Designing Your Building in Stages

Designers by Nature are able to provide you with everything you will need to bring your project to life.

We offer various services and packages in order to provide the best service possible to our clients. Whether you are after the basic package to get your plans drawn up and ready for a builder to the more advanced package where we complete Interior Design works, Tender Documents and Project Management. You have all the options when working with us so please read on below more more details on what each stage involves.


Initial Briefing and Consultation (Preliminaries)

Usually discussed in your first “meet and greet”, the objective of this stage is to provide an understanding of your objectives, budget and project scope. It will involve broad scale design briefing and provides an opportunity to get an understanding of what your architect requires from you and vice versa. The architect may at this stage then prepare a fee proposal to undertake further services, which should describe a breakdown of ‘deliverables’ within each stage.

Sketch Design

Once your architect / designer has been engaged, they will develop an initial response to your brief. The site should be thoroughly analysed to determine opportunities and restrictions from both an environmental and regulatory perspective. Preliminary sketches are produced to facilitate discussions about the building layout, spatial arrangements, functions and ideas around the core ideals of the proposal and initial response around budgets should be considered.

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Design Development

During the design development stage, the sketch design is further developed into a three-dimensional (computer) model, resolving and layering the general elemental treatment, and considering specific materials to develop the design intent and required functions. The developed design will become more accurate and the ideas are tested and implemented into the design. Preliminary consultant (engineering, heritage, planning) advice is usually engaged at this stage as the design evolves and higher level budget analysis is advisable at this point to ensure the design solution is achievable from a financial perspective.

Town Planning 

Your building designer will fully coordinate and submit development applications, general planning and construction permits. Their network of consultants, including town planners, landscape architects and environmental specialists, should ensure best-case practice for the type of project you are commissioning and will require a demonstrated and thorough understanding of local council requirements, building codes and applicable regulatory frameworks.


Working Drawings

Following initial development or planning approval, drawings are developed into construction documents which feature detailed sections and details for construction methodologies, services, fixtures and fittings, and joinery - all illustrating the continuity and refinement of the design. Usually requiring higher level collaboration with external consultants, during this phase the architect will produce technical specifications and schedules for fixtures, finishes, doors and windows to satisfy requirements for a construction certificate and to ultimately achieve a set of documents to which the builder can accurately price an build the design.

Interior Design

Many building designers will provide in house services for interior design, others will refer external designers to produce a detailed interior design package which will include high-quality and detailed design solutions for kitchens, bathrooms, built-in cabinetry and the like. They can also help select all internal colours, finishes and fixtures for a completely integrated design solution. It is important however, that any external consultant is respectful and at least consistent of the building design intent. External consultants (or owners) that disregard the design intent (or are unable to produce viable documentation) will ultimately only contribute to disharmony - in more ways than one.

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When you tender a project you can ensure greater competitiveness as opposed to say, a design and construct outfit or a preferred builder. A clear and concise set of documentation produced in the preceding stages with facilitate consistent interpretation which leaves little room for guesswork by the builder or subcontractor. The tender process will usually be run over a 4 week period and will usually include the architects recommendations as well as client referred invitees. It is important however to ensure the contract type and conditions are nominated and that the conditions of tendering are clear and reasonable.

Project Management

Project Management by the architect improves the communication and management of the construction process and ensures that the specification (and design intent) is implemented completely and accurately. Contract administrators, are required to act impartially and assess the conditions of the contract fairly and collaboratively – most administered contracts will have terms in place which protect the owner against time delay costs and defective works, hence providing greater peace of mind for the owner.