Our Process

At Trade Design Build we believe that great design synthesizes a variety of design problems in unique and exiting ways. We’re uniquely positioned to explore the ways in which visionary aeshtetics can be balanced with cost and constructibility, the ways in which environment and context influence materiality and details, and how siting and building performance influence form. As a Design Build firm we explore the relationship between contemporary construction techniques and old world craftsmanship.

Our process typically begins with a Feasibility Study, where we’ll give shape to the project variables outlined above. Here will begin to establish a project vision, goals and space requirements. We’ll start scoping the project and establishing a realistic budget, and finally review any regulatory requirements and hurdles. Once we’ve defined the project, we then move into Concept Design, where we’ll work to balance all these variables in unique and exciting design solutions. In this phase we work with precedents, hand sketches, physical models and rough computer renderings to communicate design intent. Finally, once the Concept is established and agreed upon, we move into Construction Drawings, where we do all the required engineering, and construction detailing to make the project a reality.

Environmental stewardship is extremely important to us, and a critical aspect of our design process. We use a variety of analytical tools to measure building performance through design. We quickly move into Autodesk Revit, during concept design to build a computer model of our concepts. We then explore the operating carbon use through Autodesk Insight, and refine designs to optimize building performance. We then explore embodied carbon through systems selections and analysis in Tally, a carbon tracking software. We strive to make all our projects Net Zero, or Net Zero ready, and mimimize embodied carbon.

Feasibility Study

The goal of this phase is to define project variables, and verify the reality of the project before significant investment is made in leasing, buying property, detailed design work and construction. In this design phase, we’ll define a clear project vision and goals, including energy use targets. We establish a space program and scope summary. We will evaluate local building codes, and state regulations to determine project constraints. Finally based on all this information we’ll establish realistic project budgets. Often we’ll integrate some very rough sketch concept ideas into this phase to demonstrate design thinking.

  •  Vision, Goals & Program
  •  Zoning, Building Code & State Regulatory Review
  •  Construction Budget & Schedule
  •  Sketch site or floor plans

Concept Design

The goal of this phase is to give rough shape to the actual design. Based on the variables established in the feasibility study we’ll generate two to three concept designs, expressed through sketches, sketch models or rough computer renderings, to demonstrate different ways to approach the design problem. From there we’ll develop a single preferred concept with feedback from our clients, with the goal of finalizing the building floor plans and roughly designing the exterior including, overal form, general materials and opening locations. We’ll also begin energy modeling and carbon footprint tracking to allow performance to influence design revisions. With this first pass at a design, we’ll update our project budget, and review regulatory requirements to make sure the project is fully compliant.

Construction Documents

With agreement on a floor plan, rough exterior design, and more detailed construction budget, the project will then move into production of construction drawings. In this phase we’ll flesh out the overall design by working through exterior and interior details, allowing our concept to be realized through construction. At this stage we also engineer all the building structural elements, pick exterior and interior finishes, fixtures, and building mechanical systems. Our typical construction drawing sets include Site Plans, Code Compliance Plans, Floor & Roof Plans, Finish Plans, Ceiling Plans, Elevations, Sections, Building Detials, & Mechanical Coordination Plans. Once we’ve completed our full set of drawings, we move into bidding and provide a final construction estimate.

  •  Design Development
  •  Building Systems, Fixtures and Materials
  •  Detailed Drawings
  •  Final Construction Estimate