Architecture project phases and how PlanMan can help

Architecture project phases – and how PlanMan helps with each one

According to AIA the main architectural project phases are schematic design, design development, construction documentation, bidding, and construction administration. 

However, some of our consulting architects are using more stages in their project management.

When you, as an architect, split your own processes and workflows into phases and have clear systems for each stage, you become more effective, manage time better, and ultimately earn more.

Let’s go over all of the main architecture project phases and how PlanMan contributes to each.


Pre-design deserves to be a stage on its own, and most experienced architects name it as the most important phase for client satisfaction.

The pre-design stage is where you agree with all stakeholders on what to build and what goals it will serve. This is also the point where all client’s needs, limitations, and budget constraints must become clear to you as an architect.

During the pre-design stage you need to get a clear picture of the following:

Project scope and goals

The clear and specific purpose of your future building as well as the way it will be embedded into the environment.

Approximate schedules

Get clients’ input on when they need it done and give your practice-based feedback on how realistic their plan is.

Stakeholder values alignment

You need to make sure what exactly are your client’s priorities – and you need to make them confident that you understand and share those priorities. Otherwise, working together may not be a good idea.

Identify and predict potential challenges

This is where the architect’s experience comes in and helps set clear expectations about possible future issues that will need to be overcome.

Site analysis

Initial site inspection and real-life planning are crucial for this early stage of the project. Get out there and start visualizing the building.

Zoning analysis

You need to agree with the client on the future zoning of the lot and the role & image of the building in it.

PlanMan utility: communicate with clients effectively using the client communication module. The best part here is that all your messages remain in your account and are available at any time on all possible devices.

Schematic design

This is the stage when you explore design concepts and pick one with your client.

Schematic design means a lot of meetings and calls, as well as models & sketches presentations. From hand-drawn to software models, anything goes here – it all depends on your skills and preferences.

The goal is to arrive at a common vision of the project with your client. Schematic design is also the best phase to make changes before the design development.

PlanMan utility: Use the instant chat with your staff or collaborators to transfer client feedback to them quickly and easily without emails or external messengers.

Design Development

This is the phase when you are building the final detailed designs that everyone agrees on.

At this point the building exterior and interior both need to be finalized.

Draft the floor plans using all kinds of 2D and 3D models to test & try colours and textures.

The design development process means you need to embed HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems into the project as well. At this stage, the project goes beyond architecture and engineers start to contribute.

PlanMan utility: the co-consultants module in PlanMan is created for you to onboard other professionals that need to contribute to the project. Have all their documents and communication at hand in your dashboard where all the other data is!

Construction documentation

All the designs, drawings, and models are developed into construction documents, precise and ready to serve as official blueprints.

Construction documentation implies cooperation with structural engineers to approve and bring together all the materials, appliances, finishes, fixtures, – everything the building will actually be made of.

It’s a lengthy and complex process that includes building permitting where you make sure all aspects of the project are legal and compliant. You will submit documents to regulating bodies, and depending on where you are this stage can take quite some time.

PlanMan utility: use the document management module to store all project documents and share the latest versions of them between stakeholders. Each account comes with robust and secure cloud storage space you can access from anywhere.

Bidding & negotiation

This stage of the architectural process means picking contractors, negotiating terms, material and service prices, and so on.

Most architects will work with an experienced construction manager here so make sure you always keep your clients in the loop and send them timely updates about the project’s progress.

Construction Administration

Your role as an architect at this stage is to make sure everything is going to plan and in accordance with the design you’ve approved with your client. After all, your name will be attached to the project forever, so be strict to ensure builders follow your vision.

You need to be present at the construction lot regularly to identify potential issues fast to be able to fix them before things become literally set in stone.

Tip: Use Planman on your iPad or any other mobile device to quickly access any necessary documentation or past correspondence with clients & stakeholders – helps you always make sure construction is within your vision.

Sign up for a trial now and see how much easier architectural work becomes with our PlanMan!