The Project Process Explained

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Thinking about a new or renovated space? You supply the vision, and we help you capture it. But what should you expect when working with an interior architecture firm like AMB, and what all is involved in making your idea become reality?

To bridge the gap in communication, we have developed a “Project Process and what to expect” document all new clients receive at the initial project meeting. By using an open and collaborative approach, we can assure a stress-free experience, few design changes later in the project, little to no permit comments from the city, and a successful completed project for everyone.

The document contains a list of key terms and design lingo, a design process timeline, expectations during each project phase, and an example of the physical documents (called deliverables) that follow each phase.

Below is a quick outline of the design process broken down into each phase.

Programming – This is the Information Gathering Phase. In this initial part of the project, you and the AMB design team will review the current employee count, growth projections, current or existing conditions within the space, and collect details about your vision and needs. With this information we create a program; this document lists all the areas needed in your space and the approximate amount of space each will take. Once the program is approved, the design team can proceed to the next design phase.



Space Planning – The Plan and Concept Development Phase. Here our designers plan your space according to the approved program. Our designers begin space planning by considering a couple questions about the space. How will the building be used? How will people spend their time in the building? The answers to these questions will help determine how the program will be allocated, which means where each space should be located. The designer also needs to consider circulation, or how people will move through the space. If it is a suite in a commercial building for example, our designers explore how the offices, open workspaces, and cubicles, will be configured. After the floor space layout is complete, it is sent to you for review and/or approve.



Design Development, Phase 1 – Tailoring Space to Meet Your Needs. This is where we can begin choosing finishes or surface materials, gather equipment needs (such as large capacity printers, exercise machines, etc.), prepare preliminary pricing floor plans, and review budgetary bids. A bid is a process of submitting a proposal to manage the undertaking of a construction project. At this time, we engage MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) engineers, structural engineers, and any others that might need to be included in the project team. This is also where we can begin introducing Virtual Reality technology to help clients visualize the space.



Design Development, Phase 2 – Finalizing Design. In this phase, you approve the power/data layout, the ceiling/lighting design, millwork (or woodwork such as cabinets), and finishes. It is here where we begin to engage a variety of consultants: data consultants, security consultants, audio/visual consultants, and furniture vendors. Consultants provide architects and designers with expert advice about a certain subject or respective field. We ensure the new space follows code and life safety compliance before going into the next phase.



Construction Documents – The Drawings for Permit and Construction Phase. By this part of the design process, our designers are developing the final design documentation and coordinating all aspects of the project before starting construction. We offer suggestions on contractors because we like working with people we have current relationships with since it allows for better communication. We order furniture and obtain the consultant drawings needed to coordinate with the construction set. Once acquired, we have the project ready to review and approve by the city of Houston. With our permitting services being handled internally, the project will be permitted with less comments and corrections from the various jurisdictions.



Construction Administration – The Project is Under Construction Phase. In this phase, your project will come into fruition. We review any Request for Information (RFI) documents and coordinate submittals (or documents submitted by the contractor to the architect for his or her approval) between the construction team. The purpose is to ensure that the result corresponds to the design intent portrayed in the construction documents and meets the expectations of the client. We assure the shop drawings (also known as fabrication drawings) are correct and we clarify communication between the building owner and the general contractor. Together with you and the contractor, the AMB design team conducts a final walk of the space once construction is complete. We oversee any final repairs or finish work needed, and then we proceed by coordinating the move in.



We know time is money and the longer it takes for everyone to get on the same page, the longer you’re missing out on expanding your business potential within a new space. This is exactly why AMB has created an efficient and easy-to-follow document to help you understand the process and help you talk design with designers.

At AMB, we are committed to be a true collaborator with the entire project team. We promise to make the whole process efficient and low stress.


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