Q:
How does HDA approach a new project?

A:
Once contract negotiations are complete we begin work with a kick-off meeting at the Owner’s office involving all parties connected with the project. At this time we get to know everyone involved and establish channels of communication and "chain of command" in regard to the Owner’s staff and the users. At this meeting, a tentative project schedule will be reviewed, goals and objectives will be discussed, and interviews with individual staff members are scheduled if needed.

During the programming phase, HDA performs evaluations of the available sites for the project, in coordination with a Geotechnical engineer. This determines if any site modifications are necessary due to unsuitable soil materials or rock. The site is also evaluated for circulation, and an adjacency study is performed in order to evaluate the best relationship between building and parking. HDA then schedules a meeting with the Client and reviews material produced during this phase.

During this same time period, the schematic design phase begins for the facility. The architectural diagrams generated in the previous phase will be further refined by the architectural team to create schematic floor plans, which are then enhanced with the addition of required millwork, furniture, and equipment. Schematic design also includes preliminary elevations of the building so that concepts may be visualized in less abstract terms. Structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing drawings systems are also discussed and reviewed at this time. In addition, to ensure that applicable codes are being addressed, the schematic floor plans are usually reviewed with City/County code review Agencies and the local Fire Marshal, if applicable.

A schematic site layout is also developed and a rough grading study is performed. The building location and footprint is coordinated with the Architect to ensure consistency and a preliminary earthwork study is performed to determine the amounts of earth and/or rock to be moved.

Prior to the completion of the schematic design phase, a cost estimate is performed by our cost estimator to evaluate adherence to the budget. Upon final approval of the schematic design documents, design development will begin.

The construction document phase is the end of the design portion of the contract. From this point forward, HDA produces the written and graphic instructions utilized to build the project. The drawings and specifications are then carefully checked against each other and reviewed by our quality control architect for clarity and continuity. The cost estimate at this phase includes a detailed summary of the costs associated with each system and material type. 

When the documents are deemed satisfactory by the architectural team and the Owner’s personnel, the team submits the drawings and specifications to the City/County code review Agencies and the local Fire Marshal for comments.

As with the design phases, HDA remains committed to a meticulous, deliberate approach to bidding our projects and administering the Construction Contract. Throughout the bid phase, we will be involved in assuring that the project gets the maximum exposure possible. We will send numerous invitations to General Contractors to stimulate interest in the project. This effort unusually facilitates very competitive bidding.

At HDA, we understand the inherent value of quality. Although it is sometimes hard to attach a dollar value on the quality of construction documents, it is very easy to see what the lack of quality costs.

Each discipline has in place quality assurance procedures that allows HDA to maintain control of the quality and consistency of our construction documents. One method we use is utilizing project managers and project architects, who are not involved with the project, to review and critique the documents at several intervals throughout the life of the project. These include stages during the programming phase, at schematic design, design development, and throughout the construction document phase. Typically the principal not in charge of the project serves as the Quality Control Architect.