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The Design Process

A lot of people ask  "what is the process of designing a home and getting council approval"

The main steps are listed below and it is often straight forward but there are at times where special conditions do apply to an application depending upon where you house is located, local council planning policies and what may not be obvious in planning regulations.

Step 1  Initial Ideas
You will no doubt  already have ideas and a wish list on what you would like with the design as well as specifications on finishes. These ideas will be based on needs and wants, the two are very different.

Step 2  Planning

Is there a covenant on the land?  If you are in a housing estate there will be a covenant on what you can build.

You need to provide the covenant to your designer.


If your land is not within an estate you must abide by the local  council's planning policies. 

In either case we can advise you of any restrictions and regulations.


Step 3  Assessing Your  Land

Typically you may only need take into account the size, shape and slope of the land but you will also need to do checks on  easements, stormwater and sewer lines.

Other possible building constraints on your land can include:



Services (storm water and sewer lines)

Flooding, are you in a low lying area or near a creek?

​Noise corridors, are you near a main road or airport or flight path.

Bush-fire zones , are you in a rural or bush area?

Before meeting the designer most of these items need to be looked at to see what if any impact it will have on the design.

A survey of your land (contour survey) done by a competent surveyor will show if any such issues occur and needs to be organized be before meeting the designer. We can recommend and organize this on your behalf.


Step 4  Meeting the Designer

When you meet with us we will help you work through your ideas and provide clarity on whether some ideas should be cemented into the overall design objective or discarded. It is these ideas that will make up the design brief.  The brief is what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it and what is agreed upon by both yourself and the building designer.

The brief will also cover how the building should look, feel and function and is based on a mix of your ideas.

To do a design brief requires a meeting that  normally takes about 2 to 2 .5 hours. This time also helps us establish what are your tastes and who you are.

Step 5  Conceptual Design

Based on the brief we will provide you with a conceptual design

The concept design will include floor plans, elevations and how you home will be sited on your land.

Step 6  Initial costing of the design​​​
​Once you are happy with the conceptual design it's time to get an initial estimate because  final tendering is only done after the completion of construction drawings, finishes are specified and any engineering is completed.

So at this stage we are still working with preliminary figures based on current projects and experience.

It is advised at this time to get a preliminary price from the builder you intend to use before proceeding any further.


Step 7  Preliminary Drawings

Between conceptual drawings and construction drawings there is a design phase we the preliminary stage.

This stage includes any minor modifications and final amendments  before  the construction drawings commence.

Step 8  Construction Drawings

Construction or Working drawings are what the builders final tender will be based upon and include details required for council submission and the construction of the residence.


These documents include:

Technical drawings provided by the building designer.

Engineering or any consultants reports e.g. energy ratings


Step 8  Obtaining Finance

At this stage you will have a firm price by the builder including a specification of finishes including any prime costs and provisional sums. Prime costs are allowances for items like basins, wall ovens etc that have not yet been selected or a price has not yet been obtained. A provisional sum is when a builder cannot determine an exact cost for an item that requires both materials and labor like landscaping. In both cases PC & PS items must reflect a realistic amount agreed to by both the client and the builder.

Your financial lender will do an evaluation of your proposed house and land before agreeing to the amount of finance and building contract.

Step 10  Lodgement of Building Documents

Plans and supporting documents are lodged with the building certifier including  the builders  home warranty insurance and portable long service leave.

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