Typically the place to start on any new home design or renovation is a preliminary consultation and site visit. During this stage, the designer will generally meet on site with the client(s) with a blank sheet of paper, a compass and perhaps some research notes to do with the particular site. It is a good idea at this stage as a client to come prepared in order to expedite the process, if for example you have a folder of images you’ve collected from magazines or the internet of exemplary projects with concepts and materials you would like to incorporate into your new home design bring those along with any hand sketches of layouts or types of roofs (skillion roof, gable etc). we refer to this as establishing a ‘precedent’ or ‘parti’.
This gives the designer a great place to start and establishes a basic understanding of what you as a client are trying to achieve both in terms of aesthetic and also level of finishes and even budget. Another helpful thing to bring along to the meeting would be a basic brief; consisting of a list of rooms, number of rooms and even general size of rooms (If you like for example the size of your current bedroom at another property bring along those measurements as a starting point for designing your new house design).
The next stage differs slightly depending on whether it is a renovation or a new build if it is a renovation the next stage is try to locate existing plans either via the previous owner or through council, The Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) generally holds onto plans for around 10 years and then I am told transfers them to the Deeds Office it is not guaranteed that council will have your plans on file but at least 50% it seems they do so it's worth looking into. The Noosa Council generally holds onto plans a lot longer than SCC. If we cannot locate existing plans then I will need to draw up the existing on site with a laser and tape measure this is time-consuming and it is much easier if you can find the existing plans and generally cheaper as I will need to charge an additional fee for my time.
If the project is a new home without any existing elements the process is a little more straightforward, we still need to locate a site plan (or if on a steep site find existing survey or council contours) we can then start the schematic sketch design stage (SD).
This stage is the first stage in preparing your plans for council, we will sketch up some rudimentary plans, room relationships, bubble diagrams of where particular rooms should be located on site, discuss where the sun will be at the particular time of day (Solar Orientation) discuss where the breezes in summer will be coming from and where windows or doors might be best located to capture the prevailing winds to passively cool your home. We will figure out the setback required for the particular plot of land and local planning area and if there are say any relaxation applications required to council prior to lodging Building Approval (BA) plans. The schematic design stage generally takes a lot longer than any of the other building design stages as it involves a lot of back and forward, onsite measuring, meetings, alteration and consultation with other specialists such as engineers and building certifiers.
Tender Issue Drawings (TD)*
A builder should be able to give you a fairly good ‘ballpark figure’ of what you can expect your home to cost just by taking a good look at the BA set of drawings he will need a lot more information, however to give you a fixed price or accurate quotation of exact pricing for your new home design. If this is required you will need to provide them with a Tender Issue Set of plans which incorporates a further level of detail from the SD set which can either be done using prime costs or provisional sums for items such as kitchen, joinery items and detailed stairs etc or detailed specification for each and every last item in great detail such as; floor finishes carpet, paint, type of bathroom tiles and specific layout, electrical plans and all fitting sand fixtures, shop drawing and material selection for all joinery items such as kitchen cabinets or any custom furniture included in the project, detailed drawings of exact sizes and designs of windows and doors called ‘window and door schedules’ which can include specifics such as type of glazing, type of hardware (handles locks etc)
- This stage is not is not always required or in fact even desired by some clients as some wish to deal with the specifics themselves as they arise others want a really high level of control and want the architect or designer to specify every last item down to the layout of the cutlery drawer some people are just as happy to negotiate with the builder to allocate provisional sums for items such kitchen joinery and custom staircases and balustrades etc.
Once you have established a really coherent brief and have a good schematic design drawn up its time to take these plans to the next level, drawings are cross-checked against both local and national building regulations (The National Construction Code) as well as all applicable Australian standards and local planning laws a greater level of technical detail is annotated on the plan, showing materials, exact sizes, structural members which have been ascertained through consulting engineer if required, dimensions, set backs, typical sections showing natural ground and finished floor levels etc, the extent of cutting or filling and various other technical requirements. These plans are then submitted to a private building certifier (if not requiring a DA (development Approval*)
Construction Issue Plans (CD) Final Stage *
*Again in some instances this is not required as often people are owner builders and make changes as they go and do not want a detailed set of plans but rather an outline others put a lot of faith in their builder and allow him to make things up on the fly rather than going off a detailed ‘recipe’ the builder ‘freestyles’ so to speak with the plans and finesse issues as they arise this can work out fine but there is also a lot of instances where it does not and the clients have little recourse to rectify the finished item without paying additional fees as they did not specify exactly what the finished outcome would be.
What is Human-Centred House DESIGN?
Human-Centered House Design is a creative philosophy borrowed from lateral global think tank IDEO for problem solving complex issues, which can arise during the journey. Human-centered design is not a precise science, but rather a broad methodology that presumes that any great solution should originate from careful observation and consideration along with an intimate understanding of the future users way of thinking, living, intentions and aspirations. It is a means of analysing the end user and building a deep understanding and gaining empathy for the group of people you’re designing for, this early engagement in theory should result in a bespoke solutions to suit the individual needs of a client that could have ordinarily been overlooked without such initial scrutiny. The process involves many iterations and much ideation and constant revision; generating a myriad of ideas; constructing a plethora of rudimentary prototypes or sketches and sharing these permutations and processes and solutions with the the eventual occupants you’re designing a house for.