Design development is the expansion of schematic design. This is the phase of the design process when additional professionals of various building disciplines begin to contribute their expertise.
At the end of the design development phase, the owner gains a more detailed understanding of their project. During this time, final design decisions are made that are usually based on either constructability, pricing, or availability variables.
During this phase, the project goes through a series of objective trials, including a thorough review of code compliance, constructability, and integration of building systems. At the same time, the documentation process turns the four to ten page schematic design package into a drawing set four to five times larger, as the instructions to build the structure are set up.
The architecture team performs an in-depth building code analysis to assure the design is safe for the occupants. This is when walls may thicken to create a two-hour fire separation between spaces, and ceilings may descend to accommodate mechanical systems—but building codes seldom force drastic changes. The design team works to not only bring the building to compliance, but also retain the design intent that was set forth in the schematic design phase.
Owners receive a set of in-progress construction documents. As long as changes reflect the intentions that were set forth in the schematic design phase, it is not too late to make adjustments.
Because codes exist to ensure the safety and well-being of people, we rigorously examine all codes that may affect the design. Any non-compliant aspects of the design will be revised.
Engineers of various disciplines, including geotechnical, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing, advise on any changes to improve the design and fortify the building integrity.