- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 04 Dec 2014
Self-build home: Prepare a brief
A clear, written brief should be prepared:
- To help decide what is required.
- To create a record of what has been agreed.
- To describe requirements to other people, such as designers.
It can take a considerable time to develop a thorough brief and some self-builders may wish to seek expert advice to help them. However, it is important that the brief is 'owned' by the self builder, reflecting their personal requirements, not those of a consultant.
The brief is not a static document, it will develop as the project progresses and requirements are better understood. However, beyond the concept design stage, the brief should be strictly controlled as subsequent changes will incur increasingly large abortive costs.
Prepare a brief.
In the first instance, the brief should focus on the functions that need to be performed in the building, and should avoid being just a list of accommodation. That is, it should focus on ‘what you want to do’ rather than ‘what rooms you want to build’. This helps keep options open during the design process and avoids leaping to conclusions before requirements have been properly assessed.
The brief might include information about:
- The overall context for the project, including a description of the self-builder, their lifestyle and aspirations for the project.
- The budget.
- The programme and any key dates.
- The functions that the building will be required to accommodate.
- The qualities that will be required from the project, and their relative priority.
- Any comparable facilities that might act as a benchmark.
- Any specific sizes, relationships or other spatial requirements.
- Any functions that require privacy, separation or connection.
- Any particular technical requirements.
- Specific inclusions and exclusions.
- Initial assumptions about the likely procurement strategy and organisation of the project (see Develop a delivery strategy for more information).
- Assumptions about durability, lifespan and maintenance requirements.
- Internal thermal, ventilation, acoustic and lighting conditions.
- Requirements for sustainability.
Featured articles and news
Using QSAND to measure the performance of disaster response.
What U-values are, why they matter and how they are calculated.
The need to ensure that we plan for all aspects of our bio-economy
BSRIA calls on government to reach deeper into the causes of pollution.
George Demetri brings a whole new level of technical knowledge to Designing Buildings Wiki.
Quality professionals need to take an active role in driving the completion process forwards.
The innovations needed to move from rhetoric to realisation.
Creating a sense of place, with radically-low running costs and the highest comfort levels.
A conversation between David Mitchell and Caitlin DeSilvey.
A quick guide to brick sizes.
The Union Street development in Southwark was a passion, as well as a business endeavour.
Do our water quality standards demonstrate to the public that their supply is clean?
A third of practitioners do not have easy access to the knowledge they need.