Common Questions - FAQ - Education

Why hire an Architect?

Hiring an Architect is fundamentally important.

The first reason is Health & Life Safety. An Architect has been highly trained regarding our health & life safety in the construction industry. There are many life related issues and building codes that are difficult to interpret by non-professionals.  Circumventing the permit process and not following building codes by novice personnel during the early stages of a project can create future issues for the building and owner.  Years down the road what seemed like an inexpensive project will end up creating performance issues, causing the owner to incur additional cost out weighing any initial cost incurred if they had hired a licensed Architect and/or licensed Contractor in the first place. In some cases complete demolition is the only way to rectify a building without permits. Building without a permit may save money up front, but will inevitably cost more in the end. Inevitably, it pays in the long run to hire a licensed Architect and a licensed Contractor to obtain approved Building Permits.

The second reason is Design. Architects possess a strong understanding of the relationship between human ergonomics, the world around us and the buildings in which we inhabit. Most Schools of Architecture have an intense 5 or 6 year program including 4 hour design classes. After college, graduates must apprentice for 3 years then pass multiple tests written by the National Certification Architectural Review Board (NCARB). All of this experience makes an Architect highly trained and capable when it comes to completing your project.  A project of any size, budget or location is designed to its fullest potential by an Architect. It is the Architect’s duty to insure your investment will be aesthetically pleasing, functional and of value throughout the life of the building. Also, Architects possess the knowledge necessary to design in combination with value engineering, environmental sensitivity and sustainability.

The third reason is Trust. A person’s home or a company’s building is often their largest monetary asset. Why would you entrust this to anyone who claims, with out credentials, to be a builder/designer? The license provided by the State is also recognition that the government will trust in an architect to perform duties sustaining the health, life and safety within our buildings and homes. Non-registrants can not guarantee the health, life and safety of our buildings.

What do you need to start your home design project?

An idea. We at Cornell Construction Inc. will take your idea and expand it into a tangible project. In order to expedite your project any documentation relating to your property and/or building is extremely helpful.

What is the CCIBA Design Process?         

            Our design process consists of 3 stages:

             1st Stage: Pre-Design – Programming – Concept & Schematic Design


            2nd Stage: Design Development – Construction Documents – Engineering


            3rd Stage: Permitting – Construction Pricing – Construction Management

Each stage is vital to the development of a building in today’s ever changing world. Each step is carefully considered to yield optimal results for each client and their desired outcome.

The First Stage varies greatly on the scope of the job. Additions and Remodels require extensive drawings of the existing building called “As-Builts” to take place prior to any design. New projects will need in-depth site investigations.

Our design team will guide you through this process, with confidence and experience, in order to develop a design that best fits your specific needs.

We will work closely with you during the design stage in order to move forward into the Construction Documents stage. Throughout the first stage and development we will be in close contact with you, the governing agencies and the community to help simultaneously resolve all of design issues.

The Second Stage is where we take all these ideas and make them work. At this time, a Final Design has been selected and a bulk of the work required to secure a permit and approval from building codes begins. This is when the Construction Documents are fully developed. Upon substantial completion of the Construction Documents we will have a final review meeting with the client that covers all the specific details including, lighting, appliances, finishes and color selections. Preliminary construction pricing may begin towards the end of this process as well as any financing. During this stage your plans will be submitted to our structural, electrical, plumbing and mechanical consultant engineers to implement major components and determine that all the building systems are interfaced correctly to achieve the highest level of building integrity.

The Third Stage is the most exciting! Your project’s design has reached maturity and it is time to make it a REALITY!  Next, we will route your completed plans to the various building agencies, officials and obtain the Building Permit. This can be a complicated and tedious area that requires a keen understanding and communication of the plan review process. It can be complicated and frustrating though very rewarding when properly submitted.  The project will be reviewed by the Zoning, Engineering, Wastewater, Hillside development, Health and Building Safety Departments. Upon approval of the drawings, we can obtain the permit for you as your Authorized Representative. Most agencies require that the Architect and/or a licensed, bonded and Registered Contractor obtain the permit, depending on whether it is residential or commercial. Cornell Construction Inc. can obtain the permit and does have the required “Bond Exemption Certificates”. Then the construction can begin.  You can contract us to follow through with the construction and/or solely provide Construction Management. During Construction Management we oversee the project to ensure that the overall intent is acheived.

Helpful Links


City, County, State American Institute of Architects Pima County Development Services City of Tucson Development Services Better Business Bureau

Town of Oro Valley Development Services


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General Environmental Issues: Talks by the foremost people involved in a greener future Environmental Defense Fund New Products Green News Government Carbon Footprint Calculator

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