by the general contractor and their subs.
While MMA will often initiate a competitive bid process on behalf of the owner for the construction contract for the project, our office has learned that selecting a general contractor earlier during the Design Development stage produces unique benefits to the owner. As a firm, we are versed in multiple contract types and will provide our clients with the right advice based on project and financial needs.