There is a fairly standard process to home design which is followed by almost every building designer and architect. We use this process for our custom work, and an outline of that can be found here.
When we started putting our plan sets together though, we needed to develop a method which is both standardized, and flexible. This will allow you to benefit from access to low cost design and drafting while also getting options and customization.
To start your planning process, you’ll first need to work out what you need in a home in terms of bedrooms, living spaces, size, accessibility, and style. In our Learning Centre, we are building a great store of information on all these topics in our Design Articles. Next you need to consider your budget, to work out how your needs will match with the financial reality. We’ll go into more detail on that in another article as well. The final thing to consider is the actual construction of the building, being how it is built, what it’s made of, and who will build it. These things will inform a lot of the detail decisions later on.
We have this helpful questionnaire which you can fill out to get some of these ideas down on paper as you go through this initial process.
Once you know what you’re looking for, we will hopefully have a home design to suit, and you can start to get your planning and approval documents together.
Concept Plan Sets
The first set you’ll need is the Concept Plan Set. The Concept Plan Sets are the starter pack, containing the main set of documents needed for conceptual and pre-planning purposes.
This set is really intended to give you a good understanding of the size, orientation, scale, features, and feel of the home. With this in hand, you’ll be able to hang internal perspectives on your wall to dream of living in your new home, talk to friends or builders about the layout and materials, and picture how the building will sit on your land.
These Concept Plans all share elements such as window materials, roof material, cabinet colours etc, and each has particular wall types, window types etc. These can all be customised in the next stage and are just indicative or suggested for the concept.
Planning Document Set
When you are ready to move forward with planning and approvals, you can come back and get the Planning Document Set for your design. This set will contain the basic planning documents you need to submit a Development Application to Council. There are several items which aren’t included but are required, such as a site plan, BASIX certificate, and Statement of Environmental Effects. You will need to put these together yourself or hire a local building designer to assist.
The building plans in this set contain all the information needed to go through the planning and application process though, so shouldn’t need to be updated.
One important aspect from your perspective, is that during the purchase process, you’ll be asked to fill out a form which details various options and material selections for your design. This is where you get to customise the design to your taste and preference for materials and building techniques. You’ll be able to choose things like straw bale or double stud walls, timber or aluminium windows, and colourbond or tile roof.
Construction Detail Set
The final set of documents you’ll need is the Construction Detail Set for your design. You can purchase this alongside the Planning Document Set, or at a later time, but it will be needed for a Council issued Construction Certificate or a Complying Development Certificate.
The Construction Details are a set of plans and images showing all the information required to build the home. This includes things like the slab setout diagram to show the exact dimensions of the slab, 3D details with notes and sizes for wall framing, window flashing, etc, Room Layout pages to show internal dimensions and positions of kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures, and all sorts of other vital information. With this Set, you can get your building approval and also ensure the home is constructed correctly and uses all the right materials. You can also take this set to a local engineer and get all the structural sign offs and performance reports you may need.
Our Construction details are also of great value to owner builders as they show each important building element in 3D. With notes on materials and methods, and clear material layering, you’ll get an invaluable insight into how each part of the home should come together.
What if you’ve worked out what you need in a home but we don’t have anything to suit on the store? Maybe there’s something that’s almost right, but you want it slightly smaller, or want to capture a westerly view, or add a carport? If you would like to modify a standard design beyond the customisation options provided, we are more than happy to help. We generally offer customisation of existing plans for low cost, which is detailed here.
If you would like us to produce some of the additional planning documents for you we can often assist with that. This would be for items like the BASIX certificate. We can also often recommend good engineers and consultants to help you out with performance reports, SOEE etc.
For any of this, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to discuss how we can help.
If you’re ready to start looking at home designs now, you can find them here: Home Plans
For more information on what’s included in each set of plans, you can read more here: Longhouse Plan Sets – What’s Included?
For the full list of documents required for planning approval, see: Planning Documentation