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Phase IV: Construction Documents (CD)

Goal: to prepare the technical written and graphic documents for obtaining government approvals, general contractor bidding and construction.

Fee Breakdown: 25-35% of the total fee

Instructions for Building

The construction documents phase adds detail and technical information such that a contractor has instructions to build the project as designed. This is not all that is required, as the contractor is responsible for aspects of project construction.

This phase may also include several owner/architect meetings, although not as likely as in previous phases since most of the design decisions have been made. This time is more about the architect and consultants working through the technical aspects of the project.


Now the project is submitted to the local building department for what we call ‘plan check.’ Here, the various city agencies review the submitted documents for compliance with the codes. The owner will be required to pay a fee to the city when the documents are submitted to the plan check. The timeframe for this process varies depending on your project’s size, complexity and the speed of the local jurisdiction.

After the various agencies review the project they will return the documents with corrections. Every project has some level of corrections. This does not mean that the work was done improperly. The architect and consultants will then fix the corrections and resubmit the documents for a second review. If the submitted documents then meet the agencies approval, the owner will be allowed to “pull a permit” to construct the project. All this means is that you will pay the permit fee, allowing construction to commence.


At the end of the Construction Documents phase, the previously listed documents from the previous phases are updated in full detail. Additional documents will also be created as part of this phase and can vary greatly depending on the scope of the project. A completed Construction Document set is highly technical and can be quite extensive. Those unfamiliar with the industry will often have a difficult time comprehending these types of drawings.

End of the Phase

The Construction Document phase typically ends when the permit is pulled in preparation for the beginning of construction. Sometimes a permit is pulled before all of the Construction Documents are complete since not all of the documents are required to obtain a permit.