Understanding the New AXP: Project Development & Documentation

On June 29, the Intern Development Program (IDP) will be updated to reflect six broad areas of architectural practice—and renamed the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). To help you prepare for this change, we launched a monthly blog series that breaks down the tasks associated with each area. Plus, we offer real-world examples of opportunities that count toward the AXP.

What is Project Development & Documentation?

Project Development & Documentation occurs after the client has approved the schematic design. In this practice area, you will refine the design by coordinating details and selecting materials. You will prepare documents to obtain the necessary building department approvals and create the written and graphic instructions used for construction of the project. These documents must be accurate, consistent, complete, and comprehensible.

Project Development & Documentation Tasks (Required Hours: 1,520)

Upon finishing the AXP, you should be able to competently perform the following tasks:

  • Communicate design ideas to the client graphically
  • Prepare submittals for regulatory approval
  • Communicate design ideas to client with two-dimensional (2-D) computer aided design software
  • Select furniture, fixtures and equipment that meet client's design requirements and needs
  • Communicate design ideas to the client using hand drawings
  • Communicate design ideas to client with three-dimensional (3-D) computer aided design software
  • Update Cost of Work estimates

Are you having trouble gaining Project Development & Design experience? Reference the above tasks when meeting with your supervisor, and make a plan to complete the AXP.

Real-World Examples

This practice area has the largest number of required hours and a small number of tasks. It can be easy to overlook the importance of these tasks, but they are all vital in ensuring the accuracy of a complete and understandable set of construction documents. Whether it is verbal, graphic, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional, your ability to communicate with all of the parties in the design process is key.

While working with a client, regulatory agency, or consultant, my most successful projects (and greatest opportunities to learn) developed from a foundation of strong communication. On one of my first jobs, I met with a client during the design development phase in an existing building shell he had leased for a commercial project. I used my ability to “communicate design ideas to the client using hand drawings” as we worked out a solution for the reception area. After the meeting, I was able to quickly transfer that sketch into a two-dimensional design software. I quickly discovered that this ability was critical to further coordinate the design intent with my client and prepare accurate construction documents with my consultants.

IDP Experience Calculator

Use the IDP Experience Calculator to see how your current hours will merge into the six new experience areas! Any hours that fall outside of the six new areas can be used to fulfill additional jurisdictional requirements.

About the Author

Matthew Friesz is the Outreach Manager, Experience + Education at NCARB. In this position, he helps support experience and education programs as they evolve with the architecture profession. Friesz has four years of experience in architectural design and project management. While working for architecture-engineering firms in Bismarck, ND, and Houston, TX, his projects ranged from corporate tenant fit-ups to K-12 education campuses. 

He holds a Master of Architecture degree from North Dakota State University and is licensed to practice architecture in the state of Texas. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, has achieved the credential of LEED Green Associate, and holds the NCARB Certificate for national reciprocity.