Design and construct is a common term in the building industry these days, but it’s not often that we dissect what this phrase means in practice. After all, how often do you hear of designers and builders actually sitting down to chat about this collaborative process?
In this exclusive Q&A, we discover what’s involved in the design process, the advantages of engaging a builder early on (from a designer’s perspective) and what’s trending in Brisbane home designs as we head into 2020. Keep reading to hear what Michael had to say…
King Builders: Can you tell us a little more about MR Design + Drafting?
Michael Ross: Of course! MR Design + Drafting is a building design company established about 3 years ago that specialises in residential projects, plus a little bit of commercial work as well. Residential wise, we work on a lot of new homes and townhouses, raise and builds and extensions to the back of old Queenslanders. We have a team of 8, which includes myself and my Co-Director Hayden, an interior designer and 5 draftsmen.
KB: We’ve had a lot of clients asking about the Brisbane home designs process lately. Can you tell us a little more about how this works?
MR: Sure. Wen clients get in touch with us and they’re looking at building or renovating, we normally go out for a pre-site consultation. If they’re looking to build a completely new home or townhouse, we invite clients into the office to chat about their brief, their requirements and of course, the big one, their budget. From there, we get the team out to do a site measure, which sometimes involves a surveyor and we can recommend a reputable surveyor and organise quotes for the clients as well.
After we have a concrete brief, we take a few weeks to create concept plans and then meet back up with the clients to go through a design development process. That process is us expecting to work with clients – we get them back into the office a few times and then we get a builder involved to ensure we are on track with the budget. We also want to have site meetings early on with the builder to make sure that everything is on the right track.
Once the client is happy with the design, the build costs and the builder, then we move onto the approval stage. For some projects, a town planning DA will be required – this isn’t needed on every project, but we can determine if this will be necessary early on by talking to our trusted town planners.
From there, our team will create construction plans, which will generally involve a structural engineer who will do all the specifications for the engineering. Then we move onto the building approval stage. This is pretty much council approval, but it’s done through a private certifier. When this is all done, we’re ready to build!
KB: We encourage engaging your builder early on in the preliminary stages of a build. What do you think are the advantages of having your builder on board during this time?
MR: I think it’s essential to involve a builder early on in the process. The key factor in any project is budget so it’s extremely important that after a couple of design development meetings with the client that we involve a builder or builders to start pricing the project. We like to have site meetings with the builders to see if they have any ideas for the project as well – even though we are building designers, builders have their own profession and it’s a different skillset and approach.
KB: In your experience, what are the most important aspects of the builder / designer relationship?
MR: Definitely communication. Building can seem like a daunting process to many people, but we try and make it as smooth and easy as possible. In order to do that, we need a good team around us, and we need to be able to call them and get their thoughts and advice whenever required, so communication is number one.
KB: What are the trends that you’re seeing in Brisbane home designs right now?
MR: Something that’s really big at the moment and that we love working on is a modern extension to the back of a traditional Queenslander or a modern raise and build under. When I say modern, I mean we keep the traditional pre-war home nice and light with lots of white features and then we add a really nice dark extension to the home design – chuck in some timber, some steel, some polished concrete and it contrasts really beautifully.
Another trend that’s been quite big for a few years is the Hamptons style. A lot of people are looking to build new homes in traditional character overlay areas and the Hamptons style meets the requirements of town planning and so that’s been quite popular.
The other trend we’re seeing a lot in high-end residential projects is just simplicity and using beautiful materials, so again things like steel, concrete, lots of glass and timber externally and internally. It’s just all about function – modern architecture is about simplicity and function.
To find out more about trending Brisbane home designs and the building design process itself, you can visit MR Design + Drafting’s website here.
If you’re ready to bring your own Brisbane home design to life, get in touch with Brisbane’s custom new home building specialist, King Builders today!