Schemmer’s Architectural Design Process

Our industry has been around for a long time, and with that has come some standards for how we practice. Although technology and codes lead to occasional changes, the general principles stay the same. The most important thing to understand is that getting a project designed and built is a process, it takes time. Decisions are not made all at once, but throughout the course of the design process.

At Schemmer, we make it our mission to present the architectural design process as clearly and succinctly as possible to avoid unexpected surprises throughout. That way you can gain an understanding of how we operate from the initial consultation all the way through construction administration.

Architecture firms services Omaha, Lincoln & Des MoinesArchitectural Design Process

The process of designing a building, space or structure typically consists of these architectural design phases. It is important to understand and remind yourself of these phases, to bear in mind exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.

Pre-Design Phase

While there are six distinct phases of architectural design, research, planning and analysis must be done to enable subsequent phases. This is often considered the Pre-design and Programming stage/phase.

Architectural Programming and Analysis is the first phase of a project, often referred to as Pre- design. In this phase we research, analyze, and evaluate all of the client's requirements, building code and zoning regulations, as well as site data to develop recommendations on the feasibility of a project. We have the skill to ask the right questions at the right time, for this is when the most fundamental decisions are made.

Schematic Design (SD)

During this phase of the architectural design process, we will take the information we’ve gathered from you and through our field surveys to create design options for your consideration. We will generally present these options in the form of preliminary concept drawings, so you can visualize the different routes your project could take.

We will also attach a rough cost estimate to each option to aid you in selecting a design that meets your aesthetic preferences, operational requirements and budget. You will also have the opportunity to request any modifications you’d like us to make to your preferred design. Once you have selected a design option that best suits your needs, we will begin the process of refining the design during the Design Development phase.

Design Development (DD)

Architectural Design Process Schemmer

At this point, we will take the schematic design you selected, as well as any requested modifications, and revise the design as necessary. During this phase we begin to integrate the various structural, mechanical and electrical systems. We will also update the cost estimate we provided during the Schematic Design phase to reflect any changes made to the initial design. We take our clients’ budgets very seriously and continually strive to provide accurate estimates throughout the early stages of design. This sometimes requires us to bring in assistance from our contracting industry partners.

This phase may require additional give and take as we work with you to finalize the details of the design before moving into the next phase.

Construction Documents (CD)

In the construction document phase the architect and engineers will finalize all the technical drawing and engineering including detailing. Structural systems, heating and air conditioning and ventilation systems, plumbing, electrical, gas, energy calculations, and all products and materials are selected and/or specified. The architect produces multiple sets of the construction documents, including a filing set for approval from the Building Department and another set for the General Contractor. Building or Planning Department comments will be addressed under this phase unless specified otherwise.


Having an architect on your side during the bidding phase of construction is of great advantage to you. At minimum, we can aid you in developing a list of qualified contractors for your bid list and submitting bid packages to bidders. But we can also review submitted bids, provide analysis, and help you compare the cost figures that you receive from your bidders.

This phase will ensure the contractors you are considering for your construction project are reading the construction documents correctly and are providing an accurate bid for your project.

Construction Administration (CA)

Construction administration is as important as all of the other phases. There is a lot of information the contractor and sub-contractors need to process. During this phase, we act as the owner’s agent and provide the following services:

  • Observation Services
  • Review Submittals
  • Supplemental Documentation
  • Punch List


Inspired and experienced. Responsible and collaborative. We listen to your needs, work closely with your team and deliver creative solutions that balance design, function, cost efficiency, and respect for the natural environment. As an architecture firm, we thrive on the challenges and opportunities that come with helping our clients reach their goals.

Our Architecture firm services include: