"So what should I do first?" I hear you ask.
Well the first and most important thing to do to get your project underway is to arrange a free First Consultation Meeting. So if you haven't done so already contact me now on 0419 284 394 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a time to meet.
Design Process Summary.
The design process basically consists of three stages.
Stage 1: First Consultation Meeting & Preparation of the Preliminary Plans.
Preparation of the Preliminary Plans is charged at an hourly rate as the time taken to arrive at the final design cannot be determined in advance.
Stage 2: Preparation of the Development Application (DA).
This is the largest Stage of the design process with the greatest amount of work.
I will give you a firm price for this Stage so you will know from the start what the major cost of the design & drafting work will be.
Stage 3: Preparation of the Construction Certificate Application (CC).
This Stage consists of upgrading the DA drawings to construction standard if necessary and amending the drawings to show any changes that the Council may require as part of their "Conditions of DA Approval".
This Stage is also charged at an hourly rate as the work involved cannot be determined in advance.
At the First Consultation Meeting we will discuss your requirements and budget and what you hope to achieve with the project design. I will offer you my professional advice and guidance with regard to the proposed design and in particular advice and guidance with regard to all of the planning rules that may apply to your property and project.
When we have things nailed down I will then provide you with a written quotation for the design and drafting work. If you accept my quotation I will then proceed to take any measurements and photos I will need to do the design and drafting work. The quotation doesn't have to be accepted at this first meeting. You are very welcome to take your time to consider the quotation and then proceed if you like at a later date.
Once the quotation is accepted I will then commence the Preliminary Plans. These are sometimes referred to as Sketch Plans or Concept Plans. The Preliminary Plans as the name suggests, are basic drawings with some preliminary designs that hopefully represent the requirements discussed in our First Consultation Meeting. This is the stage where we go back and forth as necessary to change and refine the design until we arrive at the "final design" which is ready to be taken to the next stage: Preparation of the Development Application for Council. Although I call this the "final design", don't worry it's still possible to make minor changes in the next stages.
Most of the time, especially when dealing with Alterations & Additions projects, Stage 1 is not necessary as the client already knows what design or layout they want and we can then begin the design process at Stage 2.
This stage is the major workload and hurdle in the design & approval process. There is a lot of information required by the Council at this stage. Only the Council can approve a Development Application. Private Certifiers are only permitted to take over at Stage 3.
Development Applications include (as standard):
1. Architectural drawings of the project including: Site Plan, Floor Plans, Elevations & Cross Sections. There is so much information required by the Council at this stage that the DA drawings are more often than not, suitable to be used for construction purposes.
2. A Basix Certificate. This is the Energy Efficiency rules and the Certificate is required for a new house or for Alterations & Additions projects worth more than $50,000.00.
3. A Statement of Environmental Effects which tells the Council how your project will (or won't) impact upon the environment.
4. A Bushfire Assessment. Required if your property is designated as Bushfire Prone Land.
5. Shadow Diagrams. Required if your project is more than a single storey. Shadow Diagrams are not required for rural properties.
As well as the standard requirements listed above the Council may ask for additional information to be provided. Some of this information may include:
1. On-Site Sewer Management Report. This report will be required if you have an On-Site Sewer Management System and your project will add additional load to its capacity.
2. A Flood Report if your property is subject to flooding.
3. A Geotechnical Report if there is some doubt about the suitability of your land.
4. An Arborist's Report if substantial trees are to be removed.
5. A Structural Engineers Report if there is some doubt about the ability of your existing structures to cope with the additional loads that may be exerted by your new building work.
It is at this Stage 2 that all of the rules regarding building work must be properly considered. The Building & Design industry is very highly regulated and there is a rule for everything.
There are five sets of rules I must follow to arrive at a completed design:
1. The clients rules. ie; What YOU require. What YOU want to build.
2. The Council Planning rules as stated in their Local Environment Plans (LEPs) and their Development Control Plans (DCPs) and their other "Policies".
3. The Building Code rules. These are the technical rules related to building.
4. The Basix (Energy Efficiency) rules. Without following these rules you don't get a Basix Certificate. No Basix Certificate = No DA approval.
5. The Bushfire Regulations. These rules dictate the size of Asset Protection Zones and the Level of Construction (BAL) that your project must satisfy in order to hopefully survive a bushfire.
Once Stage 2 is completed the DA "package" can be submitted to the Council for DA approval.
Once we have Council DA approval we must reapply to the Council (or a Private Certifier) for a Construction Certificate (CC). NO building work can be undertaken until a CC is issued by the Council or your Private Certifier.
As part of the "Conditions of DA Approval" the Council (or Private Certifier) may require further information to be submitted with the CC Application. The usual request is for Structural Engineers drawings to be submitted for any concrete footings or slabs etc, and for any structural steel beams or columns etc.
It is also at this Stage that the Council (or Private Certifier) will want to know the details of the person who will be carrying out the building work. If you are using a licenced builder then the builder's name and licence details will need to be provided. If you are going to be an Owner Builder then your Owner Builders Permit will need to be provided.
Once Stage 3 is completed and the Construction Certificate has been "released" by the Council or Private Certifier you are free to start building.
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