Crucial Roles of SD, DD, CD in Construction Project Delivery

Architectural firms and design consultants face the critical challenge of managing construction projects effectively. This means ensuring completion within established timelines, adhering to budget constraints, meeting client requirements precisely, and complying with all relevant building codes. Inefficient design processes can hinder these goals. Common factors contributing to such inefficiencies include unclear project scope, inadequate design briefs, and difficulty visualizing designs, all of which can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

To address these challenges, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recommends a streamlined architectural process with a prioritized sequence of project milestones. This phased approach focuses on tackling the most significant design issues first, followed by the progressive addition of details and the resolution of emerging concerns. The Revit BIM modeling Services are incorporated with five key phases in this process:

  • Programming (Pre-design): Defines the project’s purpose, requirements, and constraints.
  • Schematic Design (SD): Develops the initial design concept and spatial relationships.
  • Design Development (DD): Refines the design concept, addressing technical considerations and building systems.
  • Construction Documents/Drawings (CD): Creates detailed plans and specifications for construction.
  • Bidding and Construction: Secures bids from contractors and oversees the construction phase to ensure adherence to plans and specifications.

Have you ever wondered why construction design projects require distinct phases? In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the “why” behind each design phase and help you gain a thorough understanding of their value.

Why are design phases essential?

  • Organized Project Management:

Complex architectural projects necessitate a structured approach. Design phases divide the project into manageable stages, each with specific tasks and deliverables. This provides a clear roadmap for progress, preventing tasks from becoming overwhelming or overlapping.

  • Enhanced Project Control:

Each phase marks a milestone in the project’s development. Completing predetermined objectives before moving on allows for thorough review and adjustments as needed. This proactive approach minimizes costly rework later and increases overall project control.

  • Meeting Client Expectations:

Clearly defined phases create predictable milestones and ensure timely delivery of the construction project. This level of transparency fosters trust and open communication with clients. Thus, increasing their satisfaction and ensuring their expectations are met throughout the construction process.

Let us now guide you through each of these design phases:

  • Programming (Pre-design)

The Programming phase is the critical first step in any Drafting Project. This pre-design stage focuses on clearly defining the project’s purpose, requirements, and constraints. This means understanding the client’s goals, the intended use of the space, the necessary features and functions, and any limitations such as budget, site conditions, or regulations. Through extensive research, and analysis, a comprehensive program statement is created. This document serves as the roadmap for the entire design process, ensuring the final design aligns with the project’s objectives and adheres to all relevant factors.

At Tesla Outsourcing Services, our architects offer more than just expert Architectural CAD Drafting Services. We leverage our extensive experience and meticulous planning to deliver flawless, hassle-free construction projects. Here’s how:

Seamless Collaboration:

Our architects work closely with engineers from various disciplines, including civil, structural, and MEP. This collaborative approach ensures smooth project flow, proactive identification and resolution of potential clashes that could cause delays or rework, and ultimately, streamlined construction.

Regulatory Compliance:

We stay updated on the latest local regulations and building codes, keeping you informed and guaranteeing your project meets all regional bylaws. Our expertise empowers you to make confident decisions about your project.

Efficiency and Precision:

We prioritize efficiency and precision in everything we do. Through meticulous planning and attention to detail, we minimize rework and ensure hassle-free council approvals. This allows you to focus on your vision while we handle the groundwork.

  • Schematic Design Phase (SD)

The Schematic Design Phase (SD) translates the initial program or pre-design into a practical and efficient building plan. This stage involves exploring various design concepts to solidify the overall architectural prototypes and layout. While the project’s general form and geometry start to take shape during SD, detailed material and finish selections occur later. Collaboration and brainstorming are key elements of this phase. Architects and clients actively participate in meetings and utilize 3D models are developed using BIM Modeling Services to visualize the spatial relationships, size, and shape of different areas within the building. Client feedback is actively incorporated to refine design ideas and define a clear direction for subsequent project phases. Open communication during SD helps clients better understand their design needs and minimizes the need for rework later.

  • Deliverables:

  • Building sections: These cross-sections reveal the building’s internal structure and relationships between different spaces.
  • Building element descriptions: A breakdown of the major elements comprising the building, such as walls, floors, and roofs.
  • Architectural visualization: This could be in the form of renderings, sketches, or other tools to provide a visual representation of the building’s overall design.
  • Exterior concepts: Elevations with potential finishes and openings are presented to showcase the building’s external image.
  • Preliminary plans: These include both site and floor plans with designated site openings.
  • Design Development Phase (DD)

The Design Development phase (DD) builds upon the floor plans and exterior concepts approved in the Schematic Design (SD) phase. It focuses on refining key project aspects by creating detailed drawings and outlining specifications for accurate construction cost estimates. This allows for adjustments within the budget before construction begins.

This phase includes:

Defining and developing crucial project elements: This encompasses the interior and exterior design, room sizes, and material selection.

Generating detailed drawing sets: These drawings provide clear visual representations of the final design.

Outlining specifications: These documents detail the materials, equipment, and finishes for each element of the project.


  • Additional supporting details
  • Material Bills of Quantities (BOQs)
  • Building sections and wall sections
  • Exterior elevations with finishes and openings
  • Interior wall dimensions
  • Grid dimensions for structural elements
  • Precise dimensions for every space and element
  • Comprehensive specifications documents
  • Detailed drawing sets for all project elements
  • Construction Documentation Phase (CD)

The Construction Documentation phase (CD) focuses on creating comprehensive and accurate documents for construction. These documents translate the approved design drawings into precise instructions for builders. They include detailed dimensions, specifications for materials and finishes, and clear annotations to ensure the architect’s vision is realized. This phase also involves coordinating architectural drawings with those produced by other disciplines like structural engineers and MEPF consultants to avoid any clashes.  Due to the need for meticulous coordination and conflict resolution, CD can be the most time-consuming phase of the construction project. Once finalized, the updated drawings, often extracted from 3D BIM models and that are submitted to the client for final approval. This stage requires prompt and informed decision-making from the client and clear recommendations from the architectural firm. Ultimately, thorough construction documents minimize ambiguity on-site. This leads to smoother bidding and construction coordination.


  • Specifications and construction drawings: Detailed instructions for builders.
  • Annotated floor plans: Layouts with room identifications, walls, doors, windows, and dimensions.
  • Detailed and general notes: Additional information and clarifications.
  • Annotated exterior elevations: Views of the building’s exterior with details.
  • Complete building specifications: Comprehensive list of materials and finishes.
  • Structural plans, details, and notes: Instructions for structural elements.
  • HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection plans and schedules: Specific instructions for each system.

Final thoughts…

While the upfront investment of time, cost, and resources required for construction projects can be daunting, a structured, phase-based approach like SD, DD, and CD significantly mitigates these challenges. This step-by-step process ensures efficient project execution within planned timelines. By separating responsibilities and focusing on specific deliverables in each phase, architects can effectively manage complexities and guarantee the structural integrity of their designs. This not only minimizes confusion and rework but also fosters a more efficient and successful construction process.

  • Twinkle Devi

    Fueled by a deep love for writing and a marketing background focused on digital communications, Twinkle Devi has carved a niche for herself in the realm of content creation. Her expertise lies in demystifying the technical complexities of technology, architecture, and marketing, offering fresh perspectives and weaving insightful connections into informative and engaging articles. Driven by a deep curiosity about the fascinating world of construction and design, Twinkle's pieces unravel the hidden depths of these fields and enrich readers with valuable knowledge presented through a compelling voice.