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Schematic Design: The Hold Up Phase

At the end of the schematic design phase, clients are typically tempted to take drawings to a contractor to get a bid. We call this “The Hold Up Phase”, as the design process comes to a standstill as clients get stuck trying to get the attention of a contractor, typically spending weeks or months without getting anywhere.

Schematic design drawings are more like bubble diagrams or flow charts; they lack important information and are not developed with enough detail.

In addition, the hard truth is that it is extremely difficult to get the attention of a contractor without a permit, and any experienced contractor wouldn't dare give an exact bid on schematic designs. Rather, they will use ballpark/per square foot pricing to guide your projects and set preliminary expectations.

A contractor cannot accurately bid on a construction project until they have detailed construction documents, such as plans and specifications, that provide a complete description of the materials, finishes, systems, and equipment that will be used in the project. These documents also provide information on the sizes and quantities of materials required, and the labor and equipment needed to complete the work. Additionally, schematic drawings may not reflect the final design of a building, and changes may be made during the design development and construction document phases of the project. For this reason, bidding on schematic drawings is not an accurate or reliable way to determine the cost of a construction project.

If you find yourself confused in the schematic phase--that's okay! Talk to us and we can help get things back on track.


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