From start to finish of building your house, there are 5 typical stages professionally known as "phases". You are not obligated to select one single designer/architect for the entire project. You may choose to authorize service incrementally to establish a comfort level between both parties. The first two stages are considered design phases, followed by two documentation/procurement phases, and finally the construction phase. The five phases of the projects are:
Schematic Design (SD): During this phase, the designer/architect communicates his/her proposed design to you. Not all details will be worked out during this phase, but you should have a general idea of the design approach. If your project needs to go through a design review or planning commission hearing, it will take place around 75% to 90% of this phase. If your project includes major mechanical, electrical, or plumbing upgrades, discuss the general approach for each discipline, also known as “system approach” with your design professional.
Design Development (DD): The designer/architect continues to develop the design. Typical design details will be developed during this time.