Architectural design Brisbane | Concepts and development 

Architectural design Brisbane | Concepts and development 

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In our last blog post, we spoke about how our Pre-Design Consultation sets the foundations for our working relationship as we move into design concepts and development. Today, we thought we would take you further into a project so you can learn more about the six vital steps to a fully resolved architectural project. Whether renovating or building a new home, a collaborative approach will result in a home with a harmonious atmosphere providing the lifestyle dream you were hoping for.

In this post, we will focus on the first three collaborative stages of a residential renovation project. If you have never used an architect before, then this informative piece will give you some insight into what is involved and why there are six steps in our process.

Step one: Pre-Design Consultation

In our Pre-Design Consultation, we talk with you about your project; we listen to your ideas. We take in the site’s location and aspect, all while gaining an appreciation of what you are trying to achieve. As we learn about the inhabitants of your home, we continually look for solutions to areas that may be challenging, offering ideas and alternative options that you may not have considered.

Once we have a clear understanding of you and your project, we develop a comprehensive brief of design components specific to your project. We may offer alternative solutions to your ideas.

To make things more realistic, we will consider these processes as they relate to a renovation.


Quite often our clients will approach us looking to renovate and extend their current home. They may have found that as the family grows, they require an additional bedroom. The one family bathroom is no longer fulfilling their needs with a bottleneck of congestion impeding the morning’s activities. A second bathroom is now a must-have. With other areas of the home such as the kitchen showing signs of age, a renovation is clearly on the cards.

Our Pre-Design consultation will uncover these family concerns, and together we will discuss the opportunities unique to the property, and to the needs of the family.

How do we, as architects, interpret the brief and resolve the challenges?

Step two, Sketch Design allows us to interpret your brief and identify the opportunities available to you. As architects, it is our job to translate your summary into a workable floorplan that satisfies your lifestyle requirements.


The client’s brief of adding a new bedroom and second bathroom, plus renovating the kitchen may result in an opportunity to relocate the kitchen and dining into the new extension. The old kitchen/dining space will become the much-needed additional bedroom. There could be an opportunity to transform the bathroom into an ensuite off the master bedroom and add a new family bathroom. There could be other possible solutions, too.  The concept stage of Sketch Design allows architects to translate your requirements into a physical space.

It is in this second step of our design process that your concept will come to life. This stage is called Sketch Design. The importance of this process cannot be underestimated.

Your concept phase – Step two: Sketch Design

It is in this crucial concept phase where we analyse problems, develop solutions and where we put ‘pen to paper’.

After our consultation, we will provide you with a detailed summary of your requirements and our opinion of the overall anticipated building costs for the renovations and extension works. We will request your feedback to ensure any designs produced from this summary adequately satisfy your needs and your budget.  Your evaluation is vital as this is your opportunity to define your project clearly. From this overview, we will develop your Sketch Design.

Using the site data, which for a renovation will mean using measured drawings and site survey data, our architectural team will design a tailored solution for you.

The Sketch Design Concept phase will

  • provide an analysis of space planning,
  • resolve how rooms will ultimately relate to one another,
  • maximise the climatic benefits of your home’s natural environment,
  • take into consideration any views and vistas available,
  • consider internal and external spacial planning,
  • look at how areas or zones within your home will connect,
  • consider council planning and building code issues.

Depending on the opportunity your project presents, and what our team visualises for you, we may produce more than one floorplan for you to consider. There may also be options based on a specific component for you to examine, or the possibility of staging the build.

Concepts and Development

Sketch Design – Concept Stage Ground Floor Plan for a New Home

The design output will demonstrate balance, proportion and the aesthetics concerning both look and feel; reflecting the relationship between the spaces, the environment and your lifestyle. Our design concept will reflect not just the building design aspect but also interior design and landscaping external works design. You will see the placement of furniture to get an understanding of the size of your rooms, and any external landscaping changes will allow you to picture the complete project.

Indicative Costing – A unique opportunity to really understand the financials of your project

Once our team has completed your Sketch Design process, we will send the floorplans off to an external consultant, a Quantity Surveyor, for an opinion of cost. This independent indicative costing will be provided to you together with your Sketch Design in our project report. This information provides you with a roadmap for your project.

Progressing your design – Step three: Design Development

The next step is Step three, our Design Development stage. Once you have had time to evaluate the Sketch Design and reflect on the solutions we provide, we will once again take the time to listen to your feedback. You will tell us what solution best suits your needs, what you like, how the project’s indicative costing fits with your budget expectations and through this collaborative process we can further develop and refine your floorplan.

The Design Development phase will provide sketch concept revisions and development of your chosen design. At this significant stage, your feedback will drive our design process forward.

We will refine the concept and describe all the aspects of the design, providing a 3D visual representation of your home. We will prepare design drawings to demonstrate what the home will look like in a photo-realistic format. We will develop fully-resolved floor plans, a site plan and sections, allowing you to see “inside” the home.

Concepts and development – design to fit your lifestyle

These first three steps towards a completed architectural project are fundamental in ensuring the design fits your lifestyle, and any challenges are resolved before approvals and the building process.

You will need to engage with the design, providing feedback to ensure the right solution for your home and enjoyment. Once we have decided on the major outline of the building design, we turn a little more inward and get down to the work of preparing approval drawings to bring your design to life. We’ll detail this more in our next blog.

If you are interested in finding out more about our architectural services, phone dion seminara architecture on 07 3899 9450


Dion Seminara Architect


We are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.

Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.