Design Development

Design development in architecture is the process where the design approved in the schematic design phase is refined and elaborated. During this phase, all crucial technical details and requirements are fleshed out. As an architect, this is the stage to work on the specifications of the building systems and materials

Generally, various categories come into play during this phase:

1.Materials and Finishes

1.The architect specifies the materials, finishes, and colors to be used in the project. This can include details about flooring, wall finishes, architectural hardware, and more.

2.Structural System

Architects work closely with engineers to finalize details about the structural framework of the project, answering questions such as how is the roof supported, how are the floors constructed, etc.

3.Electrical/Mechanical/Plumbing Systems (MEP)

The MEP systems are developed to meet the specific needs and design of the project. This includes details of heating and cooling systems, plumbing systems, and electrical layouts.

4.Detailed Drawings

Each element of the design needs to be detailed out properly. Detailed architectural drawings and 3D models are developed at this stage.

5.Building Codes and Standards

All the components of the design must meet the local building codes and standards. The architect must thoroughly cross-check the design against these requirements.

6.Cost Estimation

An estimation of the cost of the project is developed.


A written document that provides detailed information about the intentions of the architect’s design is created. Specifications explain what materials and products should be used and how they should be installed.

8.Coordination with Consultants

The design is also evaluated and refined based on the inputs of various consultants — structural, MEP, landscape, etc.

9.Quality Control

This final category involves checking the accuracy of the drawings, specifications and coordinating them with each other.

Design development is therefore a critical phase in the architectural process as it sets the stage for the construction procedures to follow.