There are different types of architectural firms offering a wide range of services. Some firms only do design and do not do technical work whereas some firms only do technical work and do not do much design. A full service architecture firm will do both and will work on a project from start to finish. My firm Fontan Architecture is a full service architecture firm and below we will outline the services one should expect in full service.
Types of Architectural Firms and Services
Architecture is creative and technical, but not all architects possess talents in both. Some architecture firms only do design and the creative aspects of architecture. Whereas some other architecture firms only do technical work. It is very common for one architecture firm to do a design and then hire another architecture firm to produce the construction documents. A full service architecture firm will do both. My firm for example is a full service architecture firm. You can see our homepage to learn more about our Architecture Firm in NYC Fontan Architecture.
Full Service Architecture Firms
The following are services that would be provided at full service architectural firms.
- Pre Design
- Schematic Design and Design Development
- Interior Design
- Engineering Consultants
- BIM Building Information Modelling
- Construction Documents
- Filing & Permitting
- Construction Administration
- Certificate Of Occupancy
Pre Design is the preliminary analysis portion of architectural design. This is not part of the 5 Phases of Design. Pre design includes feasibility study, zoning analysis, budgeting, and programming. This mostly applies to larger projects. Not all firms are competent in zoning and must hire separate zoning consultants. As a full service architecture firm, we always do pre-design with our clients.
Schematic Design and Design Development
In architecture Schematic Design and Design Development are the first two phases of the Architectural Design Process. Schematic Design is a basic design and design Development is a more detailed and worked out design without getting into too much detail.
Some architects do interior design and some do not. I do not think this is so critical for an architect to call themselves full service as many clients opt to hire a separate interior design firm anyway. But most full service architecture firms like ours will do interior architecture as well.
Most companies will have engineering consultants. But there is a difference on how this is structured. Sometimes the client hires the Structural and MEP engineer separately and sometimes the architect will hire them. At our firm, we usually hire them. You need to know if this is included when getting proposals so you can properly compare them. One architect may have a much lower price but could be including less services.
BIM Building Information Modelling
BIM stands for Building Information Modelling. This is a type of 3D model for architecture that holds more information than typical architectural software does. Not all firms use BIM. All of our projects are done in BIM even the small ones. I honestly do not know why everyone does not use it. I think BIM modelling should be standard architectural services.
Construction Documents is the largest phase of the architectural process. This is bulk of the technical work where an architect takes their design and develops it into a larger full set of drawings for construction. Not all firms have the technical know how about construction, resulting in some firms hiring other architects to do this portion of work. Honestly, many famous architects do not do their own construction documents.
Filing & Permitting
The process of filing and permitting is complicated, especially in New York City. As a full service architecture firm in NYC, we do all of our own filing and DOB paperwork in house.
Construction administration is what we refer to an architects role during construction. The architect does not supervise construction but visits the job site periodically to answer questions and deal with issues. The architect will make sure the work is being performed in accordance with the approved plans and with the proper expected level of quality.
Certificate Of Occupancy
At the end of the job, there are inspections to be done and sign-offs. An architect can help with this process, especially in a city like New York that requires progress and special inspections done by the architect and private inspectors.
Full Service Architectural Firm
In this article, we reviewed some of our projects and some basics with regards to Full Service Architectural Firms. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.
You can check out our homepage to learn more about New York Architects Fontan Architecture.
Thank You for reading our blog post on Full Service Architecture Firms.
I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect about a potential project you can contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.