- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 27 Mar 2018
Detailed design stage in building 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.
Detailed design should include:
- Overall layout.
- Operational flows and departmental operational policies.
- Horizontal and vertical circulation routes, including accessibility requirements.
- If appropriate, room data sheets.
- Building dimensions and gridlines.
- Architectural plans sections and elevations of buildings, parts of buildings and components, including:
- Block plans.
- Site plans and external works.
- Changes in floor levels.
- Expansion joints.
- Demarcation of changes to finishes.
- Reflected ceiling plans.
- 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 with special attention to junctions and interfaces between elements which will influence the structural or services designs or have an effect on the spatial allowances. Key details will include:
- External walls, lining, cladding, glazing, windows and blinds.
- Balconies, canopies and entrances.
- Roofing and finishes, rooflights, drainage, gutters and outlets.
- Floor constructions and finishes.
- Damp proof courses.
- Service duct and services plan enclosures.
- Load bearing internal walls and partitions, including lifts and other shafts.
- Non-load bearing partitions.
- Ceiling construction and support.
- Overall dimensions and fixing details for fixed equipment such as sanitary fittings and joinery.
- Roads, paths, paving, boundaries and retaining walls.
- External gradients and falls including gutters and outlets.
- Components that can be standardised, mass produced or prefabricated, resulting in reduced costs or reduced construction durations.
- Initial schedules indicating:
- The location of all structural elements in relation to gridlines.
- Dimensions and sizes of beams, columns, walls and slabs.
- Sketch details of junctions and proposed fixings.
- Superimposed loading allowances for each floor slab.
- The proposed discipline for all holes giving range and sizes permissible.
- An outline specification including total weights of reinforcement.
- The detailed design should highlight any changes from the concept design and provide the services engineer with sufficient information to undertake the services design.
- Plumbing and drainage (high and low level).
- Heavy pipework.
- Electrical trunking.
- Light pipework.
- Electrical control wiring.
- Plantroom layouts.
- Riser drawings.
- Access requirements and builders work in connection.
- Define phases if the project is to be phased. This can be complicated by items that appear in buildings intended for later phases, but that are required for the operation of earlier phases, for example boilers or escape stairs.
- Safety strategy.
- Fire strategy, including:
- Zoning and compartmentation.
- Separation (such as fire resistance of compartments, restriction of openings between compartments and distances to boundaries).
- Protected shafts (staircases and services).
- Surface spread of flame and escape strategy (including travel distances and staircase widths).
- Active measures such as detection, ventilation, alarms, sprinklers.
- Minimum ventilation requirements where no mechanical ventilation is provided.
- Dry risers and hose reels.
- Uninterrupted power supplies.
- Fire rated cables.
- Acoustic separation and acoustic conditions (reverberation times etc).
- The use of materials and the potential for re-use, recycling and waste handling (see site waste management plan).
- Risk assessment including operational issues such as; lifts (goods / passenger / fire and other equipment that may require a lifting certificate and cleaning cradles), cleaning of atrium roofs and facade etc.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Block plan.
- Briefing documents.
- Concept design.
- Concept architectural design.
- Concept architectural design checklist.
- Design risk management.
- Design review.
- Design quality.
- Detailed design report.
- Detailed structural design.
- Location plan.
- User panels.
- Value management.
- Whole life costs.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Helping communities recover from disasters and protecting them before they occur.
Instrumentation for critical healthcare environments.
Case study in the use of soft landings at the University of the West of England.
Richard Rogers wins is the AIA’s highest annual honour.
A quick introduction to a healthier and more sustainable form of construction.
The structural feasibility of modular high-rise buildings.
BRE conference on ways of providing and maintaining quality indoor environments.
CDBB publish foundational definitions and values to guide the development of the National Digital Twin.
Despite the reduction in staffing, most users remain satisfied with the service.
We run through the top 37 styles in history - but how many would you recognise?
Improving approaches to risk in the built environment sector.