The Phases of Planning

1. Facility Program. The facility program is a translation of vision, curriculum, and pedagogy into facility needs. It includes such documents as an executive summary, a space summary, the building planning criteria, the room design criteria, room diagrams and adjacency diagrams. You will need to articulate all the spaces that will be needed in the future, for what purposes they will be used, how they will be used, and by whom. Imagination, flexibility, and creativity help to create a plan that is not limited to just the needs of today. During the process of developing the facility program it will be wise to do some trial schedules of classes and activities that will utilize the space. The information drawn from this program indicates whether or not a feasibility study is needed; it might also be used by a cost consultant to provide a relatively accurate projection of construction costs.

2. The Feasibility Study. Based on the information gathered for the facility program, you may have a difficult decision: to renovate, to build an addition, or to build a new building. If this is the case, a feasibility study is necessary. The intent of the study is to provide information such that a cost consultant can generate a summary of the materials and systems that are planned for the new and renovated spaces. The feasibility study presents the proposed renovations and/or addition(s) as well as the proposed phasing of the construction for the addition(s) and/or renovations. There are many components to the feasibility study and they often include:

  • an executive summary
  • a building analysis
  • a program summary
  • a project description
  • a construction phasing
  • a preliminary schedule
  • a cost estimate
  • a code and zoning analysis
  • appendices

3. Design Documents. The development of design documents begins once the facility program and the feasibility study is complete. There are three phases to this process: schematic design phase, the design development phase, and the phase in which the construction documents are created.