Services Provided by Building Designers
Building Designers provide a professional, value-for-money service to their clients.
Building design requirements can be varied and extensive or, in some cases, quite straightforward.
To enable a clearer understanding of the various services, the following summary attempts to identify the relevant scope of works.
Preliminary Design Consultation
May include a detailed project briefing in the Building Designer's office, or at the client's office or home to assess client's needs, and provide advice on various options including discussion of possible future plans, resale, etc. Preliminary layout sketches may be produced and/or an indicative budget prepared. The intent of this briefing is to assess available options so a value judgement can be made for further detailed development.
Site Feature Survey (this is not a Licensed Survey)
Carry out feature and levels survey of the building site including noting of features such as fences, large trees, drainage, pits, adjacent properties, views, local features, etc. A 're-establishment survey' might be required to re-peg the site boundaries (if required, this needs to be carried out by a Licensed Surveyor at extra cost). In some cases a Licensed Survey is a mandatory requirement of a Council.
Detailed Site Measures and Preparation of Existing Conditions Plan
Relates to existing buildings requiring alterations or additions and involves documenting the state of existing works prior to any alterations or additions.
In some cases, Building Designers may prepare feasibility studies for proposed projects involving analysis of design options, scope of works and likely costs based on historical data.
Preliminary Design Development
This role incorporates co-ordinating a design brief from the client and preparing preliminary concept sketches suitable for subsequent detailed development. Often included at this time is an assessment of options designed to analyse various benefits, long-term aims or budget considerations. Where required, discussions with neighbours or other interested parties may be reviewed.
Planning Application Drawings
Where required by Council or by Codes, after approval of concept design, the preparation of presentation drawings for planning application purposes. The drawings describe for planning application purposes the scope of works and relevant visible finishes and site conditions.
Planning Submissions to Council and Carrying Out Required Advertising
Building Designers prepare site context plans and design response plans for the purposes of making application for a planning permit. Where required by Council, lodge the relevant application forms, plans and/or letter of explanation as may be necessary. Upon request by Council, erect site signs and carry out any other activities necessary to complete the statutory advertising requirements (if not carried out by the Council)
An advanced stage of the Feasibility Study referred to above where a design concept may be reviewed, modified and developed to finally refine a concept to include the best available features and also to ensure that the ultimate working drawings will be consistent with the planning drawings and permit requirements.
The preparation of working drawings to define basic structural aspects and many requirements of finish deemed to comply with the provisions of the Building Code of Australia. The drawings provide details of all doors, windows, roof construction, dimensions, site works and also detail specific connections or construction techniques.
Internal Details – Amenities/Wet Areas
The preparation of detailed drawings of layout, elevations, finishes, etc showing built-in cupboards, fittings, extent of wall-tiling, wall mirrors, etc for all wet areas, i.e., kitchen, bathroom, laundry. The intention is that these drawings can be given to relevant trades to assist with costing estimates and to clarify details of finish. In many cases, accessories, power points and lighting can be located.
Liaison with clients to produce a comprehensive layout plan of lighting and power points incorporating requirements for switching, dimmer switches, security lighting, general and/or purpose lighting.
Building Thermal Perfomance Assessments
Many BDAV Members also conduct thermal performance assessments of buildings (often referred to as Energy Ratings), which aim to ensure your project is thermally efficient and environmentally sustainable, as well as ensuring your project complies with any environmental regulations that may apply.
With many Australians now becoming more environmentally aware, good design now goes arm-in-arm with environmentally friendly design. There are a vast array of innovative 'green' products now available that can assist to reduce your project's environmental 'footprint' and to minimise the running costs of your project, and many building designers can provide advice about such 'green' products to ensure your project is energy efficient, resulting in a healthy living or working environment.
Project Specification and Schedule of Finishes
A descriptive specification providing a defined basis for builders to prepare their fixed price quotation. The specification describes the standards of workmanship and includes details of fittings, finishes and materials to be used.
Call Tenders, Liaise with Client and Builders, Attend Contract Signing
Completion of tender documents for the calling of tenders from selected builders. May also assist in preparation of contract documents. Analyse quotations and make recommendations to the Client for the appointment of a builder, assist in negotiations and final signing-off on building contract. It is recommended that all parties prior to signing any contract documents seek legal advice.
Lodge Building Permits and Liaise with Building Surveyors
Prepare application forms, co-ordinate all relevant documents and lodge with the appointed building surveyor. In some cases, liaison with the building surveyor will be required prior to completion of working drawings.
Site Attendance and Contract Administration
Attend site on a regular basis to monitor progress, advise and interpret drawings and contract documentation for the builder and/or the owner as required. Monitor the project to obtain appropriate finishes consistent with the design concept, client's brief and fair and reasonable trade practice. To carry out contract administration such as record variations, progress claims, etc and advise on the validity of such claims.
Note: The role does not include responsibility for quality control. In all cases the builder is responsible for adherence to the contract documents, to relevant building regulations and to the maintenance of quality control. The Building Designer's role is of an advisory capacity only.
May be included on some projects or alternatively a civil engineer may be engaged.
Engagement of Consultants
Some projects require the engagement of external consultants to carry out specialist works on behalf of the client, eg. structural engineer, landscape designer, interior designer, building surveyor, town planner to name a few. Client's authority should be obtained prior to instructing such consultants.
Assessment of Compliance Reports
Building Designers can assist with the assessment of the numerous compliance reports often required by regulatory authorities and obtaining reports/schedules demonstrating compliance with the various regulations and codes affecting the building and construction industry.
Many Building Designers have skills or capacities to offer artistic representations of the project. This is particularly helpful for marketing purposes and in assisting to visualise the project concept in three-dimensional form, eg, perspectives, 3D CAD images, walk-throughs.