Design Process

All Architects have clearly defined stages for their scope of services, but the scope may vary between practices, depending on the nature of their work.

The following core stages comprise the services our office most commonly provides.


Our initial consultation involves a detailed discussion with the client to enable us to develop the design brief, and to determine the appropriate scope of services.

A properly considered brief, where the client’s objectives are clearly articulated and understood by the Architect, is critical to the successful outcome of a project.

This stage may also involve some preliminary design work, to assist clients in determining the feasibility of a project. Most commonly, these are typically medium density housing projects where clients, prior to purchasing a site, engage us to prepare concept sketches to determine the likely yield of a site.


In this stage we prepare concept plans in response to the design brief.  This may include one or more design options, depending on the possibilities and potential of the site and design brief.

We start without any preconceived idea of a design outcome, but rather let the brief guide us to a design solution.

This stage may also include more than one iteration of the design, to arrive at a point where the client is satisfied that the design can proceed to the next stage.

Our concept can be presented in the form of freehand sketches, hand drawn or CAD drawn plans, including plans, elevations, sections and 3D views, or a combination of these, to explain the design as clearly as possible.

Specific services may include:

  • Measure up of existing building and documenting characteristics of the site and surrounds.
  • Engage initial key consultants on the client’s behalf
  • Preparation of existing conditions drawings and site context plan
  • Preparation of schematic drawings, comprising one or more options
  • Presentation to client
  • Council Pre-Application meeting/discussion
  • Revisions to concept plans as necessary


Where a Town Planning permit is required, each project requires substantial resolution of the design prior to lodging an application.

Even some of the minor detail needs to be carefully considered as part of the Town Planning process, to minimise queries from the Council and referral authorities, and to avoid changes after the Planning Permit is issued.

This requires a balance between investing the appropriate time in resolving the design issues during this process, while not going into unnecessary detail in the event an application maybe refused or require substantial changes during the application.

The services provided in this stage may include:

  • Design Response Plan
  • Update Plans and Elevations for Planning Submission
  • Schematic Sections
  • Shadow and sight line Diagrams
  • Liaison with Town Planner and other relevant consultants
  • Preparation of relevant schedules for Planning submission
  • 3D views as required
  • 3D printed model


Having obtained a Planning Permit, and resolved most of the important design issues, the project must be documented accurately to reflect the approved design by Council and agreed to by the client, to enable a Building Permit to be issued, and to be conveyed to the contractor on site in a clear and unambiguous manner.

The project is best served where we prepare the detailed construction documentation, as we have a certain vision of all the specific design issues, and the wishes of the client.

Equally importantly is that a comprehensive set of construction documents allows any Builder or subcontractor to provide confident and accurate pricing and minimises the potential for variations during construction.

Depending on the complexity of the project, the services and level of design detail provided in this stage may include, but not be limited to:

  • Liaison with Sub- Consultants and co-ordination of their work
  • Site Plan/Roof Plan
  • Demolition Plan
  • Floor Plans/Elevations/Sections
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans
  • Window Schedule
  • Project Specification
  • Construction details
  • Construction details for Tender
  • Slab setout plan
  • Kitchen Details
  • Bathroom/Wet area details
  • General joinery details
  • Finishes Schedule
  • Door Schedule
  • Electrical and lighting layouts
  • Manage Building Permit process


There are a number of ways contract procurement can occur on a project.

In many instances, a client may have their own Builder in mind for a project, in some cases a Builder may introduce us to the client, but in most cases we would make recommendations as to the best way of appointing a Builder.

The selection and contracting of a Builder is sometimes through direct negotiation or through a formal Tender process. We have no fixed view on this process, as it all depends on the nature of the project.

The most successful projects are those where a Builder has been appointed on a fixed price through a transparent costing process.

Our services in this stage may include;

  • Calling Tenders / Negotiated Offer
  • Answer Tender queries
  • Assess Tenders and recommend
  • Negotiation with Preferred Tenderer


Our office usually insists that we have some active involvement in the day-to-day building process.

Having an intimate knowledge of the design from its inception through the lengthy approval process, we are in the best position to understand the project in its entirety.

It is for this reason that we believe it is important for us to have a clear ‘line of sight’ to all design decisions on site to be able to protect the interests of the design, and ultimately the interests of the client. This may or may not involve us in administering the Building Contract.

This stage may include the following services:

  • Prepare Contract Documents
  • Issue Notices under Contract & assess Progress claims
  • Assess Variations
  • Regular site visits
  • Conduct site meetings and issue minutes
  • Respond to Builder’s RFI’s and instruct/advise
  • Provide additional construction detailing where required
  • Review alternative submissions by Builder
  • Review shop drawings
  • Defects Inspections
  • Practical completion Certificate