Introduction

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​​​​During this stage the Outline Brief is refined to create a Design Brief that will inform the purchase of appropriate land and serve as the basis for developing a Concept Design, the first time the ideas in your Design Brief are presented as drawings.​

Ideally, land should be bought after you have defined your needs and requirements in the Design Brief, so that any site conditions preventing the project’s vision from being realised can be identified. 

If you are purchasing land, it is likely that architects and architectural designers will want to visit your preferred site before you buy it, to see if it meets your design needs. This is an important step in the site selection process, but it is often overlooked.

If you already own land for the project, the Design Brief should capture site-specific characteristics (see the ‘Key Activities’ section of the ‘Engage Design Team’ stage).
How a Design Brief will help achieve your objectives
The Design Brief is a more detailed version of the Outline Brief, providing enough information for designers to draw a house that meets your needs or the needs of your intended market. The more thorough and detailed your Design Brief, the closer designers will get to achieving exactly the house you want.

As well as adding more detail about what you want from your house, the Design Brief should set objectives and measurable targets around energy, water, comfort and health, lifecycle costs, which will be used to evaluate outcomes in the design and building stages. Examples of targets include:
  • Comfort: Temperatures throughout the house should be between 19°C and 21°C all year round.
  • Energy: Typical use of the home should consume no more than 5,000kWh of energy per annum.
  • Water: 30% of water used in the home throughout the year should be supplied by a rainwater tank.
See ‘Approaches to Sustainability​’ in the Sustainability hub for more information on setting sustainability objectives and targets.

Your Design Brief will evolve with the project. As information is gathered and knowledge increases, add this in to your Design Brief, always checking against what you set out to do in your Outline Brief and Vision Statement. This will help to ensure each decision made in the design and build process moves towards your original goal.​​​