Australian Epic Group

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Planning and Design



It is important to understand the building design phases and the information required at each stage.

The development and construction of buildings can be both a stressful and confusing process, as well as a rewarding one for clients and stakeholders.

Having developed a clear brief, which has ownership from all important user groups and stakeholders, and having selected an appropriate team, it is useful to understand how the design, documentation and procurement of the building will progress.

If the team is new to the building design process, understanding the building design phases and what level of information should be expected from both the architect and the client at each stage is critical.



1. Predesign

  • Site feasibilities and masterplanning
  • Review brief, requirements, budget and program
  • Select/recommend sub-consultants and prepare design briefs for sub-consultants
  • Inspect site and assess conditions
  • Assess regulations and authority requirements
  • Analyse functional relationships and area requirements
  • Analyse adequacy of budget and program in relation to brief
  • Preliminary envelope massing options and site constraint diagrams

2. Schematic (concept) design

  • Prepare sketch drawings and diagrams and other information to adequately explain the concept
  • Prepare preliminary furniture and equipment layouts
  • Undertake preliminary selection of materials and finishes
  • Coordinate preliminary design input from sub-consultants
  • Consider structural and building services systems to be used in the project
  • Prepare preliminary program
  • Obtain client’s approval for sketch design documents, estimates and programs
  • Coordinate the preparation of preliminary estimate for the ‘Cost of Works’
  • Assess and advise on environmental issues in relation to site
  • Analyse adequacy of budget and program in relation to brief
  • Obtain client approval for concept design
  • Site plan (usually 1:500 or 1:1000)
  • Spatial relationship diagrams
  • Principal floor plans (usually 1:200)
  • Sections and elevations (usually 1:200)
  • Project data (zoning and code considerations)
  • Preliminary finishes boards/schedules
  • Program and assessment of preliminary ‘Cost of Works’
  • Schedule of functional areas 
  • May also include:
    • Preliminary 3D views
    • Schematic Design Report

3. Design development (detailed design)

  • Review and update brief (this may take the form of room data sheets and client approval of schematic design report)
  • Develop the approved sketch design into a final developed design including plans at each level, elevations, sections and other details sufficient to fully explain the design (note that this phase “freezes” the design so that it can be developed into construction documents)
  • Prepare schedules of materials and finishes
  • Prepare furniture and equipment layouts
  • Coordinate and integrate information from consultants
  • Prepare and report on estimate and program
  • Prepare architectural component for planning approval (Development Application) and assist in the coordination of specialist consultant input – timing and requirements for submission may vary
  • Assist in approval process by preparing for and attending meetings
  • Obtain client’s approval of detailed design and updated estimate, budget and project program
  • All floor plans (usually 1:100)
  • Sections and Elevations (usually 1:100/1:200)
  • Space Data Sheets
  • Preliminary finishes boards/schedules
  • Program and assessment of preliminary ‘Cost of Works’
  • Nett Lettable Areas and Gross Floor Areas 
  • May also include:
    • 3D views
    • Design Development Report
  • Check DA deliverables with local council
  • Check with architect what is included and not included within scope such as 3D montages and shadow diagrams
  • Architect will usually coordinate the making of physical models and 3D computer renderings

4. Documentation

  • Confirm type of building contract to be used
    • Note that this affects the level of documentation provided by the architect and when it is provided to the builder
  • Review detailed design against planning approval and any conditions of approval
  • Review and update brief, program and budget
  • Revise design to incorporate any conditions of planning consent
  • Prepare and coordinate Construction Certificate documentation
  • Prepare drawings, schedules and specifications sufficient to enable the tendering/construction of the building
  • Coordinate and integrate information from consultants into architectural drawings and specifications
  • Coordinate the preparation of a pre-tender estimate by the Quantity Surveyor and report on pre-tender estimate
  • Site plan (usually 1:500 or 1:1000)
  • Floor plans (usually 1:100 or 1:200)
  • Sections and elevations (usually 1:100 or 1:200)
  • Detailed plans and sections (usually 1:50 or 1:20)
  • Plan and section details (1:1 through to 1:20)
  • Fittings and fixtures schedules
  • Coordinated consultants’ drawings 
  • Specification
  • Pre-tender estimate (by Quantity Surveyor)
  • Schedule of functional areas

Note that the level of tender documentation provided at this stage will depend on the form of building contract chosen


5. Contractor selection (tender)

  • Assist client in choosing preferred tender process and list of building contract tenderers
  • Prepare and issue tender set to all tenderers
  • Respond to queries from tenderers
  • Together with Quantity Surveyor, consultants and client, review and assess tenders
  • Negotiate with preferred tenderer to provide an offer acceptable to the client
  • Report on tenders and provide recommendation
  • Assist in approval process by preparing for and attending meetings
  • Obtain client’s approval of detailed design and updated estimate, budget and project program
  • Prepare and issue tender set (see above)
  • Additional information and details
  • Site reports and defects schedule

6. Contract administration and post contract

Note:  Some of this scope may be undertaken by a project manager.

  • Prepare and issue contract documents
  • Report regularly to client on time, cost and progress
  • Visit the site periodically to observe the conformance with contract documentation and attend regular site meetings
  • Review shop drawings and submissions provided by the building contractor
  • Provide the building contractor with instructions, additional details and clarifications of the contract documents
  • Coordinate services of other specialist consultants
  • Assess and determine variations, extensions of time and progress claims
  • Instruct the contractor on incomplete work and defects
  • Assess and determine practical completion
  • During defects liability period, instruct builder on defects and incomplete work
  • Assess and determine final completion and issue certificate
  • Prepare and issue contract documents
  • Provide site observation reports
  • Provide further details and clarification of the contract set
  • Provide defects and non-compliance reports
  • Issue Practical Completion Certificate
  • Issue Final Completion Certificate
Australian Epic Group Construction Management Team Member