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Brick and
Design Process

Below is an outline of the steps we’ll be taking together as we design your project. This process is meant to be fun, engaging, and democratic. It will involve sketching, drawing, computer modeling the building in three dimensions, sharing lots of ideas (both good + bad), thorough analysis and good humor. The best outcomes are the result of allowing space and time for the process and design to unfold. 


Good design is the synthesis of many differing ideas into a thoughtful whole. While the steps listed below represent a linear path, the way we arrive at the final design isn’t always linear. It’s an iterative process, which leads to a product; it’s not a known product from the beginning. The product is the result of following the design process to its logical endpoint. This, I believe, is what makes building design so exciting and memorable – its the opportunity to create a physical expression of your business. At the end of the process, you’ll have space intentionally designed for your ideal customer experience and the shared experience of designing it.

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Tiersa working on a computer


Idea Exploration 

This is an essential step in the process.  Not only are we gathering information about the building, we also are listening and defining your goals and priorities for a successful project.  Your participation is the most time intensive at this stage.  We will provide an online folder for you to upload words and visuals that describe your desired outcome for this project.


The Exploration and Conceptual Design phases are contracted hourly as we work together to define the scope of the project.  We will discuss project needs, desires, opportunities and limitations. We will talk through the budget, timeline, consultants needed and project delivery methods.  .


Prior to starting the design of the space, the research and idea sharing will lead to developing a strategy.  Each business is unique.  Together we explore the specific needs and goals of your business to create a memorable and bespoke customer experience.  


During this phase we will work with you to describe project priorities, gather inspirational images, assess code requirements and create sketches to further define the strategy moving forward into design. Once a site or building is chosen, we can pull public documents and facilitate field documentation of the site and building as needed to produce to scale backgrounds. The intent of this phase is to explore possibilities and gather information.

People leaning over and working around a table


Conceptual Design

In this phase we will discuss the relation of space and integrate the results of the exploration phase into a space program and conceptual layout of space.  We’ll walk through the code requirements of the building based on your business needs and define some of the finishes and feel of the space.  Your ideas, desires and needs are merged with best practices of design, the principles of customer behavior and code requirements.  We may iterate at times through different design options to discover the design that best fits the needs of your business.  


The deliverables of this phase may include conceptual plans, elevations or sections and a more in depth code study.  We may facilitate a meeting with the City to solicit their feedback and talk through any code concerns. As we wrap up this phase, we would recommend reaching out and meeting with local contractors to engage their feedback on preliminary cost and build time projections. 


At times, the budgeted dollars and the estimated construction costs are not in alignment.  Or perhaps the desired open date does not match the time requirement of design, permitting and construction (and throw in the seasonal limitations). The project priorities may need to be revisited before moving forward with a design strategy.  Success will come with finding the right balance of time, cost and quality for the project. The intent at the conclusion of the hourly contract is to arrive at a direction to proceed. 


Next steps would be to engage in the next contract to create construction documents or to redefine the scope of the project to best meet your budget, time, or quality needs. 

Tiersa working on a laptop


Design Development &
Construction Documents

This phase begins with a solid understanding of project scope and will be sealed with an AIA contract. Together we will build a complete team of engineers, consultants and contractors as required by the scope of work. 


The concept will be further developed on Revit 3D modeling software to produce drawings and specifications for construction. We will develop details to describe special elements of the design and ensure an energy efficient and code compliant build out.  The design of the building systems and any specialty consultants will be developed in tandem to ensure a cohesive design.


We will discuss whether you’d like to pursue a bid price contract or a negotiated contract with a contractor. We'll discuss the level of detail to convey the design intent. The goal of this phase is to convey the design intent in a clear and precise way to ensure the project priorities are met.This phase finalizes all the information about the project into a detailed set of drawings and specifications that will be used by the Contractor for pricing and construction. 

Architectural drawings



This is a period of review by the local jurisdiction for release of a construction permit.  This phase can take several weeks, though on average three weeks. There are often questions and clarifications that are requested by the City and responded to in the form of an Addendum to the documents by the design professional.

Two people standing and looking at an architectural drawing


Construction & Observation

After the contract is awarded and construction begins, we can act as your agent on-site, monitor progress, review applications for payment and ensure conformance with the contract documents. We don’t tell the contractor how to do their work; we are involved to ensure the design is built as intended and to problem solve with the contractor as needed. Brick and Mortar will observe the construction process and meet on site with the contractors at agreed upon intervals.  


This is a crucial part of the process and we strongly advocate being involved during construction. Not only does it ensure that all the hard work we put in designing your vision is executed properly and according to the drawings we crafted, but I also find that it holds the Contractor to a higher standard of quality.

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