Getting Started in the Construction Process: Part 2

Date: November 22, 2019

Recap: A new commercial construction project may be the largest expenditure a person or company ever makes. As a result, even for seasoned professionals, the process is exciting, but perhaps daunting at the same time.

This is a four-part series on taking a project from concept to completion. In part two, I’ll review the design and permitting process.


Program and Prepare Schematic design

In schematic design, programming the project begins in earnest. Your architect and engineer will create a rough draft of the site plan, floor plan, and possibly sketches or renderings of what your building could look like.

Hold a Pre-development Meeting with the City

Many cities offer a pre-development meeting. Take advantage of this offering. These meetings are a crucial step in making sure your project has the proper heading. Each city is slightly different in how they run pre-development meetings, but topics generally discussed include; Zoning, Fire Code, Road Improvements, and Utilities to name a few. To help simplify your search, we have provided links for the City Planning & Development Departments for Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.

Design Development

Now that you’ve prepared a schematic design and had an initial meeting with the city to make sure the project is headed in the right direction, both you and the architect have a better idea of your building’s layout, it’s time to finalize it. The design development process will see things like doors, windows, and other structural details finalized. The result of this process should include floor plans, site plans, elevations, and other drawings more closely resembling the completed building.

Construction Drawings

Once all the details have been agreed upon by you and the architect, construction documents can be produced. These will include finalized floor plans, site plans, elevations and, more importantly, specifications for construction materials and details. Unless a major unforeseen issue arises during the construction process, these documents will reflect almost exactly what your final building will look like.

Finalize Your Cost

The construction documents you received in the last step are very important for finalizing your cost during this process. The construction documents allow your contractor to receive competitive and complete bids from subcontractors and vendors. Allow your contractor two weeks to review the construction drawings and specifications. At Bob Moore, we use BuildingConnected to send plans and specs to subcontractors to ensure adequate subcontractor bid coverage. Your contractor will send the proposal with the cost breakdowns and clarifications for your review.

Contracting With Your Design-Builder or General Contractor

Now, the construction drawings and specifications can convert into the contract documents and the cost can convert to the contract amount. Fortunately in this industry, we have a general consensus on contract language that has been honed over time by The American Institute of Architects (AIA). These are industry standard contracts and guidelines for contracts that they have developed since their inception in 1857. Bob Moore can use these AIA documents to assist in drafting the contract, preparing the exhibits, and have it ready to execute.


The permitting process begins with the Pre-Development Conference and continues through design. Once construction plans are complete, your contractor can submit for building permit. The permitting processes vary from city to city, but an experienced design team and contractor can help expedite the process. Here are some links for permit information for Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.

Finalize financing

The final step before construction begins is to finalize your financing. At this point, you will probably have a bank in mind that you’ve spoken with about financing for your project. At first, this may seem like one of the most daunting pieces of the process. But it doesn’t have to be. Here is a guide on what to expect in the loan process. After financing is in order, you are ready to begin the next part of the process: Construction.

Check out our third installment for next steps…


Preview: At this point, you’ve designed, permitted and contracted your project. In our next post, we’ll cover the actual construction: ground breaking, project management, on site supervision, quality control, and schedule.


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