- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 10 Jun 2019
An early phase of the design process, 'concept design' articulates the broad outlines of function and form, Concept design generally takes place after feasibility studies and options appraisals have been carried out and a project brief has been prepared. The concept design represents the design team's initial response to the project brief.
Some designers 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 project plans have now combined these two steps into the single stage 'concept design', or 'concept'.
- The design concept.
- Outline specifications.
- Schedules of accommodation.
- A planning strategy.
- The cost plan.
- Procurement options.
- Programme and phasing strategy.
- Buildability and construction logistics.
At the end of the stage, the consultant team will prepare a concept design report for the client which records the basic design concepts for the preferred option that might be worth further investigation in the detailed design stage. The concept design report will also identify any instructions required from the client.
The project brief will continue to develop as the concept design is prepared, but is then frozen at the end of the concept design stage and change control procedures are introduced.
An application for planning permission might be made during the concept design stage. This is likely to be an outline planning application if made at the beginning of the stage or a detailed planning application if made once the concept design is complete.
The above serves as an outline. For a more detailed account see ‘Concept design’.
By the end of the detailed design process, the design should be dimensionally correct and co-ordinated, describing all the main components of the building and how they fit together. However, technical aspects of the design may require further development, design by specialists may not yet have been fully incorporated into the design and it will not have been packaged for tender.
Detailed design should provide sufficient information for applications for statutory approval to be made.
Items that are typically included in detailed design include:
- Overall layout.
- Road layouts and landscape.
- Operational flows and departmental operational policies.
- Horizontal and vertical circulation routes, including accessibility requirements.
- Schedules of accommodation, including occupancy numbers for each space.
- Identification of standard and non-standard room layouts.
- Room data sheets, if appropriate.
- Building dimensions and gridlines.
- Architectural plans sections and elevations of buildings, parts of buildings and drawings.
- Outline specification including schedules of components, defining the performance and/or material standards required (including colours).
- Elements of design that require specialist input or early choice of manufacturer. Designers should investigate suppliers certificates, warranties and compliance with standards.
- Requirements for mock-ups, testing, samples or models necessary to satisfy performance or public relations requirements (including computer generated images).
- Key assemblies, component drawings and schedules.
- Structural plans sections, elevations and specifications.
- Building services plans, sections and elevations.
- Defining of phases if the project is to be phased.
- Safety strategy
- Fire strategy
- Acoustic strategy;
- Use of materials and potential for re-use, recycling and waste handling (see site waste management plan).
- Detailed cost plan showing the capital and lifecycle costs for all the components, and
- Risk assessment including operational issues
The above serves as an outline. For a more detailed account see ‘Detailed design stage in building design’.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BREEAM launches local planning authority guidance.
- Briefing documents.
- Computer-generated imagery (CGI).
- Concept design report.
- Concept architectural design.
- Concept architectural design checklist.
- Concept structural design.
- Concept services design.
- Design and its visual elements.
- Detailed design.
- Feasibility studies.
- Mood board.
- Options appraisal.
- Schedule of accommodation.
- What is design?
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