We are enthusiastic about good design. Our Approach overviews how we collaborate with owners, designers, manufacturers, and builders to deliver a high-performance enclosure that will match your project goals.
Enclosure Design Process
Regardless of delivery method, 4EA‘s design process includes 4 main steps:
Step 1: Understand the project goals.
Before we can design a building enclosure, we need to verify the goal. Different projects have different stakeholders and different ambitions. These sometimes-competing ambitions need to be reconciled by the design team into one buildable design.
This important step is where we take time to understand the stakeholders’ ambitions, risk tolerance, budgetary constraints, and other project goals. We realize that, while important, the building enclosure is one part of a bigger puzzle. It needs to fit.
Step 2: Determine assemblies that meet the goals.
After we take time to understand the project goals, we help the team establish high-level strategies for the project. This step also includes initial conversations regarding assemblies and materials.
There are a myriad of materials and systems available on the market. We help the design team know what’s out there and provide recommendations on material and assembly options that can be applied to meet the project goals. These options can then be reviewed and considered by the stakeholders.
Step 3: Empower decision makers to choose.
This step in our design process is what sets us apart. Rather than telling a decision maker what to do, we empower decision makers so they can make informed choices. As design consultants, we take the project goals, match them with enclosure design options for materials, assemblies, and approaches, and then help guide the team to a decision that fits the project constraints.
This step is where we help set performance expectations for different enclosure designs, set maintenance expectations, and discuss alternate approaches that may be suggested by other parties.
At the end of this step, our goal is to have a clear and informed direction on how the design should proceed by the right decision maker.
Step 4: Carry through design into the details and interfaces.
Once the high-level enclosure design decisions are made, we help the design team carry the enclosure design through the drawings, details, and specifications. This is where our role on the project team will vary by delivery approach (Peer Review versus Full Design). The goal at the end of this step is a design package that clearly shows the design intent, which itself aligns with the project goals for the building enclosure.
Peer Review (Design Assistance)
When working in a Peer Review role, 4EA collaborates directly with your designer of record. Your designer of record generates all drawings and specifications and maintains design responsibility.
We review drawings and specifications at defined intervals and provide red lines and commentary as needed to guide the designer toward an enclosure that will meet the project goals. Depending on the complexity of the project, our level of involvement may vary from a limited amount of involvement to in-depth design charettes and multiple full drawing reviews. We also produce sketches to help convey recommendations.
With our input, the designer of record takes on the responsibility of incorporating comments and recommendations into the final construction package.
Full Enclosure Design
When working in a Full Design role, 4EA provides stamped Building Enclosure (BE) drawings and complimentary specifications which can be used for pricing, permitting, and construction. In this delivery method, we share design responsibility with the architect of record for the enclosure design.
In Washington State specifically, these documents also include the language that is required to comply with EHB 1848.