Regardless of the size or scope of the project, the design travels through several phases from early design ideas to a plan that can be used for construction.  H2D works with the clients through all the phases of design: pre-design and site analysis, schematic design, design development, permitting, construction documents, and construction observation.  The key is for the client and architect to have good, open communication in order for the design and construction process to run smoothly.  The architectural design process has a language of its own and it is our job to teach the client this language and the best way to communicate the design.  We also encourage our clients to get ‘hands-on’ during the design process to convey their ideas in whatever way they feel comfortable – sketches, models, images, etc.

site plan drawingPre-design and Site Analysis:  The first step in the design process is to determine the existing conditions.  For new construction this will mean evaluating the site and it’s characteristics.  For remodels, the existing structures and site conditions will be measured and drawn.  H2D assists clients obtain site surveys and geotechnical evaluations if necessary.  During this phase, an evaluation of the site is performed for views, solar access, direction of the prevailing winds, and other aspects that may be important to the project.  Zoning, building and other code regulations research will be started.

Schematic Design:  Schematic design begins with a client meeting to go over design ideas for the project, which may include looking at images from magazines and books that the client is drawing inspiration from for their project.  We will take the ideas from the meeting to create several sketches of the basic design in the form of floor plans, exterior elevations, sections, and site plan (depending on the scope of the project).  We will begin developing the design ideas into one scheme through an iterative process.

Bird's eye view of kitchenDesign Development:  The design is developed with exterior and interior architectural detailing, material selections, laying out the interiors finishes, developing electrical plans, and coordinating with the structural engineer.  H2D works with the clients to start selecting appliances, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, tile, and other finishes.  Once the basic design is defined, a contractor is added to the team to assist with initial budgeting to make sure we are on track with the budget.

Permitting:  The permit set of drawings typically includes a site plan, floor plans, elevations, sections, wall sections, and structural drawings.  H2D develops the drawings to submit to the particular jurisdiction for the building permit.  Sometimes there are extended review time for permits.  During this time, H2D and the clients will continue to work on developing the Construction Documents and finish selecting finishes.

bathroom view drawingConstruction Documents:  The Construction Documents are the final drawings and documents which are handed off to the contractor for construction.  This set of documents includes all drawings provided in the permit set, plus electrical plans, architectural details, interior elevations, finish selections, and specifications (depending on the scope of the project).

framing photoConstruction Observation:  There are many decisions that are completed on site during the construction process.  H2D finds that a weekly or bi-weekly meeting with the contractor and client is beneficial to help facilitate decisions or changes that need to be made during construction.  Construction observation also includes answering contractor’s telephone questions, reviewing shop drawings (i.e. kitchen cabinets, etc), and helping the owner to review amounts due to the contractor at the time of invoice.

More questions about the design process?  Contact H2D at 206-370-4762 or at


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