The Architecture Process

Our team of New Jersey architects has the experience & expertise to help you with a wide variety of projects. Click on the toggles 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 your project. Everything is designed to fit your needs as well as your budget.

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.

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.

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. Our 3D modeling capabilities will allow you to view accurate renderings and walkthroughs of what your home will look like during the design process.
  • Photo-realistic renderings: An option that can be used as a tool for Owner to fully understand project design

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.

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

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.
New Jersey Dream Home
New Jersey Dream Home

Client Testimonials

It was a pleasure working with JMA. The extension to our Victorian house is beautiful, preserving the character of the property inside and out while giving us additional space and better flow inside. John combines professionalism and creativity in his work and worked seamlessly with our contractor: we are delighted we chose John and have recommended JMA to others!

- Ridgewood, New Jersey

I have already recommended John Musinski to several friends who have also called him to possibly work with him on their own projects. He is very professional, likable and worked within our budget and most importantly listened to our thoughts and ideas for our project. We met with several architects who did not listen to our budget or time constraints and were very pleased with John's professionalism. We have and will continue to recommend him to others. Excellent Architect!

- Suffern, New York

We had a wonderful experience working with John on this otherwise would be painful and tiring renovation process. He was very patient, met with us many times to listen to our ideas and needs, understood and materialized our dreams into his design. His accurate, detailed design style made our renovation project flow quite smoothly. We did not have to make any single change after the final drawings were done and put into execution. During the renovation process, there was never any confusion or misunderstanding regarding the design. It was so clear, detailed, and easy to be carried out without question. Six months later, our dream became reality! We feel very blessed to have John as our Architect.

- Allendale, New Jersey

John did a great job coordinating the plans with the process of making wine in the design of our new winemaking facility. He was very helpful with assisting us in getting the town approvals. Excellent job and would recommend him to anyone looking for a very good Architect.

- California Wineworks, Ramsey, New Jersey

We met with a few other Architect's before John. Once we met him and saw his work on his OWN home, we were convinced he was the one. John is incredibly talented -- has a keen sense of style and eye for detail. He knew almost immediately after showing him a few houses and pictures what we were trying to accomplish. We are still in the very early stages of the relationship but are thrilled with his enthusiasm to help us turn our house into our home. He is working on making us a master plan from which we can do in stages or all at once.

- Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey

JMA Architects did an excellent job with preparing the floor plans for our new retail store. John helped expedite the process while maintaining our tight schedule. We will be using JMA for future store locations.

- Verizon Wireless Zone, Mahwah, New Jersey

John never let us down through our short interaction (possibly shorter due to his willingness and ability to revise designs daily). John is very personable to work with and will treat your issues as his!

- CandyWorld, Garden State Plaza, Paramus, New Jersey

After interviewing several Architects for our addition, we immediately knew John was going to be the right Architect to work with. Putting an addition onto a small spilt level house, without it looking like an “addition to a small split level house” was one of our goals. Listening to our ideas, John returned with proposals that included his costs and suggestions that aligned with our budget. The result was so much more than we expected. We have, and will continue to recommend JMA Architects to friends and family.

- Wyckoff, New Jersey

We felt very comfortable working with John. In that we had limited space to work with, John incorporated his ideas with some of ours, and created a very appealing plan. We would recommend him to anyone looking for an Architect.

- Suffern, New York

JMA Architecture Services

| Sustainable Green Design

JMA Architects takes pride in its "green" practices within the architectural industry

| 3D Drawings / Renderings

To help our clients better visualize their project, we can create realistic 3D renderings

| Consultants

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

Project Types

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

Single Family Homes

Townhouses and Apartments

Multi-family and Institutional Housing

Professional Offices

Retail stores

Medical Offices

Tenant Fit-Outs

Recreational Facilities

Outpatient Medical Facilities


Accessible (barrier-free) Design

Consulting-Only Services

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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