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ARCH 1331
Semester 1 2011


key elements Brief

Pre Design / Site analysis
Design Development
Budgets and estimates
Maintaining the programme, milestones
Planning process
key learning Students will learn about:
Investigating the project – client and context
The differences between total project budget, budgeted construction costs, and
How to cost
Sourcing information for a new project type
Why we have regulations
The hierarchy of regulations, and who controls them
Determining how regulations will affect the project
The difference between planning and building regulations
The evolutionary nature of design

reference PP1 Topic Notes

material BCA ; online at RMIT Library

Acumen Brief: 207

Reference Client Note - Your brief to your architect: 856

Managing the budget: 610

Estimates: 599 (review full chapter)

Regulatory Requirements: 104 (incl BCA)

The architect and the Disability Discrimination Act: 475

2011_Topic 02 Notes

What do you do?

- clarify client's thoughts on project
- communicate thoughts to architect

who is the architect designing for?

- client / owner
- user group(s)
- future users
- wider society

what form does it take initially?

- a minuted discussion
- clients list of desires
- a plan made by the client
- an elaborate book
- a table of areas
- done by either client or architect

the brief doesn't die

- it becomes more detailed
- it evolves and changes (e.g. due to cost)
- it becomes the design
- -then it becomes the building

the early brief might contain:

- lists of rooms and areas (sqm)
- relationships of spaces
- budget
- it becomes the building

Often the architect has to assist the client to form a clearer picture of the building they require.

Briefing is a common chargeable pre-design stage in architectural services for larger or complex buildings, or
buildings where there are multiple user groups. This involves spending time with the user groups in order to gain
a sense of the requirements of each, and how they relate.

This may involve adjacency diagrams to determine the best way for the building's components to fit together.

Early briefing work by the architect can help solidify a complex or large project to the point it can proceed to
sketch design. There should be sense of the areas required and these can be costed before concept design

Brief: 207
Client Note - Your brief to your architect: 856


The concept design stage includes:

Pre design
Design (previously called Schematic Design)


Site analysis
The site should be analysed so that the concept design takes into account important local factors. These include:
sun / prevalent winds / contours / boundary conditions / trees / privacy issues / noise issues / smell and pollution
issues /

Visit the planning scheme website (see reference) to determine what is permitted on site, and which overlays the
site is affected by.

2011_Topic 02 Notes

The particular requirements of a project may mean that focussed design research is required – for instance
designing in bushfire-prone areas. Use libraries, australian standards, and the www to find detailed information
– making sure it is correct for your location. Handbooks exist that give basic planning information on many
building types – AJ Metric Handbook and Neuferts are the two main ones.

The concept design can be presented to the client – the drawings may show only a loose arrangement of spaces
on a site, and design precedents.

Upon approval of concept, use sketch design to investigate / test the following:
Work out a loose approach to the design
Keep an eye on all the parameters:
- brief
- site and street
- planning requirements
- budget
- design precedents

Present indicatory drawings to the client.

Involve the client in the process.
- the idea
- 3d massing
- planning (of spaces)
- draft elevations and sections
- rough idea of materials – e.g. brick or weather board?
- cost estimate
- town planning constraints
- site constraints
- engagement of early consultants

At this point, a land survey by a registered land surveyor can be very useful, especially if the site is tight, irregular,
or sloping. A land survey should give levels (usually to AHD – Australian Height Datum) and locations of existing
structures and neighbours.

Get the client to approve the completion of the stage before proceeding to Design Development.


Upon approval of sketch design, developed design (or 'detailed design') is the time to flesh out the design prior
to it being submitted to Town Planning and then documented for construction. Investigate and finetune the
- 3d form
- plans, elevations and sections
- materials
- colours
- equipment
- sketch details of important junctions
- cost
- engagement of remaining consultants
- detailed briefing (room by room needs analysis sheets)

It is common to present colour boards during this stage, using samples and photographs to describe to the client
how things will feel and look.

2011_Topic 02 Notes

By Developed design, there should be an accurate idea of cost.

It is in both the architect’s and the client’s interests to establish a construction cost estimate as early as possible,
and to update it frequently.
Keep the client in the loop. Introduce cost changes as they happen rather than all at once. This way the client is
more aware of the cost implications of design changes, and can revise the BUDGET or halt the design changes.
Also the architect is less likely to be blamed for cost increases when the client is informed throughout.
Following is a sample cost sheet for a project, using square metre rates obtained from a construction cost
Note: the word “estimate” - it must be emphasised to the client that this is a “ball park” cost. This is especially
the case where a cost handbook is used rather than a Quantity Surveyor.
Note: the separation of construction cost from the total project cost. The former is the estimate of the builder's
tender. The latter should resemble the clients total project budget – all included.

Note: the separation of the GST. All construction costs are given excluding GST, which is a commercial situation
can be refunded. On a domestic project the client is the end user and will have to pay the GST. Make clear
where the GST is in your cost estimate.

Note: this example is a few years old. Cost increases in the building industry from year to year need to be built
into estimates for work that will not get built for a year or two. Cost escalation varies from 4% to 8% per year.

2011_Topic 02 Notes
Square metre rates a useful at an early design stage, but less so when the work is complex, or involves
alterations and upgrades to existing buildings. In these cases it is better to estimate item by item. The sample
below is a Quantity surveyor's Elemental Cost Summary of a small renovation.


− Planning regulations in Victoria exist to regulate the use of land, as distinct from building regulations that
deal primarily with buildings.
− In general terms all land in Victoria is subject to planning regulations, the exceptions being certain federal
government (Crown) land and uses that are exempted by overriding legislation (ie. mobile phone towers)
− As for building regulations, planning regulations (and therefore the use of land) are generally the
responsibility of the individual states.
− Unlike the BCA, there are no national unifying planning regulations.
− The authority responsible for planning regulations is generally the municipal council within which the land is
− The responsible authority assesses applications for planning permits

2011_Topic 02 Notes
− There are consultants who specialise in providing advice in relation to planning regulations, although unlike
private building surveyors these consultants are not able to issue planning permits.
− A Planning Permit is not necessarily required for every building project – the regulations affecting the land
upon which the building is sited will determine if a permit is required, given factors such as the use, size
and siting of the building.
− A Planning Permit may be required even when no building works are being undertaken, ie. when the use
only of a building and/or land is being changed

To determine whether or not it is required, visit and do a planning report. You will also need to
look at the planning schemes online (see references).

In terms of fees, planning was once part of the Developed Design fee. Its increased complexity and uncertainty
now means that architects tend to charge an extra amount for this, with conditions.

These conditions could be: that a planning permit is not guaranteed; and that work after the planning
application date is charged at an hourly rate.

Strategic Planning
wide long term focus – how can the city grow?

Statutory Planning
does a development conform to planning regulations?

- ensure development conforms to community expectation
- ensure development

a mix of
- community desire
- council politics

Most inner urban projects require a planning permit due to the small lot
sizes. There are different planning rules for properties in different zones
(e.g. R1Z is Resdiential 1 Zone). A property may also be subject to various
overlays which will require further work in the planning application.
Common overlays are Special Building Overlays (e.g. for sites subject to
flooding) and Heritage Overlays.

Each planning application is considered by council for two months or

more. During this time they may request further information, and will
alert affected neighbours so that they have a chance to object.

Planning permits are often refused – the owner has the right to apply to
appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

A typical residential planning application will include:

- A neighbourhood and site description (text and drawn)
- A design response (text describing how the design “responds”
to the various clauses relevant to its zones and overlays. (Single houses
resond to Clause 54, otherwise known as “Rescode”).
- Drawings describing the design – typically a site plan, floor
plans, elevations, roof plan, and colourboard.
- Shadow diagrams showing shadows cast at 9am, 12noon, and
3pm on the Spring Equinox (September 21st)

REFERENCES click “property reports”
Planning schemes online:

Department of Planning and Community Development:

2011_Topic 02 Notes

Why do we have them?

Health & Safety / Amenity / Equality / Fitness for purpose / Sustainability /
To ensure there is a minimum standard of building
The minimum building standards are controlled by a hierarchy of government acts and documents

Building Regulations

– Building regulations in general deal with issues such as light and ventilation, fire detection, exits and
structure to ensure a minimum level of health and safety is achieved in all buildings.
– Making and enforcing regulations relating to buildings in Australia is the responsibility of each state and
territory government - each state and territory therefore has its own acts and regulations that prescribe the
‘rules’ of building.
– Building regulations in Australia have developed from individual state based controls to the current situation
where all states and territories have adopted a uniform code known as the Building Code of Australia or
BCA. This code covers most of the day to day regulations that need to be complied with.
– Individual states still have their own acts and regulations – these deal primarily with administrative
procedures relating to the implementation of the BCA. These acts and regulations will always be required.
– There are also state based variations and additions to the BCA - these are due to regional differences (ie.
climate/insulation) or items of non-agreement (ie. pool fences) - the long term objective is to eliminate state
based variations.

The Building Code of Australia (BCA)

The BCA contains technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures,
covering such matters as structure, fire resistance, access and egress, services and equipment, and energy
efficiency as well as certain aspects of health and amenity.

– Online access is available to the BCA, volumes can also be found in the library. Become familiar with it
structure and parts.
– The BCA consists of 2 volumes:Volume 1 Class 2 - 9 Buildings; Volume 2 Class 1 & 10 Buildings (Housing)
– The ‘Class’ of a building is defined in the BCA - refer Part A3 - and is determined by the purpose for which it
is designed, constructed or adapted to be used.
– Apart from the class of a building the BCA also sets out a buildings regulatory requirements in relation to its
height/number of storeys and area.
– In general, the higher the class of a building, the greater the height/number of storeys and the greater the
area, the stricter the requirements of the code are on the design of a building (the exception is Class 10
buildings or structures).
– In practice this means that a single storey Class 1 building (ie. a house) and a multi-storey Class 9 building
(ie. a hospital) represent the extremes of risk - remember that building regulations in general exist to to
ensure a minimum level of health and safety is achieved in all buildings.
– Compliance with the BCA can be achieved in several ways. Generally the ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions’ are
adopted - these are set out in detail within the BCA itself.
– The BCA covers issues relating primarily to the health and safety of people and buildings. You should
examine all parts of the BCA to ensure familiarity with both its scope and practical content/implications.

Other implortant “regs”

Planning Scheme
Disability Discrimination Act
Occupational Health & Safety Act
Australian Standards – referenced by the BCA & your specification

The Building Surveyor advises on many codes and regulations

Private planners and council advise on town planning

2011_Topic 02 Notes
Building Commission – links to relevant acts and regulations:

The BCA and Australian Standards can be accessed online through the library portal.


All architects' offices have a trade library containing trade literature (supplier information). Much of this
information is now better to find on the www – as it should be more up to date. Trade libraries still have an
important role for any products where you need an accurate idea of colour(paint) or texture (fabrics). Sample
libraries contain loose building material samples, e.g. bricks and tiles.

Trade literature should give detailed information on sizing, standards compliance, services requirements, and

2011_Topic 02 Notes