project assessment

Assessment and Requirements

The assessment of client’s needs is actually one of the most important expertises that an agency can offer a client. Often, the client has overshot or undershot the scope of the services needed in order to be successful, so the Portales assessment phase is designed to generate a custom project requirements plan, define a clear course of expectations for the client and the agency, establish a series of checkpoints, timelines and accountabilities, and to determine a budget or an estimation of costs.


In order for Portales to begin assessment, we usually start with some basic questions, such as:

  • Does the client have an existing site?
  • Does the client have a strict budget?
  • Are there any transportation or logistics issues?
  • Is a feasibility study needed?
  • Are there any energy considerations or requirements?
  • Are there any parking issues?

Site Visit

The site visit will give the Portales designers and project managers the first real insight to the possibilities and limitations of the project. Talking about materials and design elements is very exciting but it’s only after a site visit when a designer can truly have the knowledge to go to the drawing board and begin the creative process. Without a site visit, the designer would never realize the functional requirements that is best for a location.

1st Consult

After the first 2 phases which are focused on information gathering, we are now prepared to deliver some high level consulting so that the client can be educated about the available options and possibilities of a project. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Explanation of the process and possibilities
  • Timeframe (3 month average for final designs on residential and 1 year for commercial)
  • Team needs
  • Contract perimeters

The Pitch

Once a site visit and initial consult has been completed, our team then has the information needed to generate a thorough requirements and specifications document. Working from this document, our designers are now able to start sketching ideas to paper and begin preparing for the client pitch. Our pitch process consists of:

  • 3-4 designs ranging from clean/basic to extreme/complex are sketched and sometimes CAD renderings are generated
  • The project manager and designer presents these concepts to the client and the process of comparison and contrast begins
  • The client communicates the hits and misses so that the designer has a clear understanding of the modifications that need to be made for the second evolution
  • The designers go back to the drawing board with all the input from the client and converges all the designs to one single design concept
  • Another site visit will be needed at this point for more targeted measurements and other quantitative data to be attained
  • Final concepts are presented to the client and a formal sign off from the client is required before more man hours are spent on design work
  • After sign-off, the client has the right to make design change orders but at an additional hourly rate

Project Develoment Phase

During the development phase, well the project does just that–develop. Some of the things that are accomplished are;

  • Working Drawings
  • Engineering issues are resolved, such as, how thick the concrete should be? How big do the beams need to be? How deep does the foundation need to be?
  • Permitting

Construction Phase

During the development phase, well the project does just that–develop. Some of the things that are accomplished are;

  • Construction budget to be determined
  • Labor/Sub-contractor contracts
  • Materials purchasing
  • Determine finishes and fixtures
  • Building inspections
  • Landscaping