The Architect or home designer will need the survey of your lot so that they can work with the orientation of the building site in order to maximize your views, but lot orientation effects many other aspects of your home as well. 

Schematic design (also called Preliminary Design, Initial Consultation and Design, or Building Program & Site Analysis, among other things): Here the architect visits and analyzes the building site and gathers information from the clients about their design ideas, budget, and housing needs to develop a detailed “program,” a written  statement of  your needs and design goals. Putting it all together, the architect comes up with key concepts and rough sketches showing the size, general layout, and appearance of the building and how it fits into the building site. A couple of options may be presented. It is critical that you communicate clearly to the architect what is important to you in the design or you can waste a lot of time and money going back and forth on design ideas that do not meet your needs.

Design development:  Once the client accepts a  preliminary design, this is the nitty-gritty work of turning a rough concept of spatial relationships into a real building design with floor plans, a roof design, and  some of the interior and exterior trims and details  that give a building style and character. This will usually include some scale drawings, a basic structural plan, and basic specifications for the main components of the building. With modern design software, you can often see your whole house at this point in 3-D and walk around and through the 3D building on the computer screen.

Construction documents: These are the detailed drawings (blueprints) and written specifications or “specs” that should be detailed enough  that you can get apples-to-apples bids from three contractors, who will produce essentially the same building. Detailed drawings are also required to obtain a building permit.