The Design Process - Owner Builder Club
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The Design Process

The team at The Owner Builder Club LOVES this part of the process. It’s where creative juices really start to flow.

Here’s an overview for you:


We recommend you have a dedicated ‘Design Ideas’ folder or box to store all the pages you’ll be ripping out of home magazines. And if you feel like being super organised, file by room e.g. kitchen, bathroom, main room etc.

If you’re more of a digital being, make Pinterest your go to – head to our Pinterest page for hits of inspiration.


Visit display homes, home building expos or note any design features you like about the homes of family or friends, perhaps even ideas from hotel rooms you’ve stayed in.


Get a real understanding of what you like and don’t like as this will help when you meet with an Architect/Draftsperson.


Whilst we’re all for gathering pretty pictures, you do need to eliminate. Of the 30 kitchen designs you love, narrow it down to 3 to 5 AND be sure to know exactly what it is you like about each.


With your beautifully compiled photos and Pinterest board, you’re now ready to put together your brief.

Why? Because the brief (done in advance) is what you’ll discuss when you meet your preferred professional i.e. architect/draftsperson.

So get busy and start detailing things that are important to you and your lifestyle:

  • think about your priorities and specific requirements
  • what are your non-negotiables e.g. natural light, oversized family room
  • preferences for products and finishes (think flooring)
  • style of home (interior and exterior), certain features, look and feel, outdoor areas, natural light (think skylights), privacy, parking etc
  • number and size of all rooms (please DO NOT forget storage!)
  • the maximum price you can afford to spend on the build

Also include information about the building site:

  • shape of the block, orientation/views
  • parts of the land you can’t build on (and reason)
  • privacy from neighbouring houses
  • trees
  • site access


Create a simple Word document and include all the suggestions listed above. Your architect/draftsperson may also have their own template however it pays to be one step ahead!


Make the brief as detailed as possible. If what you want is not included in the brief, it won’t be included in the design.

This will save you from any cost of change during or after construction.


Now it’s time to take your brief to an architect/draftsperson and they will prepare drafts and design ideas, per your design brief.


You MUST be across what’s included in any costing and what’s not. Be sure to know what's included in the architects price. And understand what’s not included.


Think about whether or not you want an Architect to help you with the Development Application and Construction Certificate as well as the required surveyor and engineer plans. This will cost more but unless you're super confident in the building process, it could be well worth the $$’s.


When choosing any professional or tradesperson, make sure you feel at ease with them. This is a massive investment so you want to know you’re in the right hands.


Here, the architect/draftsperson will refine the concept designs into more detailed documentation, based on discussions with you.


We like to take a can of spray paint and draw an outline on the site (to scale). This gives a fantastic idea of size/layout as well as a feel for space and walking from one room to another.

Anything you don’t like can be changed prior to documents being finalised.


It’s really getting down to the pointy end as your vision is about to be locked and loaded.

If your Architect/Draftsperson is also carrying out the required approvals, these will happen at this stage.

You’re now ready to hand your plans to a builder for pricing!