215 Mahwah Road, Mahwah NJ 07430
P. 201.529.3524 E. Info@JMA-Architects.com



Click on the titles below and you will find detailed descriptions of each step of the architectural process. JMA Architects success is grounded in the fact that we focus on the small details just as much as we focus on the whole project. Each step provides important benefits to the development of the projects. Everything is designed to fit your needs as well as your budget.


JMA will discuss objectives, goals and ideas before beginning the process.

The Architect will have an initial meeting with the client (Owner) to discuss overall project goals and objectives, establish a preliminary budget and determine project size and location:

  • Feasibility Studies: Determine if a project is financially feasible using a number of different methods.
  • Programming: Develop a program based on Owner’s “wish list”. Conceptual and preliminary design will begin at this time.
  • Concept studies: Create conceptual options of proposed design.
  • Site Selection: Assist with selection of site for new construction.
  • Zoning Analysis: Check local zoning regulations and determine any restrictions for project.
  • Board of Adjustment: Assist with zoning variance approval process and attend public hearing if necessary.
  • Existing Conditions Surveys: Field measure and document existing interior and exterior conditions. All documents to be in electronic CAD format.

    Schematic plans will be produced for review of all components of the project.

    The first phase in the design of a project where the Architect will prepare schematic diagrams which give a general view of the components and scale of the project after detailed discussions with the client (Owner):

  • Schematic Design: Develop multiple schemes for Owner’s review to decide on one or combination of more than one to develop and refine during the following phase.
  • Preliminary budget estimating: Create a budget estimate, with the assistance of a contractor, to determine if project is feasible before moving forward.

    JMA will prepare presentation drawings to describe and develop the design concept.

    The Architect prepares drawings and other presentation documents to crystallize the design concept and describe it in terms of architectural, electrical, mechanical and structural systems. The Architect will prepare a statement of the probable project cost if necessary:

  • Design Development: The Architect will use different tools for Owner to visualize and fully understand the project before moving forward
  • Budget estimating: Create a budget estimate, with the assistance of consultants and contractors, to confirm if project is feasible before moving forward
  • Master planning: A determination to do a master plan with construction in phases will be made by the Owner and Architect based on these estimates.
  • 3D mass modeling: An option that can be used as a tool for Owner to fully understand project design.
  • Photo-realistic renderings: An option that can be used as a tool for Owner to fully understand project design

    Working drawings and specifications are produced for bidding and construction purposes.

    The Architect prepares working drawings, specifications and bidding documents for client (Owner) to obtain competitive bids, building permit and to guide the contractor during construction:

  • Construction Documents: Working drawings and specifications work in conjunction to provide enough information for design intent to be constructed per documentation. If needed, consultants will be included as part of the bidding and construction documents. All documents to be in electronic CAD format.
  • Working Drawings: A set of fully dimensioned and scaled drawings including floor plans, building elevations, cross sections, details, schedules, notes, etc, as needed to convey full intent of design.
  • Specifications: A written set of specifications based on the current sixteen division CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) format which complement the drawings with additional information and requirements to create a “standard” of construction for a given project.
  • ADA compliance: Design layout to include all current adopted local code barrier-free requirements.
  • Egress studies: Determine if plan layout conforms to all building and life safety codes to protect the health, safety and welfare of all occupants.

    JMA Architects can assist the client (Owner) during the entire bid process.

    The Architect can assist the client (Owner) during the entire bid process:

  • Bid analysis: Review all contractor bids and compare all bids in their entirety to confirm if overall bid includes all aspects of the proposed construction.
  • Bid negotiation: Assist Owner with negotiating the bid prices with selected bidder(s).
  • Contractor selection: With the Owner’s assistance, determine which contractor(s) are best suited to construct the project

    JMA Architects can assist the client (Owner) during the entire construction process.

    The Architect can assist the client (Owner) during the entire construction process:

  • General Observation: Architect can visit project site on an agreed upon basis to make sure construction is being completed per construction documents.
  • Shop drawing & submittal review: Architect can review shop drawings, product data and material submissions to verify conformance with drawings and specifications.
  • Payment requisition review: Architect can review payment applications to confirm the quantity and percentage of work completed agrees with payment request.
  • Project close-out: Architect can perform a “punch list” when a project is substantially complete and before Owner makes final payment.
  • *The overall timeframe to complete the architectural process varies depending on the project. All projects are unique and will take proper time to develop. Design is a very important part of any project and needs that time to evolve to make sure your investment is planned wisely. JMA will be able to determine an estimate of time needed for the architectural process as well as a general idea of how long to complete construction after our initial meeting.


    Click on the titles below and view some of the unique services that JMA Architects offers.


    JMA Architects takes pride in its “green” practices within the architectural industry.

    The project can be designed using the latest “green” technologies:

  • LEED certification: Project can achieve a desired level of LEED certification. The Owner will need to determine extent of certification to be achieved during the initial phases of design.
  • Energy conservation: Proposed design can take advantage of current technology and rebates to reduce life cycle costs.
  • “Green” materials and methods: Current available “green” materials and equipment can be utilized and incorporated into the design of a project.

    Design-build is an excellent option to the traditional design-bid-build method of construction.

    Design-Build is an option to the traditional Design-Bid-Build method. The Contractor is part of the project team and is involved during initial phases of a project through completed construction. This ensures the project budget remains intact and the architectural plans are adhered to while maintaining superior construction quality. Visit www.CragmereDesignBuild.com for more information.


    JMA has a network of professionals that will assist in making your project a success.

  • Landscape: A landscape architect can be retained to assist in the planning and design of the exterior space and to help adapt the new structure into the surrounding landscape.
  • Civil: A civil engineer will work the new design into the existing site contours to develop and maintain proper site drainage, required setbacks and adhere to all municipal codes.
  • Surveyor: A land surveyor will provide a current property survey if necessary. Sometimes a civil engineer is capable of providing this service.
  • Kithen: A kitchen designer is sometimes used to refine kitchen layout and provide details of all kitchen cabinet locations. A commercial kitchen is planned by a kitchen equipment consultant.
  • Interiors: An interior designer will work in conjunction with the architect to coordinate the exact look of the built interior environment. This encompasses all interior items including paint colors, wall coverings, fabrics and furniture.
  • Structural: When the structural design goes beyond the abilities of the architect a structural engineer will need to be consulted. The engineer will analyze, design, plan, and research structural components and structural systems to achieve design goals.
  • Mechanical: In residential construction, the mechanical design is handled by the heating, ventilating and air conditioning contractor. A mechanical engineer will be retained for commercial projects.
  • Plumbing: In residential construction, the architect provides a plumbing riser diagram and the plumbing is installed to code by a licensed plumbing contractor. A plumbing engineer will be retained for commercial projects.
  • Electrical: In residential construction, the architect provides schematic on plans showing all electrical power, switching and lighting locations. All work to be installed by a licensed electrical contractor. An electrical engineer will be retained for all commercial projects.
  • Lighting: A lighting consultant can be used to assist in selecting the proper lighting to be used on any given project.
  • *Some of the phases and services listed above might not be included as part of your project. The Owner/Architect agreement will list scope of services that depends on the scope of work for a given project. Size and complexity of project will determine the overall scope of work. Some of these services will be listed as additional services that can be provided on an as needed basis.


    Click on the title below to view some of the different types of architecture projects JMA Architects can help you with.


    JMA Architects is capable and equipped to handle many different types and sizes of projects.

    A wide range of projects can benefit from the involvement of JMA Architects. The lists below include new construction, renovations and additions:

    Residential Projects:

  • Single family homes
  • Townhouses and apartments
  • Multi-family and institutional housing
  • Small Commercial Projects:

  • Professional offices
  • Retail stores
  • Medical offices
  • Tenant fit-outs
  • Recreational facilities
  • Outpatient medical facilities
  • Interiors
  • Accessible (barrier-free) design
  • Consulting-only services

    Click on the title below and find some answers to questions clients ask us on a regular basis. Please contact us should you have a question not listed below.


    Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers for your general information.

    Why hire JMA Architects? An Architect will bring your dreams to life. JMA will craft your individual functional requirements, needs, wishes; the conditions of your particular site and existing dwelling or building; your available funds; and the requirements of your schedule into a three-dimensional expression of your project.

    What is the architectural process and how long will it take? The process is made up of many phases. The size and complexity of the project will determine the project scope of work. See the “Services” page for a detailed description of each phase. The overall time for the whole process will depend on the size of the project, required approvals and the time needed for design phases. The amount of decision-making time you will need to achieve your goals is the biggest variable. You will be spending a lot of money and should not rush the process.

    What do I need to have for initial consultation meeting? Your ideas, thoughts, needs, wish list and budget are some of the important items needed for your initial meeting with JMA Architects. It is important to meet at the project site if possible. Also, a copy of your property survey is necessary for most projects.

    How important is it that I have an overall project budget in place? It is very important to have a general idea of your total project budget in mind. JMA will assist in developing a preliminary budget for the project. The budget will include all professional fees, permit fees, construction costs and all other items necessary to complete the project. Keep in mind, a minimum 10% contingency is a good safety factor for unforeseen conditions.

    Will I need a zoning variance? JMA will do a complete zoning review if necessary. All zoning issues will be addressed before proceeding with design and the production of construction documents. JMA can assist with the zoning board of adjustment process.

    Will I be able to view multiple design schemes? Collaboration with JMA allows you to view multiple design schemes prior to construction. Modifications are easier to make on paper and best made while working with JMA during the design phase. After viewing multiple schematic designs, you will be able to select features from each design to create your ultimate dream.

    Will my addition look like an “addition”? JMA strives to make all building additions blend in and appear as part of the original structure. This is our main goal and top priority for every one of our building addition projects.

    How long will it take to have completed construction plans? The amount of time needed to complete construction plans depends on the size of the project. The design phases usually take more time to complete due to the many decisions you will be making during these phases. The overall time will vary from project to project. Once the design has been developed and approved the construction document phase can begin and a firm estimate of time can be established.

    Can my project be constructed in phases? Master planning for future phases can be easily developed by JMA during the design of your project. Multiple construction phases for a project can be incorporated by JMA into the drawings to ease your financial burden.

    Will JMA assist with contractor selection? The drawings and specifications will allow multiple contractors to review the same documents in order for you to receive multiple bids. JMA can analyze the bids to determine the validity of each bid. We can assist with the selection of and help identify reputable contractors.

    Will JMA visit the site during construction? JMA can visit the jobsite to observe construction and to confirm that the work is being done according to plans. The frequency of visits will be determined on an “as needed” basis prior to the start of construction.

    Will we be able to incorporate “green” sustainable concepts into design? There are many materials, products, and methods of construction that can be utilized to make your project energy efficient. We are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professionals. JMA can analyze which options are most cost effective for your budget while balancing cost and payback period.