Last edited 07 Nov 2020

Developing a brief for a building project


[edit] Introduction

Briefing documents are crucial to the success of a project as they describe the requirements for which the design provides the solution.

Briefing is a joint, collaborative activity between client and consultants (generally lead by the architect), developed gradually as needs are better understood. The level and timing of consultant input will vary depending on the client and their needs. An experienced client may be able to prepare a detailed brief in the very early stages that does not require a great deal of further development (for example a retailer who regularly opens new stores), whilst an inexperienced client may benefit from input by independent advisers to help prepare a strategic brief, and this may then be developed with the help of the consultant team.

The brief is not static, but part of a dynamic process that begins with the client determining their broad needs so that they can select appropriate consultants.

[edit] Statement of need.

This is the client's very first attempt to describe their possible requirements, before it has been decided that a project is merited or what form such a project might take.

If consultants are to be appointed to assist with preparing a more detailed strategic brief and to assess the feasibility of the proposed project, the nature of their role and scope of services may be based on the project description in the statement of need.

For more information see: Statement of need.

[edit] Strategic brief.

The strategic brief is written by the client, perhaps with input from external advisors, and provides sufficient information about the project to allow the appointment of a consultant team. It is then developed by the client with the benefit of feedback from the consultant team.

When complete, it will describe the client's requirements in sufficient detail for feasibility studies and option appraisals to be carried out.

A thorough strategic brief can take a considerable time to develop and is prepared through a process of:

For more information see: Strategic brief.

[edit] Project brief

The project brief is the key document upon which the design will be based.

It is developed by the consultant team, typically lead by the architect, and evolves through the early stages of the project with the benefit of information gained from consultations with the client and other stakeholders and ongoing design development.

It may be developed based upon:

It is frozen at the end of the concept design stage and any further changes are then subject to change control procedures.

It may be described as an initial project brief in the development stages, and then final project brief when agreed.

For more information see: Project brief.

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