Architectural & RealEstate Development

Phone:(213) 500-2899


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Malespin offers a full range of architectural   real estate development services which are selected by the client and rendered on a case by case determination. We also provide additional services other than the normal architectural & real estate development, such as,

  • Real Estate Development
  • Project management consulting
  • Design consulting
  • Architectural Design
  • Tenant Improvement (retail & commercial)
  • Interior Design
  • Remodels & additions
  • Construction services

The Design process

So, what should you expect out of a project?
Well for the most part, a design project is normally broken into different design phases. Designing a building takes time and a lot of careful planning. These phases are listed below.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, in some cases (smaller projects) these phases tend to be rolled together or because of time limitations, be shortened into one design phase. So it's probably a good idea to be aware of these phases but be flexible in its implementation.


Identifying the scope and nature of the clients' needs (Program) before design begins has taken on much greater meaning in recent years as clients become more aware that faults in buildings can often be traced to ill-conceived programs or incomplete planning. Programming is the combination of research into user needs and the development of performance requirements which shape the function and components of a building.

Conceptual Design

Is where the architect listens to the client and working with them develops one or more initial designs. Probably in a sketch format. It's where the needs of the client are in turn translated into designs. It is a good way to test ideas and concepts.

Schematic Design (SD):

Depending on the feedback and how these designs were received by the client, these initial ideas may be further developed in schematic design. Normally the best ideas are combined into a single design during schematics and developed. During schematics is when the drawings are developed to show what most people understand as plans, elevations and sections. Physical models or computer generated models may be used to help the client understand the design. Depending on the location of the project, some local jurisdictions will probably require a design review. If you are adding square footage or a second floor, doors or windows, it is highly likely you will have to have the project reviewed by the planning department or design review board. A new home will probably be required to be reviewed. Again this depends on your local jurisdiction. Zoning should be considered. A rule of thumb is; if it affects structure, plumbing or mechanical (HVAC or your heating or air-conditioning equipment), it will probably need a permit.

It's probably a good idea to at least talk to a building official before too much work is done. Based on their comments, we may have to change scope, materials, design elements etc. Again, this depends on the requirements a city or county may have. Sometimes in remote areas, you maybe requested to have fire sprinklers installed. Again, these are just examples and it's best to have an understanding of these requirements early on.

Design Development (DD):

After the schematic designs (SD) are approved by the client, typically the next stage is design development. On larger projects this is where we take the time to fully flesh out a design, to consider different materials and to understand how to put the building together. Especially important if the client is going after an advant garde or cutting edge design. During this phase, we may develop what are called Wall sections. Literally a s ection through a wall assembly to help them understand how all the materials will be installed. It also serves as an avenue to research and cartoon out the construction details that are needed. A color/ materials board is put together for the client to help them understand the finishes in the building. Preliminary, material, finish, door and window schedules are created. Some initial details will be generated. At this point, it's a good idea to obtain cost estimates or on smaller projects, preliminary numbers from a contractor. This helps everyone in the design process understand where the project stands in regards its budget. It's best to make any changes in a building's design before the start of construction documents.

Construction Documents (CD):

Completion of design development (DD) means the beginning of construction documents. These are where the details of how everything goes together are drawn. Window and door penetrations, roof details etc. Depending on the type and complexity of the project, this normally drives the amount of documentation needed. Some jurisdictions may require that a permit set of drawings be issued for review prior to construction. They will review the set for building code requirements and obviously structural requirements. During the start of the project or as it progresses, we will typically tell the client which additional consultants maybe needed on the project. I.e. structural, mechanical, plumbing, civil, electrical, landscaping. Not all projects will need these services (Size and complexity are driving factors). I.e. a desire for a home theater will likely require an acoustic consultant and home theater specialist.

Once construction documents (CDs) are complete or close to completion, we can help the client bid the project with contractors. Some clients may have a contractor they wish to work with or will prefer to bid the project on their own. The purpose of the bid is to obtain pricing on the scope of the project. Some clients will base the winning bid on the lowest bid or purely on a perception that a good working relationship can be obtained with a particular bidder. At times we may make recommendations. However the bid process is carried out, we still need to prepare a "Bid Set" of documents. A bid set is not necessarily 100% CDs. 100% CDs is what are normally referred to as the final drawings. These are what the contractor will use to build and the final building permit will be based on.

Construction administration (CA):

is a process whereby the architect can help the client administer the construction contract. Many residential clients tend to forgo the design services during this process to save money. However it should be noted that we work for the client to maintain the quality of the project and to ensure what is built is true to the design and documentation. After all we acts as an agent for the client and is not a vendor, which a contractor technically is. We have worked with you on the design and would very much like to see that it is built according to the intent of the design. If a contractor suggest that a material be substituted for another, how would the client know if the product is equal, has a cost savings to them or if it maybe totally disastrous for the design or vice versa?

What we have described above is a very short summarized version. Obviously no two projects are the same. Most times it depends on the project budget and what a client expects.

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