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  • Existing Conditions Surveys

    This involves measuring up the existing building, showing all existing features, services, facilities, features and site boundaries. Together with their condition and an understanding of whether they can be re-used or need to be replaced.

    These drawings are usually accompanied by a Surveyors “Level and feature Survey”  This information if fundamental and very necessary before a designer can start work.

  • Concept Design

    This is in essence, a feasibility study. It involves considerations of whether we should go out, go up, or both, and most importantly, other alternatives.

    • Is it in fact “feasible”?
    • Is the brief complete ?
    • Is a Planning Permit required ?
    • Can we in fact obtain a Planning Permit for what we want to do ?
    • Does the building area equate to the budget ?
    • If not, which can be adjusted ?
    • Maybe both ?

  • Schematic Design

    Rough, sometimes freehand sketches are produced.  Sometimes from the clients initial thoughts. Maybe three or four alternatives, sketch elevations and perhaps a section through the building.

    Each alternative with a with a cost estimate. Perhaps with an “Artists Impression.”, or freehand thumbnail sketch.

  • Design Development

    One, or a combination of the three is developed in more detail. Now not freehand, but using “Computer Aided Design” or CAD.

    These are more accurate and refined plans, sections and elevations, detailing all the fitments, fittings and details to almost fully enunciate the design. With CAD, a 3D view is also very easily provided here. A detailed, elemental “Estimate of Probable Cost” (EPC) is also provided at this stage.

    The EPC is a clumsy term meant to convey that:

    1.      It is not a formal offer

    2.      It is not precisely accurate. (+ or – 20%)

    It usually contains a Design Variable and Contract Contingency, which are allowances for unforseen Design and Site changes.

  • Town Planning Applications

    If the EPC is acceptable, a Town Planning Application is made at this stage using the Design Development drawings and any other analysis required by the Planning Authority.

    This process can take several months depending of the nature of the project and any Heritage Overlay requirements. It involves, drawings, illustrations, photographs, neighbourhood analysis, sun diagrams, planning application fees, perhaps advertising, conferences, council meetings and even appeals to an Appeals Tribunal.

    Once a Planning permit is received, the project can proceed to the next stage:

  • Contract Documentation

    This involves taking the Design Development Drawings and producing detailed Working Drawings. These are technical drawings progressing from the general to the particular. i.e. Location Plan, Site Plan to 1:10, 1:5 Construction Details.

    These drawings are accompanied by Finishes Schedules, Colour Schedules, Door Schedules, and Specifications. All the things that cannot be shown on the drawings.

    For Drawings and Finishes Schedules show location and extent but Specifications specify quality. E.g. Trade Paints versus Brand Paints, two-coat work versus four coat work.

    These documents, together with the Contract form the basis of a set of Contract Documents.

  • Contract Administration

    This involves tendering of the works to selected competent contractors, usually five and essentially asking the market what the value of the work shown in the documents is worth.

    A Builder is chosen and contracts exchanged. The Builder takes out the Building permit and commences work once he has received the permit and his insurances are in place.  The work usually proceeds, with regular site meetings, where details are sorted out and decisions and actions recorded.

    There are checks and balances in this process involving Retention Sums, and Defects Liability Periods. There are many variations of this process , such as: Owner Builder, Negotiated, Novated, and Cost Plus Contracts but the process outlined here is derived from decades of proven British and Australian practice.

    For further detailed advice, read my eBook, “How to Renovate well, enjoy it and even do it again!