BarnChurchOur process is collaborative: We work with you to identify and prioritize your wants and needs and to achieve the highest quality result within your desired budget. We then guide you through the design and documentation process, including any necessary municipal approvals. Each project is totally unique. We take our design cues from the surrounding landscape, the existing building (if there is one) and neighboring buildings. We look at all aspects of a project in a holistic manner.


During the construction phase, our involvement will depend upon the method of construction delivery that is most appropriate for you and your project. We can make introductions to qualified builders and assist you in negotiating an agreement to build the project. Or we can solicit competitive bids on your behalf from up to three general contractors and help you to make your selection. Regardless of the approach you choose, we can add tremendous value by serving as your advocate during the construction process.


There are five phases in the development of a typical project: Preliminary Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents and Construction. Within each phase, there are a series of steps, consultation and coordination to work through, and objectives. These phases typically overlap, occurring in smooth progression rather than as discrete steps. The design process frequently continues during construction, as details are refined.

1: Preliminary Design

The design typically begins with an initial in-depth consultation with you to gain a full understanding of your needs and desires for the project. The goals for the project begin to take shape and a ‘wish list’ is developed. This stage also involves thoroughly documenting the site to identify its natural features, nuances, and context, as well as obtaining an up-to-date boundary survey. We perform a preliminary zoning by-law analysis to determine the regulatory parameters and confirm any other applicable regulations and authorities that have jurisdiction over the site.

2: Schematic Design

It may not look like much...but this diagram marks the starting point of a great design!

It may not look like much…but this diagram marks the starting point of a great design!

At this stage we begin to examine the potential of the building in various configurations. A series of initial sketches are the first attempt to transform the program into a plan, and locate the building on the site. The intent is to deal more with environmental and spatial relationships than the “feel” of the spaces. We investigate various options to determine the general layout and direction of the project. We ask the big questions about how you want to live and ultimately how the space around you will be resolved.

3: Design Development

Once a basic layout and scope have been agreed upon, the design is further detailed to include construction methods, materials and to create the “feel” of the project. We communicate our design concepts through drawings, sketches, and digital 3D models, such as the one above, ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the building and feel completely comfortable moving forward. We bring our structural and mechanical consultants on board at this stage to introduce them to the project and ensure maximum efficiency in the design. Also at this stage, we will invite contractors to review the design and offer recommendations to ensure that the project can be built within the realm of initial cost expectations.

4: Construction Documents

Schotland-Gross CD-A-103

A typical construction detail

With your final approval of the design, we finalize the construction details, specify materials, coordinate our drawings with those of our consultants, and their drawings are coordinated, and verify that the proposed design complies with applicable building codes and zoning by-laws. A building permit and construction drawing set is created during this process.

5: Construction Phase

Schotland is an Architect-Led Design-Build Firm Specializing in Sustainable, High-Performance Buildings

We serve as your representative and advocate during construction, working to ensure that the design is constructed in accordance with the contract documents. To that end, we assist the contractor in resolving any issues that arise during construction and provide supplementary details as needed. Unforeseen conditions invariably arise and new opportunities present themselves throughout the construction process. The design continues to evolve and develop as the building is erected. If the scope of work allows, the project may be fully detailed, right down to the furnishings and fixtures. We can assist you with the selection and sourcing of plumbing and light fixtures, kitchens and millwork, tile and furniture. Of course, the interiors are always an inseparable aspect of the architecture and these considerations play an important role throughout the design process.