Commercial Architecture Services for the Merrimack Valley and Beyond

ACS is passionate about our community. We think about the past, present, and future of where we work and live. We’re fascinated with the craft and zeitgeist of older buildings. 

We believe that our connection with the past is prelude for the future. We enjoy working with existing (and new) commercial buildings and using selected elements to inform and enhance the way we repurpose and care for them. Our commercial sector has experience in office, industrial, retail, restaurant, and specialty facilities. Our work can be found outside the 128 belt-way in Burlington, Waltham, Lowell, Haverhill, Lawrence, and the surrounding communities in the Merrimack Valley as well as the Hudson, Marlborough, Ayer, Somerville, Medford, Melrose, and other communities along the Route 93 corridor. 

Our Process

Schematic Design (SD)

Every project begins with a relationship. ACS will meet with you to learn about your goals and to assemble a working model for moving forward.

This meeting allows your project team to learn about us, as well. From that first meeting, we engage in a feasibility study. We review your budget and building program and test them against our market knowledge and experience. Before we embark on a schematic design we’ll conclude together that the project as construed is viable and appears to be feasible and will meet your established goals. 

The design sketches and bubble diagrams of schematic design are next vetted against the challenges of zoning, planning, conservation, or historical standards and requirements. We do this before we get too far ahead of ourselves and get locked into a given pathway to completion. Once the team is comfortable with the layout, adjacencies, and the “flow” of the schematic design, ACS finalizes the steps taken to date and a meeting is arranged to present to the client team. A client approval is required before we advance to the next phase. This step ensures all parties are on the same page.

Design Development (DD)

The conclusion of Schematic Design means we’ve established the basic design concept and have a general understanding of the project components, their adjacencies, massing, fenestration, orientation, and a concept for circulation through and between each component space. 

Design Development takes a deeper design dive into the project and looks more closely at the detailed descriptions of all design components and spaces. Building systems such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection are introduced and integrated into the project. Materials and finishes are also flushed out and become part of the picture. A construction estimate of some form is often introduced at this time. Finally, a meeting is held to review the DD result with the client. An approval is required before we advance to the next phase.


Construction Documents (CD)

The Design Development phase drawings are the completion of the design work but only the beginning of the phase where the design is translated into a buildable set of documents.

This Phase is called Construction Documents. CD’s quantify and specify the many detailed components, assemblies, and systems that comprise the final result. Proper notation, description, and dimensioning of these items allow the building team the proper foundation on which to price and build the project. We believe that good CD’s are critical for ensuring a high-quality construction result and for keeping the project budget on a stable footing. A second estimate is often rendered at 50% CD, and the work of sub-consultants (mechanical/electrical/plumbing/fire protection) is finalized and integrated into the documents. Specifications are assembled and a meeting is held to hand off the work to the Owner team.

Bidding/Negotiating (B/N)

Bidding allows the Owner team to obtain multiple bids for the project which helps them hit their financial targets as well as interview various General Contractors for getting the best fit for the project. 

ACS can help the Owner distribute the documents, answer questions in an efficient manner and evaluate bidders. We can also provide a list of general contractors for the Owner’s review. Once bidders are identified, ACS distributes the plans and coordinates responses to their questions. We generally conduct a walk-thru which allows the bidders to see the site and ask questions face to face. A meeting is held to open and discuss the bids. Following the collection of bids, we help evaluate and negotiate the bid price and select the best fit for the Owner.

Construction Administration (CA)

The bidding phase concludes with the selection of a general contractors for the project. A contract is assembled and the CA starts with a kick-off meeting. 

ACS has designed over 270 projects in the 18 years we’ve been in operation. We’ve seen many different ways to handle Commercial CA. We believe the goal of CA is to enhance communication between parties and improve the execution process while keeping the focus of the work on maintaining the best possible outcome for our client. Affidavits are prepared (initial and final) for ACS and any sub-consultant on the job. Requests for information are responded to shop drawings and submittals are reviewed, architectural supplemental instructions are assembled and change orders are executed. Field meetings, minutes, and reports are prepared and ongoing construction-related business is taken up and resolved. Pay applications are reviewed and a punch list is managed. The final close-out documents required of the GC are supervised and managed by ACS. 

Interested in working with us?