even if not part of the typical architectural services, programming is the result and the premise for the "igniting idea" which sets off the entire project and is the duty and benefit of the initiator, developer or simply "the client". a lot is going on in this phase and if at the get go can be esoteric or down to earth, there is a lot of figuring out which goes on before any design will take place. the critical components for the definition of the project needs be satisfied and accepted for the project to advance to a reality. a service we are happy to produce or assist with is the project definition.
premise to the who, what and hows, is the reversed engineering of the executed project, which at the point of programming, does not exist even virtually but has all variables and constants set. the relations which define the project and need to be satisfied are the ones which put the project in clients terms and also allows integration of the project in the existing. client terms are anything from clients will to clients purchasing power and integration in existing, anything from community acceptance to passing all codes and regulations requirements. A very detailed program, eliminates confusion at design and construction phases, should the project be a reality and reduces the risk factors to a minimum. A clear project definition, is the form in which the program can be followed all the way into construction, augmented with all the acquired intelligence at design time and is as useful to the entire design team as it is useful at the construction time and a great complement to the construction documentation.
from the construction of a shed to the most complex structure, the initiator of the project establishes a proforma which validates the project in real terms. the criteria of the usefulness of the project is expressed in numbers and goes against the resources capabilities, the client can backup. the proforma, is established at this phase though comparison to other similar projects and caries the risk of comparing it to either a poor data pool or an insufficiently defined client criteria, at the time when both are factors are still not solidified. this is the phase at which "the experience" of the client is inverse proportional to the risk. but important to remember that the so called experience is the price paid previously for acquiring that acumen or an extra resource capability which allowed the absorption of possible definition errors. the ultimate question is reflected in the allowance the project is set for, be it 5%, 10% or 25% which would cover the risks. obviously, on a set budget, a higher allowance bites in the project cost and ultimately the size of it. not an easy task, but a necessarily painful exercise in which the designer involvement can and might make a difference.
the cost of integrating the project carries also a wide range of criteria. in the extremes cases of a project being either totally contained in private domain or highly entrenched in common domain, carries a great interest differential which results ultimately in different costs of implementation. components of these factors needs be better understood as soon as possible in the decision process of which the designer might be able to help with. this is an other aspect we can help define.