Sometimes programming is overlooked as a design phase. We may be familiar with schematic design (where the concepts are developed), or design development (where the building systems are integrated), and most assuredly construction documents (where the dimensioned and notated building plans are issued.) But before all of those can happen, a program must be established.
Many times the client develops a program. If the client does not, the architect definitely does. Even if the client is inclined to develop their own program, it is advisable to allow the architect to assist. Why? The architect may be aware of possibilities to consider stemming from their experiences with other clients. The architect will allow for necessary mechanical and interstitial spaces. The architect, being one step removed from the processes, may be able to see areas of potential improvement that those close to the day to day activities take for granted.
If the client is not aware that a program is being generated, that means that the architect is not sharing that with them, instead, they are still doing it but in the confines of their office. It is valuable to share your program with your client as a confirmation that you have fully understood their needs. Clients and consultants alike should insist on a written program for best results.
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