THE DESIGN & APPROVAL PROCESS
In our opinion this is the best method to follow;
STEP 1 - CONCEPT STAGE
Where many people go wrong is that they miss this step. They go straight to getting the full working drawings for council approval completed straight away without confirming accurate construction costs and consulating council.
We believe our clients should first prepare a "Concept Plan"
This concept plan is a basic plan only, that is drawn to scale with some basic dimensions, elevations, window sizes and a site plan.
From this concept plan we at O'Mara can submit an accurate construction cost, price alternatives (such as changing the construction materials, building method or design) and consult council to obtain "verbal" council approval before the plans are finished and submitted for a DA. Basically this plan needs to show the builder enough information so he can measure & cost everthing accurately and you the client enough information to show you exactly what you will get.
EXISTING HOUSE PLANS
If you can obtain a copy of any existing house plans then designing extensions & renovations will be much cheaper as no or very little site measuring is required. Local councils usually have a copy of these plans that owners can obtain for a small fee, as long as the house is not too old
DETAILED CONTOUR SURVEY
Projects without quality plans will usually required a "detailed contour survey" that will show all levels, tree's, services, neighbours and other minor details that are important to the designer. The cost for this is usually around $1,500 to $2,000 paid to the surveyor preparing the report
BUILDER SITE APPRAISAL
We can usually give a quick site appraisal simply by looking up google maps and streetview. Due to our many years of experience normally we can evaluate the project quickly and give advice as to the best construction method and process to follow. There is NO fee or charge for this service, just call our office.
Complex or high quality renovations. If the project is very complex by nature or extensive work is required then a more detailed site appraisal may be required. For example you may wish to compare a knock-down rebuild against an extension & renovation. In these cases there may be other factors that need to be considered such as the quality of the services to the property, the stability of the existing footings, structural beams, etc. In these circumstances is may be better to get the builder to come to site to spend a few hours properly evaluating the property and prepare a detailed report for the building designer BEFORE the concept plan is prepared so that the design is completed in the most economical and practical method
THE DESIGN BRIEF
Unless you have an very clear idea of exactly what you want it is usually NOT a good idea to draw the design yourself. This will usually result in the designer just redrawing your bad idea's
We recommend that you prepare a professional design brief to ensure the designer does exactly what you want and does not go off with his/her own "great idea's"
To do this we recomend that your prepare a brief that states;
1. Your BUDGET - everyone has one and needs one no matter what it is, even if its just a range
2. A "MUST LIST" - anything that is essential to the project, the number & name of rooms and things that you really want if you are to undertake the project (eg more storage, garage, privacy screen, etc)
3. A "DON'T LIST" - things you hate (eg 2 storey homes, small bedrooms, small windows, etc
4. A "WISH LIST" - Optional extra items you would like if you can afford it but can live without if it becomes too expensive (eg raked ceilings, timber flooring, Juliette Balcony, etc)
5. "THE LOOK" - a few pictures of other homes you like the look of. This doesn't mean that your house will look exactly like this but it gives the idea to the designer of what features they can include in your design to make your house look modern / country / heritage / arc deco / etc