May 14, 2014

At the construction documentation stage we prepare a package of detailed drawings alongside a comprehensive specification and lists of schedules that can then be used to tender and build the project. By this stage of the process most of the main design decisions have been finalised so we need to make sure the design intention is clearly captured and articulated for the builder.

These drawings are very technical by nature as they are used to describe the project in great detail. This eliminates the need for guesswork and interpretation, allowing the builder to have greater confidence and clarity during the contract procurement and construction stages.

The structural engineer, environmental consultant, and landscape architects drawings are fully integrated into the project. A further refining of the CAD software which started at the design development stage is undertaken.  All the sub consultants’ services are incorporated into the BIM (building information modelling) model eliminating any potential conflicts between services.

The work of the specialist consultants such as structural engineer, environmental consultant, and landscape architect is developed and coordinated  alongside the construction drawings. All the consultants’ services are integrated into the BIM (building information modelling) model eliminating any potential conflicts between services.

A construction package is produced including a site plan, floor plans, elevations, sections and numerous details. A window and door schedule will be prepared along with electrical plans and a set of joinery drawings.  Materials, finishes and preferred construction methods are added to a specification which summarises and articulates the quality required to meet the clients brief with clarity and certainty.

The package is then submitted to the selected building surveyor who assess them against the relevant building codes and the local council requirements and issues the building permit.

We begin making recommendations on how to select the right builder and how best to obtain a tender price. Which is the next stage of the project.

Having a well-documented and comprehensive set of construction documents is essential for a successful project. We take great care and pride in making sure we deliver a package which is meticulous and thorough. 


May 9, 2014

The Concept Design is now complete, the program, spatial relationships, and initial decisions on materials and finishes has been decided. The client has agreed to the architectural concept; now it’s time for the Design Development stage to commence.

This stage is all about refinement. We take the concept drawings and produce three dimensional CAD drawings by using the latest in BIM (Building Information Modelling) modelling. Essentially we build the project in the computer from the ground up, as it would be built onsite. This requires us to closely coordinate with the project consultants and to begin integrating the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural services into the computer based three dimensional model. We use the software to integrate our ESD (Ecologically Sustainable Design) principles testing sun and light paths, window and door openings while refining the overall form.

Designing and nominating materials and finishes are part of this stage. We are a qualified as interior designers as well as architects so everything can be done in house. We further determine and refine how you wish the project to look and feel. How do you wish to live, work and play once the project is complete? Working alongside the client we establish the internal workings and everyday rituals that are likely to play out.

At this stage we design all the fixed joinery for the project. We find out your preferences for the size and colour of materials and finishes. We wish to know how you would like your kitchen, laundry, robes and bathrooms to function. Would you prefer drawers, open shelves or cupboards?

Furniture fitting and fixtures need to be selected while new appliances such as ovens, cooktops and fridges need to be nominated. This is usually a very exciting time for clients as it’s the first time they get to see and visualise the tangible items that will soon be featured in their new project. Commonly this process is a combined effort done alongside our clients, we make suggestions and recommendations while they explore showrooms and warehouses selecting the most appropriate items for the job.

We like to make this process easy to visualise so we order and prepare physical samples, while creating material boards and schedule to showcase and display the selections. We produce either a three dimensional computer based rendering or physical scaled model depending on what works best for the client in understanding the look and feel of the project.

Once approved we create a secondary package which is then sent off to the quantity surveyor who can formalise a more accurate estimate for the project.


May 7, 2014

A town planning permit is often required to construct or alter a building. The triggers are often your site area and whether there are any planning overlays*. Prior to starting pre-design we will consult with your Council’s planning department to check if a planning permit is required.

Click here to open the diagram

At town planning stage the first thing we do is organise a pre-application meeting with the relevant authorities. That way we develop a relationship with the assigned planner from the very beginning. They’re part of the team, and involving them from a project’s onset will minimise the risk of any unwanted surprises further down the track.

From here we take our concept design drawings and prepare them for a formal submission. We need to demonstrate we are complying with the relevant zoning and overlay requirements, by preparing extensive documentation including plans, diagrams, site and design analysis, all accompanied by written reports.

Once this package has been lodged with the relevant authority (which generally takes 3 – 4 months, however it varies from project to project), council will determine whether or not the project will require advertising (advertising is 14 calendar days).  The advertising period gives the broader community an opportunity to review the proposed development, and if they choose, make a formal objection.  

Often objections can be easily worked through. Usually they’re a result of a neighbour being unable to read and understand plans. Sitting down with objectors and taking them through the proposed scheme makes a world of difference. We are in the profession because we’re passionate about making buildings better, not just for the individual, but also for the community. Therefore nine times out of ten it’s more about helping people better understand the proposal.

If on the rare chance, an objector still isn’t happy, they have 21 days from the date council approves the planning permit to appeal to VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal). This is one avenue we all wish to avoid as it often takes about one year until a decision is reached, which can cost thousands of dollars in legal and consultancy fees.

Thankfully this is not common practise as most planning submissions can be in and out of council in three to four months.

*Not all projects require town planning. For further information on when a town planning permit is typically required check the link below.

When is a town planning permit required ?



May 5, 2014

Concept design involves two stages. The first is called Pre-Design. At this stage we gather all the site and brief information to establish the opportunities and constraints associated with the site. By doing this we establish the foundations critical to beginning the design stage.


Pre-design is about understanding both our clients and their brief, so each project starts with a conversation. We want to learn and understand who is commissioning the project; their likes and dislikes, their needs, wants and aspirations. We invite our clients to bring in photographs, scrapbooks even quotes, anything that can help capture the spirit and essence of who they are. We also talk about the budget, the services we can offer and what their aspiration is for the project. The best outcomes stem from a collaborative approach with the sharing of experiences, ideas and dreams paramount to the project’s success.

Once this is established we seek to understand and develop a closer relationship with the specific site. We visit (sometimes on numerous occasions) and thoroughly explore its parameters. Armed with cameras, sketch books and measuring tapes we endeavour to capture all the relevant and unique information onsite while also assessing the various constraints and design opportunities.

If the project is an alteration and addition we gather as much information as we can about the existing dwelling. This requires us to measure, document and draw all the current fixtures and features within the building, including room sizes, ceiling heights, wall thicknesses, windows and doors locations, electrical points, air vents, service outlets and any other significant items within the building.

A land surveyor is commissioned to survey the site levels and features such as the building footprint, the existing envelope and the immediate neighbours to either side. Some sites will require a re-establishment plan to locate the title boundaries. This is particularly important if the plan is to build to the title boundaries*.

Concept design also requires us to obtain a copy of the title and to confirm and assess statutory authority requirements.


From here our conversations, research and knowledge of the project matures and evolves into diagrams, sketches and models which help us and the client to understand and appreciate the opportunities and the potential for the project.

A series of drawings will be produced including plans, diagrams and sections that allow you to understand and appreciate the qualities of the proposal. Preliminary materials and finishes will be selected and additional briefs will be prepared for external consultants, who are likely to be involved in the project. The design stage is an interactive process where we will work together to modify and refine the design until we have captured your brief, both in requirement and spirit.

After the client has approved the concept we like to prepare a preliminary scope of works to send to a quantity surveyor and get an initial estimate done on the project.

By the end of concept design one can expect to understand the spatial relationships and form of the building while also having an appreciation of the materials and finishes.

When the client is happy and given us the instruction to move on, we proceed to town planning if required, otherwise we go straight to design development.

* For further information on what’s typically required from a land surveyor check our future blogs for more information.


May 5, 2014

The following series of blogs will focus on the core architecture services that we provide throughout the entire building process. From concept design through to council approvals, design development, construction documentation, tender and finally contract administration.

It is worth mentioning here that each of these stages are for a typical architecture service however, each client, project and site is unique, meaning our services are flexible and can be tailored and adjusted to best meet the needs of any project.