Preparing Your Design Brief
Preparing a design brief for your building designer entails communicating your favoured design style as well as functional requirements. This can be a challenging task seeing as you do not want to block out your building designer’s creativity.
As a building design company our aim is far deeper than the appearance of the structure. Good design is about creating spaces that will improve the way you work and live. By creating a space tailored to your needs, good design is achieved. This is why it is critical for you to effectively communicate the key elements of your project and it’s outcome in your design brief.
A design brief is the core of your project where all parties can reference and relate to throughout any stage of the process. It is what we use to create a structure on time, budget and keep our clients happy with the result as they imagined.
Some important aspects of the brief are views; which room do you want to have views and to what? A pool, garden/landscaping or even artwork and furniture. If there are precious items or aesthetically appealing elements in your project it is optimal to divert the views toward them.
Another factor to consider is the longevity of the design. It is preferred that all renovations/new builds are done at once but sometimes budget is restrictive and a rejuvenation is needed ASAP so we are forced to do half the job as if it were complete. This includes allowing for future extensions, renovations or changes to landscaping as well as space and thought for children like safety features or a bedroom near the master suite.
Don’t worry if you feel your brief is scrambled or does not make any sense, the technicalities are for your designer to worry about. The main focus of a design brief is to outline your requirements so your designer can effectively put together all that you need.
Having as many sketches, photos and samples of your preferences always helps. It is helpful to outline your style early in the piece taking into consideration questions such as:
- Do you want your build to be modern/contemporary or will it follow a certain period or style such as a Californian bungalow?
- Do you have interior decorating in mind? Do you require an interior decorator throughout the design phase or is this something to work out at a later stage?
- Which materials do you envisage being incorporated – stacked stone, brick, timber, steel, glass, fibrous cement clad or composite sheeting?
- What is your taste of furniture – timber, leather, suede or wool?
- Are your windows going to have shutters, curtains or blinds?
- What kind of landscaping will be incorporated? Paved areas, pebbled, grass and/or pool?
If possible, leave design decisions and spacing to your designer and allow photos to address the material selection suggested.
Remember, your layout must be functional and practical! Consider the following:
- How many living rooms, bathroom/ensuites, bedrooms, study/office or storage spaces do you need?
- Will any room have more than one purpose? Such as an office with a guest bedroom incorporated into the design.
- Does your office space require certain access to allow for privacy?
- What spacial requirements do you need for things like computers, desks or telephones?
- Is your entertainment area large enough for your average number of guests?
Once again it is easier to brief your designer and allow their knowledge and skill to create a suitable layout rather than having a set order.
It is guaranteed that there will be a number of items which are critical to you and your development and they must be noted at the design brief stage to avoid any errors or delays. The longer it takes to tell your designer something, the longer the project is delayed and this is something that can easily be avoided which benefits both parties. Priorities can be as follows:
- Our office must have private access or the access to it must not show any living, dining, family areas or bedrooms. The storage in the office must be designed so that all assets can be hidden if necessary
- Our home must have a pet area or children’s area, separate living room for children or child friendly appliances
- Our home must incorporate solar friendly principles or designed in consideration to sustainability regardless of the extra cost
- We do not want to over capitalise on the house as it is going to be sold in the near future
Photographs & Samples
Any items you can collect that describe or demonstrate your preferred style can assist your building designer and builder and you should have them compiled neatly, ready for the briefing. It can be very helpful to show materials and sizes for kitchens, bathrooms, dining areas, living areas, bedrooms, laundries and backyards.
Budget can be restrictive and frustrating but, as we know, it exists. It is a good idea to know you are able to finance your project before even engaging a building designer and most costs and construction calculators are readily available. Our builders are able to provide pricing estimates at a preliminary stage although it will be an estimate only – engineering drawings or council requirements will obviously vary the costs. A price estimate can be given from a rough set of plans but the more detail, the clearer the price will be. Your building designer should be reasonably experienced in construction costs and calculations and able to design within the margins of your budget.
Concluding Your Brief
You can and should also seek the assistance of your designer when preparing a brief and this is something we go over at the beginning stage of the project. As stated earlier it is a reference point for all parties to look back at and work from. Be sure to be as clear as possible and communicate all necessities.