Our Process

Is a Multi-Stage Review Strategy Best?

Why smaller, milestone-based, reviews might be the right approach for your project.
Brian Novello
February 14, 2022

The Problem With Waiting

Imagine that your team is nearing the final production stage of construction documents, with a bid set due in two weeks, when you suddenly find out that a misclassified building occupancy has triggered the need for an additional egress stair.  What now? This is the type of nightmare scenario that keeps architects and developers up at night.

Not only does the entire project schedule need to be put on hold while the architect redevelops the entire building layout and resulting documentation, but all the consultants will now need to revise their individual drawing packages to adjust to the revised backgrounds. Depending on each consultant’s unique contract, this can also result in additional service fees and unanticipated further schedule delays.

Unfortunately, this is the inherent risk of waiting until construction documents to have your project reviewed.

An Alternative Solution

Many first time clients like to wait until 50-70% CDs to have their projects comprehensively reviewed. The assumption here is that they want to provide their design team’s enough time to develop the documentation to a “nearly final” stage for review. While we are always happy to provide a comprehensive review, we find it more efficient to break down the comprehensive review scope into at least (2) smaller, limited reviews.

The Initial Review

Ideally, we target the first review as early as late schematic design (SD) or early design development (DD). During this first stage review, we typically focus on Regulatory Review which includes building code compliance, life-safety, and accessibility.  Since the overall layout has been determined at this stage, regulatory scope can be effectively reviewed.  This approach benefits from the inherent “flexibility” of the documents at such an early stage, given final backgrounds are not yet issued to consultants, and much of the technical documentation is still in the planning stages.

It is important to note that each stage of the multi-stage review will be issued a stand-alone proposal (contract).  This approach offers the most versatility as your team has no obligation to later stage reviews and can further adjust review scope to best match your project’s evolving needs.

Secondary Review

Having previously performed the regulatory review during SD or DD, we then recommend conducting the Discipline Coordination, Constructability, and Completeness reviews somewhere between 30-70% CDs.  This allows the other disciplines time to catch-up with the architectural series, while giving the architect enough time to further develop the documentation, including the project detailing.   Additional hours may be specified towards regulatory review if substantial changes were made to the layout, or new scope documented that wasn’t previously available.

Additional Reviews

For large-scale, or highly complex projects such as medical facilities or resorts, an additional review phase may be recommended during DD.  Given that every project is unique, we offer free consultations with all our clients to develop the best custom review strategy that’ll meet your project’s budget and schedule needs.

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