What Are the Design Review Stages?


Conceptual and Schematic Design (sometimes referred to as SDs or 35%): At this stage the design is only going to be a few pages.  We should be ensuring the design is feasible and we are looking for value engineering opportunities.

Interim Design (sometimes referred to as an AD, 50% or 65% drawings: At this point, most of the engineering, the exterior envelope and the MEPs (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) should be complete along with most of the finishes should be selected.  Getting the documents to this point takes most of the work.

90 or 95% Drawings: If there are substantial changes that need to be made on the Interim Design, a 90% submission may be made in order to correct the issues.

100% Drawings are typically issued as “Issued for Construction” or IFC.  These are typically the drawings that are issued for permitting and to contractors and subcontractors for bidding, if there is a bidding process.

For complex and larger projects (over $2.5M), there are often two phases of design.  There is a Design Development phase which details a more complete architectural design.  This is followed by the development of the Construction Documents which begins more of the engineering.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for these phases.  Being “50% complete” or having the “95s” is in the eye of the beholder.  If a project is simple enough, we have seen the drawings go from conceptual to 100% in one move for a simple 2,000 square foot build-out of warehouse space for a manufacturing facility.  We’ve also gone through a 35/65/95 on Design Development followed by a 50/90/100 on Construction Documents.