The Common Phases of an Architectural Project

Project owners are often concerned with the phases their architectural projects will follow. This is because subject to the size and requirement, every project will have variations in the type of building, budget, location, and so on.

However, an architect or architecture firm typically follows a standard framework. Here are a few things to know about the common phases of an architectural project.

Creating a schematic design

The architect will discuss your list of requirements and sketch out preliminary/rough drawings. These are conceptual drawings that do not have much detail, but are meant to link to other spaces. You will be given a few design options to choose from. Some firms will also provide you with a rough estimate of the cost. The designs finalized are worked upon in the next stage. You can also ask the architect for 3D models or images to understand the design fully.

Development of design

The next stage entails the development of the design selected in the first stage. This also includes any necessary modifications to be made. The architect will recommend more materials, colors and furnishings better suited to the project. As this stage progresses, they will discuss details like structure, plumbing, ventilation, and electricity. These drawings are also used to get permits and for other purposes. The designs are submitted to the BCA for approval.

Preparing the construction documents

This phase is important for coordinating structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering works. This helps prevent discrepancies between the different departments. The architect will create written specifications dictating the quality and performance of the different components of the building. The specifications will also be used by contractors in the preparation for the next phase.

Bidding for awarding of the contract

Some architecture firms assist you in reviewing the outcome of the bidding process. This results in the awarding of the contract to successful bidders. Any questions that the bidders may have are answered. This ensures that the process is transparent and contractors are bidding with the same information in mind. For competitive tenders, architects prepare documentation like drawings, specifications, bills of quantities, and contract documents.


This is probably the most important phase, since executing the plan well needs rigor. The work needs to be carried out in correspondence with the building contract. This involves weekly meetings between the different contractors and the architect, including minutes. The architect’s supervision on the project includes examining invoices that the contractors raise to verify whether the corresponding work has been completed. In case of unsatisfactory work by the contractor, the architect can preside over dispute resolution as well. Under Singapore law, contractors agree to accept the responsibility of the structure.

Practical completion and handover of the project

This is the final phase, where the architect organizes the handover of the project. It includes an official visit of the project, resulting in a report, complete with a list of defects.

Architects provide a number of other services as well, including assistance in site selection, determining the feasibility of a project, cost estimation, renderings, and so on.