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Architectural Design Firm: From Concept to Construction, Bringing Your Vision to Life

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

In construction and design, the journey from an initial concept to a fully realised construction project is a multifaceted process laden with numerous stages, each crucial in its own right.

In Christchurch, known for its rich architectural heritage and progressive outlook towards modern design, engaging with a proficient architectural design company is pivotal for your project. Through a blend of creativity, technical expertise, and a keen understanding of client aspirations, architectural designers play a quintessential role in translating ideas into tangible, functional, and aesthetically appealing structures.

Step-by-Step: The Architectural Process

The journey from an initial concept to a completed construction involves several structured steps, each crucial for achieving the desired outcome. This process, guided by the expertise of architectural designers, ensures that the project evolves from a vision to a tangible, functional structure in a systematic and professional manner.

These steps encompass understanding client aspirations, creating design blueprints, navigating regulatory approvals, and overseeing the construction phase. The first step in this process sets a strong foundation for the subsequent phases of the project.

The Initial Consultation

The project commences with an initial consultation. This is a stage where ideas and visions are shared, and a preliminary understanding between the client and the design firm is established. It's a period for exploring the feasibility of the project, understanding the client's expectations, and setting the foundation for the design process.


Following the initial consultation, the process transitions into the conceptualisation phase. Here, the architectural design firm delves into creating preliminary design sketches, digital models, and conceptual drawings. This phase is crucial for visualising the project and making any necessary adjustments before proceeding.

Planning and Approval

Securing planning approval is a pivotal step in the journey from concept to construction. The architectural design firm will liaise with local authorities to ensure the design complies with all zoning laws, building codes, and other regulatory requirements. Alternatively if the design required does not meet local planning requirements we can liaise with a planning consultant to apply for a resource consent for the desired design. This phase may require several iterations to the design to meet the approval of local governing bodies.

Design Development

After securing planning approval, the design development phase kicks off. In this phase, the architectural design firm refines the designs, ensuring they are in line with local building codes and regulations. This stage also involves selecting materials, finalising structural systems and fire design, and integrating mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems into the design.

Construction Documentation

With design development and planning approval in hand, the process moves towards preparing construction documentation. These documents are comprehensive and detailed, providing a blueprint for the construction team to follow. They encompass all the specifications, drawings, and technical details necessary for construction.

Contractor Selection and Bidding

Selecting the right contractor is crucial for the successful execution of the project. The architectural design firm can assist in this process by preparing tender documents, evaluating bids, and recommending a suitable contractor based on their expertise and bid amount.

Construction Administration

As the construction commences, the role of the architectural design firm extends to administering the construction process if required. They ensure that the construction is proceeding according to the plans, within the stipulated budget, and adhering to the timeline. They also address any on-site issues that may arise, ensuring the project stays on track.

Handover and Closeout

Upon completion of construction, the project is handed over to the client. The architectural design firm ensures that all the finishing touches are in place, and the project meets the quality standards set forth at the inception.

Key Considerations in Navigating the Architectural Design Journey

The transition from concept to construction should be a structured process, reliant on a collaborative approach between the client and the architectural design firm. Architectural design firms strive to balance modern design with the location’s historical essence, ensuring each project aligns with client expectations and contributes positively to the local architectural scene. This process is broken down into stages, meticulously planned to ensure the final structure resonates with the client's vision and meets essential standards, whether for high-end residential architecture, commercial, or industrial development projects.

Initiating an architectural design project entails understanding key factors: the site's characteristics like topography, climate, and local regulations, budget allocation to meet design aspirations within financial bounds, material selection for aesthetics and sustainability, and opting for energy-efficient design solutions for a greener footprint. Selecting a reputable architectural design firm ensures a seamless transition from conceptualisation to construction, aligning with your preferences and the project's functional needs throughout.

SAN Architecture's Client-Centric Approach

At SAN Architecture, we pride ourselves on taking a straightforward, client-focused approach to every architectural design project. Established in 2019 in Christchurch, our firm specialises in delivering practical and economically viable design solutions across residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

Our process begins with a thorough feasibility analysis, followed by conceptual design development tailored to each client's vision and budget. We navigate the complexities of planning approvals and construction documentation before moving to the construction phase.

Our goal is to simplify the design journey for our clients, ensuring a transparent, collaborative experience that results in functional and aesthetically pleasing structures, contributing to Christchurch's evolving architectural narrative.

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