At Collaborative Architecture we never forget that the buildings we are helping create belong to and will be used by You – the Client. While some firms adopt a “Love-it-or-List-it” approach to creating their next ‘masterpiece’ that will grace the covers of magazines and blogs, we anchor our design work in our Clients needs, wishes, and vision.

Our process is really quite simple – we start each project with careful Listening. We listen to your dreams, needs, and goals. We listen to the local climate and your site to learn what lessons and inspiration they have for us. We listen to the regulators to understand their needs and concerns. And we listen to your budget as great green buildings should not require great budgets.

Over the years, we have honed our processes and find that although each project has its particular needs, most tend to unfold along the following lines.

Overview of a Typical Construction Project

  • Discovery Process to assess needs and options
  • Schematic Design work and preliminary approvals
  • Select a Builder and appropriate form of Contract
  • Detailed design development, Permit, Construction, and Tender Documents
  • Construction Phase quality assurance and site review
  • Completion and project wrap-up
  • 1-year warranty review 

Stage 1. ‘Discovery Process’

The most important, but often overlooked, first step towards a successful renovation or new building project is the Discovery Process. This process of discovery lays a solid foundation for all the planning, design, and construction work that follows.

At the conclusion of this study, we will have a clear set of goals and ‘wishes’ to achieve. You will understand the potential and constraints of the site; be able to establish an appropriate schedule and budget, and be in a position to make informed decisions moving forward.

Our 1st meeting

We start by listening closely to your needs and aspirations at an in-depth meeting with all of the people who need to be involved. It is important to lay the foundation for a successful new home by establishing the goals for the project. We will visit the site with you and spend some time both discussing what you wish to achieve and investigating the possibilities and limitations of your site.

We begin by asking questions and listening closely to understand your needs, aspirations, and dreams for your home. We will visit the site with you and spend some time both discussing what you wish to achieve and investigating the possibilities and limitations of your site. Allow about 3 hours for this meeting.

Research & Analysis

Back in our office, We investigate and report on the Zoning, Heritage, Conservation and other applicable laws that may impact your budget, schedule, or design choices. A preliminary Site Plan illustrates the possibilities for additional development of the site and Zoning constraints.

The Report

The Report is your tool to:

  • Ensure that we clearly understand your ‘Needs’ and ‘Wants
  • Establish the criteria that will determine if a given design has merit
  • Explain the possibilities and limitations of the site
  • Note the key elements of any existing building that may affect decisions
  • Identify the most promising directions to explore in the Schematic Design stage
  • Provide preliminary budgeting numbers
  • Draft a rough schedule to complete the project

Our Review meeting

There will be a lot of information to absorb in your Discovery Process report. We will schedule a meeting with you to go over any questions you might have after you have had a few days to review the report.

We want to be sure that you will be able to make clear, informed decisions about the best approaches to achieving your dreams for your home. We will help you evaluate the options and decide on the next steps that best suit your needs

Stage 2. Schematic Design

Based on the outcome of the ‘Discovery Phase’ we will explore various design solutions to achieve your goals. You will review several design options in the form of sketches, plans, and conceptual diagrammes. We start with a detailed measurement and assessment of the site and existing buildings. If you do not have an up-to-date survey of the property, we can assist you in commissioning one.

When you are pleased with the Schematic Design, we will prepare drawings and an outline specification of the work suitable to obtain an initial estimate of construction costs from a Quantity Surveyor or qualified Builder.

At the same time, we prepare applications for any required submissions prior to the building permit such as Zoning Certificates, Committee of Adjustment, Urban Forestry, or Heritage approvals. We will guide you through the sometimes complex approvals process to obtain the permits you need to start construction as quickly as possible.

Stage 3. Design Development, Permit and Construction Documents.

We develop the selected design in much greater detail. Working closely with you, we will determine various design elements including: layouts, materials, finishes, lighting, etc. As you can imagine, this stage of work is both quite exciting and demanding of time and attention. We will take care of as much of the selection of materials, finishes, and fixtures as you wish in order to allow you to focus on what matters most to you.

The look and feel of your home will become clear with the aid of various tools and presentation materials including cardboard models, architectural drawings, and accurate 3-D computer fly-through models. You can also get as deeply involved in the process as you like, or leave the heavy lifting to us.

As design decisions are made, we develop the final set of drawings and specifications. This stage of work is quite intense at our end, as we flesh out the technical details and information that will be used for a building permit application; final costing by the builder; and ultimately to guide the construction. You will be involved in making final decisions on the various details that have not already been determined.

Stage 4. Select a Builder and form of Contract

One of the key decisions will be to determine the method of construction delivery that best suits your needs. It may be a pre-qualified builder that you have chosen, a competitive bid between 3 builders, or a form of construction management with which we have experience. Regardless of the choice, this is the time to line up the builder and book their time for your project.

We can introduce to some of our favourite Builders or assist you with reviewing qualifications and reference checks of ones we have not met before. A construction management process is usually the best choice for most renovation projects. We often assist clients with standard building contracts, but we are not a substitute for obtaining proper legal advice.

Stage 5. Construction Phase & Quality Assurance

One of the most exciting moments will be the start of actual construction work. We specialize in working closely with the Builder and trades to ensure that your goals are achieved in the most effective way possible. Our principal, Daniel Hall, started learning about building hands-on as a Carpenter’s Apprentice in 1985. He went on to become a Red-Seal licensed Carpenter before embarking on a career in Architecture and Design. He has been a fully licensed Architect with the O.A.A. since 2009. His practical knowledge and openness to collaboration are evident in the careful execution that is characteristic of all our built works.

We keep in close contact with you and the builder throughout construction. Regular site meetings are highly recommended. We respond to questions about site conditions, trades suggestions for improvements, and fine tune the design to suit your needs as it takes shape.

Stage 6. Project Completion & Close Out

We always hear that the last 5% of any project demands 15% of the effort and seems to take forever to complete. So, how do we avoid that and ensure that your project will be 100% complete when you need it?

We focus our attention on helping the Builder stay on track and complete the work to your and our satisfaction. We will convene a walk-through of the project to prepare the final ‘punch-list’ of any deficiencies that may need correcting before you move in. After the final deep cleaning, your home will ready to move-in.

We require that the Builder fully test and commission all of the key systems in the building. Final documentation including test reports, warranties and owners manuals are gathered and reviewed to ensure that they are complete. Final invoices, energy efficient incentive applications, and a reconciliation of the project accounts will be submitted to you. Prior to the expiry of the warranty period, we will join you and the Builder for a walk-through to check that all outstanding issues have been resolved.

Stage 7. Post Occupancy Evaluation

We stay in touch with you through the first year of occupancy after the construction is complete. We assist you with monitoring the performance of the house and resolving any warranty issues that might arise. We are particularly interested in making sure that you understand fully how to operate and maintain the systems in your house to ensure your comfort and happiness with your home.