The Liminal Process

Utilizing a process leads to better design and satisfied clients

Although each project is as unique as the clients who select Liminal to design their buildings, Liminal's architectural process remains consistent across project type and scale, commercial architecture or residential architecture.  Liminal emphasizes building an open and collaborative team starting with the architect-client relationship and extending to the consultants and contractors. Below are the steps which result in an architecturally compelling and environmentally-positive project, the actualization of this client-architect relationship and the result of this procedural design process.

The AIA provides assistance to people interested in using an AIA architect. You can learn how to prepare for your meeting by visiting their website | HERE |.

Liminal is committed to creating satisfying design and client-architect experiences. The AIA provides guidance to home and business owners when selecting an architect. Please visit HERE to read more about selecting your architect.



Survey Phase

Existing Conditions Survey. The Architect shall survey the existing conditions and take accurate measurements of the required area of Work. The Architect shall prepare a complete set of Existing Conditions Survey (ECS) documents, which will include a floor plan at all levels and a building elevation at each exterior facade of the residence. These documents will be used by the Architect to perform the following Architectural Services.

Programming. Programming is the process of identifying and organizing essential information about the residence, as it exists, and how it relates to the Project as described above. The Architect will provide one (1) meeting to discuss the Client’s priorities and establish the Project requirements, including an initial project budget. A Program Statement shall be prepared by the Architect and it shall be approved by the Client prior to proceeding with any design work.



Conceptual Design Phase

The first phase of the design process is the Conceptual Design phase. This phase is programmatic and problem-solving and involves the creative visualization of an overall concept. In a sense, it is the beginnings of the “big idea.” Through Client/Architect brainstorming sessions, the fundamental relationships of space and layout are explored, and creative strategies are tested. Then, a Liminal architect prepares a Conceptual Design package which includes 3d model visualizations to convey the kernel idea(s) of the project.



Schematic Design Phase

Schematic Design builds upon the conceptual design phase. In this phase, the project begins to take shape. Programming information is incorporated and basic spatial relationships are developed. The Schematic Design Documents are presented to the client for approval. These documents include initial plans and sketches, a conceptual site plan, if appropriate, and preliminary building plans, sections and elevations. Often, multiple project solutions may be presented during this phase.



Design Development Phase

Design Development Documents are created based on the approved Schematic Design. The Design Development Documents illustrate and describe the refinement of the design of the Project, establishing the scope, relationships, forms, size and appearance of the Project by means of plans, sections and elevations, typical construction details, and equipment layouts. The Design Development Documents shall include specifications that identify major materials and systems and establish in general their quality levels.  With the Client’s approval of the Schematic Design, a Liminal architect develops additional details to fix and describe the character of the Project. For example, interior spaces that require special design features, treatments and/or upgrades shall be incorporated into the Design Development drawings. The architect may assist the client in the selection of hardware, finish plumbing fixtures, tile, stone, lighting and paint colors. The Design Development drawings shall be approved by the Client prior to proceeding to the next phase.



Construction Documents Phase

Based on the approved Schematic Design and Design Development drawings and any further adjustments in the scope and/or the budget for the Project, Liminal prepares Construction Documents consisting of drawings and specifications that will describe the scope of work and be suitable for filing with the Building Department and for construction by a qualified General Contractor. Construction Documents shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Architectural Floor Plans delineate the existing construction, demolition, new construction, and the cross referencing of details and sections on subsequent drawings.
  • Power and Data Plans show electrical receptacles, telephone, cable and internet locations.
  • Finish plumbing fixture locations.
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans provide accurate placement of ceiling mounted lighting fixtures, with associated switching arrangements, and locations for required smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.
  • Building Elevations at each exterior facade show the existing residence with the proposed new construction including notes indicating finishes, materials and any special conditions.
  • Details, Sections, Schedules and Notes communicate, in detail, different aspects of the design relating to construction and/or code requirements.

These details are essential in conveying the design concept to the General Contractor, the subcontractors and to the Building Department.



Bidding and Selection of Contractors

The Architect shall assist the Client in assembling, distributing and evaluating the bid package which will include:

  • Preparing and distributing the Construction Documents to each Bidder selected by the Client
  • Coordinating and attending a pre-bid meeting with the Bidders (as required)
  • Addressing Bidder’s questions and concerns (as required)
  • Assisting the Client with the evaluation of the bids
  • Assisting the Client with the awarding of the contract


Construction Administration Phase

Based on the signed contract between the Client and General Contractor, Liminal provides the important services during construction, including meeting to clarify building documents and assisting in expediting project to stay on schedule. A Liminal architect makes frequent visits as appropriate to monitor the construction progress.



If you are interested in learning more about best practices for an architectural design process, you can visit the AIA site | HERE |.