Last edited 08 Dec 2014

Self-build home: Prepare a concept design

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In this stage, we attribute design activities to ‘designers’. These may be architects and engineers, a design and build contractor, or a kit house supplier. If a kit house supplier is only supplying the house itself, additional design consultants may be required.

Concept design is the first design stage. Some designers will differentiate between 'concept design' and 'scheme design'. In this case, the 'concept' is the initial design idea (or outline design), whereas the 'scheme' develops the concept, taking on board more functional and practical considerations.

It may be necessary for designers to undertake site surveys and other site appraisals before starting the concept design, for example, digging trial pits before designing foundations.

Design is an iterative and collaborative process, it requires close involvement of all those with an interest in the completed home. This is important not only to ensure a suitable design is developed, but also to make certain that everyone has ‘bought into’ the design and it is not just one person’s vision.

Developing the brief.

It is likely that the project brief will continue to develop as the concept design is prepared. It is important that these developing requirements are written down so there is a record of what has been agreed. Development of the brief might include:

Developing the concept design.

The concept design should develop to include:

This information should be co-ordinated and issued at the end of the stage for comment or approval before the project proceeds to detailed design or a planning application is submitted.

The brief should be frozen at the end of the concept design stage and any subsequent changes that materially alter the cost should be carefully considered by the self builder for approval or rejection.

Next stage: Submit a planning application.

List of all stages.