How does the Letter Four design-build process work?

Letter Four is a full service architectural design and construction firm. We offer design-build services with the seamless integration of licensed architectural and general contracting services, creating inspiring, original spaces.

To meet and exceed the goals of our clients, the design-build process works as follows:

1. Research and due diligence

We always start projects with an information-gathering phase. This is crucial to evaluating the goals, challenges, and opportunities involved in a project. We’ll look at timelines, the client’s budget and ambitions, city requirements,, and much more.

2. Conceptual design

This creative phase involves the formation of floor plans, interior, and exterior features. It’s the time that we build the big idea and create the overall character and vision for the project. As part of this stage, we will produce hand sketches and imagery for your comment and approval.

3. Pricing

With designs in place, we prepare preliminary pricing for the project. This includes pricing for each requested option and phasing where appropriate. Preliminary pricing is based on a range from historical data from our past and current projects, often based on a per square foot cost.

4. Schematic design

This stage builds on the conceptual design phase, presenting clients with 3D model views of the hand sketches. These will include floor plans, site plans, and exterior elevations to ensure that clients have a full and rounded understanding of the project. If required for budgeting, signing on consults such as structural engineering can also happen during this phase.

5. Design development

With designs endorsed and budgets understood, this is the more technical phase of the project. Documentation is produced to allow us to coordinate with engineers, submit plan checks to the Department of Building and Safety and secure full client satisfaction and approval.

6. Construction documents

After the design drawings and documentation are created, we get to work again! In this phase, we develop construction drawings and project documentation needed for the build. This most often allows us to finalize our construction bid and includes details such as lighting and power plans.

7. Permitting and approvals

In this stage, we guarantee your project gets the stamp of approval. We liaise with agencies, planning departments, and design review boards to secure the required permits and approvals on your behalf. For retail and commercial clients, we also secure landlord and brand-level approvals before seeking building permits.

8. Interior design

At Letter Four, interior design focuses on creating beautiful, functional, and inspiring spaces. Rather than just concentrating on furniture and paint colors, we focus on key features such as tiles, flooring, statement lighting, and plumbing fixtures. We’ll help budget and track client selections with every stage of the project accounted for — from purchase to delivery, through to final installation.

9. Construction admin

Letter Four provides a seamless experience from start to finish. With the build underway, we’ll be out in the field, interpreting drawings, assessing decisions, and ensuring that the project is staying on brief, budget, and schedule. If we are acting as architect-only, we will liaise with our client’s contractor, similarly reviewing changes and keeping the project on track.

Here at Letter Four, our expert Design-Build team is here to guide you through every step of your construction project. Whether residential or commercial, large or small scale, we deliver inspirational and cost-effective design and construction solutions. Our mission is to design and build great spaces with great people — so why not reach out today to talk about your project?

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