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  • Writer's pictureHannah Skidmore, MBA

Six Phases of Animal Facility Design

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

How to design a vet clinic or animal shelter

When designing a new vet clinic or animal shelter, there is a general process that every client follows. There may be some variation in starting point, but the order of events is generally the same.

  1. Feasibility and Planning

  2. Schematic Design

  3. Design Development

  4. Construction Documents

  5. Bidding/Negotiating

  6. Construction

Six phases to design your animal shelter or vet clinic

Below are the six main phases of the design-to-construction process:

Phase 1 - Feasibility and Planning

The design process begins with the feasibility and planning phase. In this phase, the DLI team assesses the

  • needs of the building

  • future goals of the facility

  • specific operational requirements

With that information in mind, the DLI experts create the Program of Space. The Program of Space is a spreadsheet noting the rooms and sizes to determine the overall size of the new facility.

Once the DLI team has a rough idea of the size of the facility, we use our proprietary approach to budgeting to provide an Opinion of Probable Construction Costs.

The goal of the first phase is to determine the initial size, scope, and budget of the project. By having this initial information, our clients have an understanding of the feasibility of the project and assess their commitment to moving forward.

Phase 2 - Schematic Design

In the schematic design phase (sometimes combined with the Feasibility and Planning phase), the DLI team creates the floor plan for the new facility based on findings in phase one. Our clients receive a room-by-room description of DLI recommendations. Our recommendations provide cost awareness to the clients on topics such as

  • interior finishes

  • mechanical, electrical, plumbing engineering

  • fire protection engineering

  • noise control engineering

At this stage, the floor plans and site planning work include project management and the expertise of a civil engineer, architect, and sub-consultants based on the project requirements.

The goal of this phase is to finalize the floor plan and site plan in adherence to the city’s Planning and Zoning requirements. The client can then submit the site plan package to their local Planning and Zoning Department for approval. Keep in mind that our clients have access to the DLI experts to answer any of the Planning and Zoning Board’s animal care facility questions (which is often!).

At this phase, we often recommend that our clients hire their Construction Manager to assist in cost estimating if they haven’t already.

Phase 3 - Design Development

The design development phase typically begins when the client either has approval from the Planning and Zoning Department or is confident that they will receive approval to move forward with the animal care facility.

This phase of design focuses on the

  • Engineered systems

  • Building materials

  • Finish materials

The goal of this phase is to begin to develop the design plan for the new facility. During this phase, we use the expertise of an architect, civil engineer, geotechnical engineer, structural engineer, landscape architect, and other sub-consultants based on the project.

Phase 4 - Construction Documents

The construction documents phase is the most extensive phase of design and serves as a continuation of design development. During this phase, the DLI team creates the actual blueprints and specifications for the building project.

The DLI team of experts and relevant sub-consultants work closely together during this phase to make sure their drawings are accurate and coordinated. The Construction Manager also provides periodic cost estimates to ensure the design team stays on budget.

The goal of this phase is to complete the plans required for the Construction Manager for two reasons:

  • To obtain bids from subcontractors for an overall construction cost

  • To submit the final plans to the Building Department for review and approval

Phase 5 - Bidding/Negotiating

The bidding and negotiating phase involves several components.

The Construction Manager

  • obtains bids from subcontractors for the work described and shown in the construction documents and specifications.

  • Works with the client to agree on the construction price for the building project.

  • obtains any permits required to begin construction of the facility.

During this phase, the DLI design team is available to answer any questions from the bidders regarding the construction documents and specifications.

Keep in mind, DLI recommends that our client follows the "Construction Manager At Risk" construction delivery method. However, there are other construction delivery methods (such as Design-Build or Design-Bid-Build) that DLI can follow.

Phase 6 - Construction

The construction phase is the final step of the project. This phase begins when the client agrees to a price with the contractor and the Building Department has provided a building permit.

During this phase, the DLI design team is available to provide construction administration. Construction administration includes:

  • reviewing contractor questions

  • reviewing contractor payment applications

  • reviewing equipment submittals throughout construction

  • making periodic site visits to review the construction

Ready to design your animal shelter or vet clinic?

Are you ready to design your animal shelter or vet clinic? Regardless of what stage you may be in with the animal care facility, the DLI experts would love to meet with you. Schedule a virtual consultation to discuss your building project.

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