The Process: BUILDING DESIGN

 
Step 1:

THE INITIAL CONSULTATION 

The Designory offers a full range of services, so whether you need building design, approvals documentation and processing, interior design, decorating, styling – or all of them – the process always starts with an initial consultation. Our first meeting together allows the Designer to understand the full scope of what is needed as well as assisting you with understanding the full capabilities of the design practice. No matter the size of the project or the budget, we always begin with the same level of detail and involvement. You book in a suitable time with one of our design team to have an initial meeting, preferably onsite, to outline the project brief including needs, scope, timing and budget. Whilst each job and client is unique, the consultation usually takes between 1-2 hours. In order to get the most out of your consultation, make sure you’re prepared! Here’s a list of the things you can do before you meet with the Designer:
  • Gather all the existing information you have about your property ie: existing plans; survey or drawings from your contract of sale; your 149 Planning Certificate (located at the end of your contract of sale); drainage diagrams etc.
  • Keep a record of things you love – create a folder of tear sheets, a list of Bookmarks, photos of houses you like or a Pinterest page.
  • Think about your budget and timing – this is important as it gives your designer a good understanding of what is required, possible and achievable.
  • Create a brief – make a list of your “must haves” and “nice to haves”, identify the functional things that are important to your home and family, and identify what your objectives are for undertaking the project.
   
Step 2:

DESIGN BRIEF, SITE REVEIW & CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

After your Initial Consultation, the Designer will send you an Estimate for Design Services which will provide an overview of everything discussed as well as detail the time and design costs involved for your project. Once you have accepted the Estimate, you will be assigned a lead Designer most suited to your project and sent a design contract for your review and approval. They will meet with you to fully review and define the brief, budget, and scope and then start work developing ideas and the overall concept for the project. During this stage, the Designer will also conduct a site review which involves reviewing the Planning parameters relevant to your property as well as the options for planning and building approvals and certification. During the early stages, as well as throughout the project, your lead designer will work collaboratively with all members of our in-house team, including our building advisory consultant, to ensure that the final design is produced in a way that can be built practically and within the budget allocated.  

Approximate timeframe: 2-3 weeks.

Step 3:

SURVEY PLAN & MEASURE UP

In conjunction with undertaking a site review and developing the brief and concept, we will arrange to have your property surveyed by a registered Surveyor and the internal measurements of the existing building and internal spaces will be taken.   This is required to ensure accurate detailed plans are produced for your builder and trades as well as for the preparation of any Development Application (DA) or Compliant Development Certificate (CDC). We have preferred Surveyors that we work with regularly to produce high quality information at market competitive rates.  

Approximate timeframe: 3-4 weeks.

(concurrent with Step 2)

 
Step 4:

INITIAL DESIGN SKETCHES

Once we have the building survey and plans for the existing property, we will work collaboratively as a team, including our in-house building advisory consultant, to provide you with a number of designs and plan alternatives in yellow trace sketch format which are in line with your brief. At this point we will meet with you to discuss the options and refine the ideas ready for detailed planning documentation. Upon completion of this stage we can have our building advisory consultant provide a high level building estimate of the proposed plan. This is a high value add step in the process designed to assist both you and the design team in guiding and refining the final design, budget and timing for the project. It provides you with a high level of costing and budget information and allows you to more effectively plan the project and make appropriate choices with regards to the design detail.  

Approximate timeframe: 2-4 weeks

 
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Step 5:

DOCUMENTATION & DRAWINGS

Once the project ideas have been explored, developed further and agreed, your plans are drawn to a level of detail required for lodgment as a DA or CDC. There are different levels of documentation required depending on the size and complexity of the project being undertaken and these will be communicated with you throughout the process. During this phase we may need to engage expert consults to provide additional information such as BASIX consultants, heritage consultants or quantity surveyors. We have a list of preferred consultants that we work with regularly to produce high quality outputs at market competitive rates.   Approximate timeframe: 8-12 weeks
Step 5 (a):

PRELIMINARY COSTING

At this stage, prior to lodging the documentation for planning approval (or planning and building approval in the case of a CDC) we always recommend and prefer to have the plans costed again by our in-house building advisory consultant. This means that you are able to confidently lodge your plans knowing that they are within the realm of affordability and the budget. This costing is still only an estimate as of course none of the fine detail has been completed or finishes etc selected.
   
Step 6:

PLANNING LODGEMENTS & APPROVALS PROCESSING

The plans are lodged with the relevant approvals body and processed. Please see Planning Approvals for our detailed information about this stage. NOTE: The next steps – Step 7, Step 8 and Step 9 – are interchangeable depending on the client and the specific project details. Your Designer will advise when is the best time to complete each component and what is necessary for a successful outcome for your project.

Approximate timeframe: As noted in Planning Approvals

   
Step 7:

SELECTING FINISHES & FITTINGS & DETAILED INTERNAL DRAWINGS

Depending on the time schedule for the project, we can work with you to select and specify your finishes and fittings either during the design process, whilst the plans are being approved, or after they have been approved. We will advise our suggested course of action during the design process and concept phase. This is also the time where all of the detailed internal drawings are completed in line with the selections made. This includes Kitchens, wet areas, joinery and any other detailed elements for construction. We will also schedule and document all of the selections and details for the construction and create a Scope of Works.  

Approximate timeframe: 6-8 weeks.

   

 
Step 8:

TENDERS & CONSTRUCTION COSTING

When the Tender process occurs will depend on which approvals process is being undertaken. We will discuss and advise the right course of action during the project. The design team will assist with finalising all documentation and can provide and manage a tender package of information to be sent out to a selection of reputable builders. Once the tenders have been received back, the team will assist in assessing the responses in order to select the right builder for your project. This documentation may or may not include the selections and detailed internal drawings highlighted in Stage 8.  

Approximate timeframe: 2-4 weeks.

 
Step 9:

EXTERNAL REPORTS & PLANS

Often with more complex projects, there is an additional layer of information required in order to complete the final package for Building Approvals processing. The Designer will advise you what is required at each stage of the project. This may include structural engineering, hydraulic engineering, acoustic engineering, geotechnical reports etc.. We have a list of preferred suppliers who we work with regularly who can provide the required information at market competitive rates and within the time frames required to keep the project on schedule.  

Approximate timeframe: 2-3weeks.

   
Step 10:

BUILDINGS & APPROVALS PROCESSING

Once the Planning documents have been approved, the external reports and plans have been received and a builder has been selected, the final Construction documents updated and are lodged with the relevant building approvals body – either Council or a Private Certifying Authority – and processed. See our information on Building Approvals Processing. As mentioned, we have preferred PCA’s that we work with regularly to complete projects smoothly and effectively at market competitive rates.  

Approximate timeframe: 3-4 weeks

   
Step 11:

CONSTRUCTION

We will work with your selected builder to carry out the renovation to completion. The Designer will work closely with the builder to make sure your expectations are met and the project is managed in an effective manner. This usually involves regular onsite meetings to ensure the plans and specifications are understood and executed accurately. The timeframe will depend on the scope of work and will be advised during Stage 5 (a).