- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 01 Jul 2020
A concept is an abstract or initial idea that can form part of a plan or strategy. It is often described as a type of mental representation. In terms of construction, a concept is generally the initial idea for a project or development.
A concept design represents an initial response to a brief. Some designers will differentiate between 'concept design' and 'scheme design'. In this case, the 'concept' is the initial design idea, whereas the 'scheme' develops the concept, taking on board more functional and practical considerations. Most projects now combine these two steps into the single stage 'concept design', or 'concept'.
Mike Davies, founding partner of RSHP has written:
‘Concept design requires that the architect grapples with the real issues of form and bulk, scale and mass and the generic appearance of a building within its surrounding urban context, resolving and encapsulating the principles of the scheme. Concept design implies an idea, or range of ideas, a development approach, a guiding concept and a design intent. It resolves the issue of 'what' and 'how much' and begins to set the stage for understanding 'how'. Concept design explores the resolution of the brief, implied or set out in the feasibility and assessment stage. The conceptual approach places the quantum of development intelligently on the site.’
To read more, see Concept architectural design.
Concept drawings or sketches are drawings, often freehand, that are used by designers such as architects, engineers and interior designers as a quick and simple way of exploring initial ideas for designs. They are not intended to be accurate or definitive, merely a way of investigating and communicating design principles and aesthetic concepts.
- Preferred foundation design.
- Frame system.
- Structural grid with column sizes.
- Primary and secondary beam sizes and spans.
- Schedules of floor loadings catering for dead and live loads.
- Weights and location of major plant and equipment.
- Energy targets.
- Insulation assumptions.
- Routes for the distribution of horizontal services runs including access provisions.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Briefing documents.
- Concept architectural design checklist.
- Construction reports.
- Design and its visual elements.
- Design intent.
- Design methodology.
- Design principles.
- Feasibility studies.
- Needs analysis.
- Statement of need.
Featured articles and news
The initiative to enhance the environment continues.
Could underused community spaces offer an alternative to working from home?
Keeping workers and workplaces safe in the United States.
A history lesson in geographic information systems.
A low tech, easy to use method of extinguishing small fires.
How can these valued spaces be reused?
Partnership avoids the need for listed building consent.
Connecting building design from inception to completion to operations.
Gregor Harvie predicts interoperability will be construction’s Uber moment.
Expert commentary and insight.
Guidance offered for stained glass window maintenance.
Define need before determining viability.