Design process

The nitty gritty

Initial Consultation

We provide an initial consultation to discuss your project. From this meeting we prepare an initial Design Brief and establish a fee for the Concept Design Services for your project. Services can be tailored to best suit the Client, Project and Site needs. Design services can include some or all of the stages detailed:

Stage 1 - Concept Design

The Pre-Design research phase is where we collect the information we need to begin design work. We ask many, many questions about how you like to live, what you love and loathe, who will be living in the home, how you’d like to engage with the garden, sunlight, air, the street and each other… Whether you like being in a tree house, or a cave. What materials and colours you like. What are the intangibles you hold sacred, and your dreams for the spaces to be created. The more information the better.

We visit the site to get a feel for its peculiarities, its orientation, views, topography and vegetation. We measure up the existing structure, take loads of photographs and engage a land surveyor to capture the exterior features and levels, trees, fencing and neighbouring houses. We investigate the planning requirements for the site, developing an understanding for its specific zone and overlays. Armed with all this rich information about the project and site, we are now ready to begin design work.

We generally provide a few Concept Design Options for your consideration, on the way towards developing a master plan of development. We refine the initial floor plans based on your feedback into a comprehensive three-dimensional design that considers form, light and materials, along with construction, and regulations. At this stage we advise you to engage a Quantity Surveyor to prepare a Cost Plan Report, in order to check that the wish list and budget are aligned. At the end of this stage, client approval is obtained to proceed to town planning or to construction documentation (depending on the project requirements).


  • Meet to discuss and refine design brief
  • Inspect Site
  • Review planning zones and overlays
  • Identify any RESCODE issues
  • Commission BAL Assessment for bushfire prone areas
  • Commission features and levels survey plan
  • Prepare range of Concept Design Plans
  • Refine Concept Design in light of client feedback
  • Prepare floor and site plans, 3D model and elevations
  • Commission Quantity Surveyor to prepare Cost Plan Report

Stage 2 - Design Development & Town Planning Application

The confirmed sketch design is now ready to be further developed. Refinement of the design is continued, and layered detailing of the building is added to the documents – windows and door treatment, roof form and building mass, materials and colours, cabinetry and wet area layout, energy efficiency design and other services. We address town planning and building approval issues in depth, and verify that siting conditions are met. The project is ready to be documented for planning permit and / or building approval application as required for the project.


  • Review and refine floor, site + roof plans, + develop elevations in light of client, builder + planning feedback received
  • Prepare overlooking + shadow diagrams
  • Prepare site context + photographic documentation
  • Respond to Clause 54 / RESCODE / planning overlays
  • Prepare planning permit application
  • Liaise with Town Planner as required
  • Liaise with Consultants as / if required (Arborist, Bushfire Management Consultant, Landscape Designer etc.)

*NOTE – Planning activities shall be charged at an hourly rate

Stage 3 - Working Drawings & Building Approval Application

The Building Approval Phase is where we prepare the documents needed to obtain a building permit, receive a price from a builder, and begin construction. We translate the Concept Design into a set of construction documents that clearly and comprehensively describe how the building goes together for the authorities and potential builders. We aim to detail the building so that the design intent is fully realised.

We also co-ordinate the input from consultants – the geotechnical and structural engineers, energy efficiency assessor and building surveyor, to meet all building code requirements.


  • Meet with Structural Engineer to review and refine structural and aesthetic resolution
  • Resolution of site and floor plans, elevations, sections, drainage and construction details to scale
  • Prepare project building specification
  • Consult with Geo Technical Engineer as required
  • Prepare window, door and skylight schedules
  • Liaise with Energy Efficiency Consultant
  • Liaise with Bushfire Attack Level Assessor and BMS Consultant
  • Liaise with Building Surveyor
  • Completion of Documentation for submission to authorities for building approval

Stage 4 - Exterior and Interior Details

The Exterior and Interior Detail phase is a fun process of developing the layout and details for your cabinetry, built in furniture, lighting and services. Bespoke pieces like staircases, fireplace surrounds, outdoor kitchen and landscape features can be designed. It’s where we develop the finer details of a project – materials, fixtures and fittings selections. We can make suggestions and prepare lists for the selections – tapware, appliances,carpet, tiles, etc.

We ask the Client to focus on what the specific requirements are for each room.


  • Service plans – electrical power and lighting layout, audiovisual, data, telecommunication, heating, ESD equipment etc.
  • Schedule of fittings, finishes, and fixtures
  • Cabinetry and wet area detail for the project
  • Details of porch, steps, pergola, paved areas, verandah
  • Details of staircase
  • Details of stone walls, sliding doors and fireplace
  • Prepare appliance and equipment schedules
  • Prepare colour and finishes schedules
  • Arrange and conduct meetings to present and finalise the scheme
  • Coordinate and integrate the work to sub consultants with architectural documentation as required
  • Liaise with Landscape Designer / Contractor for garden design and detailing
  • Liaise with Interior Designer for interior finishes and window coverings

Stage 5 - Tender Administration, Construction Attendance & Contract Administration

The tendering phase aims to appoint a suitable builder to undertake the works – with a fixed price to complete the confirmed scope of works. We assist with checking the work and references of potential Builders, making sure that the Builder is a good fit for the project and the client. During the construction phase, we allow to visit the site regularly, meeting with the selected builder, his sub contractors and the client. We are available to answer queries, refine details, and attend to the unforeseen issues that sometimes occur in residential construction projects. We make observations, and work collaboratively and creatively to ensure that the design intent is realised.


  • Assist in the selection of tenderers / builder negotiation
  • Assemble tender documents – invite tenderers
  • Respond to queries during the tendering period / issue addenda as required
  • Interpret and clarify ambiguities in documents
  • Close tender and report on tenders received
  • Negotiate with tenderers if required
  • Prepare tender recommendations and issue the letter of acceptance
  • Prepare contract documents for signing
  • Undertake site visits, making observations of work in progress
  • Review progress on site regarding design quality, material selection, workmanship and performance against the contract documents and conditions
  • Respond to requests for information and clarification
  • Provide instruction to clarify the contract documents where required
  • Arrange and attend site meetings, prepare and distribute minutes of site meetings, coordinate site inspections by sub consultants, and assess progress claims
  • Assess variations and progress claims and obtain client approvals
  • Assess extension of time claims and provide notices to the contractor
  • Maintain records of contractual matters including financial statues of the contract
  • Provide regular reports to the client
  • Prepare lists of incomplete work or defects to completion
  • Coordinate certification from sub consultants and others as require for final building approval
  • Prepare schedules of defects for rectification by the contractor
  • Assess final contract price and certify final contract payments