One of the greatest advantages of selecting DNA Architects is that, our background in construction, can save a great deal of time and money by creating designs that are cost effective to build while still being creative and unique.

We also understand that for many of our clients, designing or renovating their home is probably the biggest investment they will make. To that end, we have divided the design and build process into stages that provide you with cost-effective options:

Initial meeting

This is the information gathering stage where we listen to your needs, dreams, wants and desires along with assessing technical information such as site surveys and plans. The more information you can provide at this stage, the better.

We will make suggestions and give you a copy of our terms and conditions before you decide to go ahead with a preliminary design. A successful project is often about the relationships between client, architect and builder. We work hard to build a relationship with our clients and establish trust. This meeting is just as much about allowing you to get to know us and determine if you think we are the right Architects for you and that we are worthy of your trust.

Initial Discussion Requirements

When you come in for your initial meeting with DNAA we recommend you bring the following to assist discussions. If you don’t have these, relax, we can obtain many of them for you or create them ourselves:

Click to see the list for a new house or for additions and alterations

  • Contour plan if available (usually found on the Building File at Environment & Sustainable Development Directorate in Mitchell). If you don’t have one we can arrange for a survey.
  • Documents showing service tie points for electricity, storm water, sanitary and phone (usually found on the Building File at Environment & Sustainable Development Directorate in Mitchell or their website).
  • Deposited Plan (available from Environment & Sustainable Development Directorate) showing boundaries, neighbouring properties, easements, length and bearings or Title Plan (available with mortgage documents or from Titles Office).
  • Lease and Development Conditions (available from Developers agent).
  • A list of the functional requirements of the house.
  • Pictures of things you like or a scrap book, Pinterest collection or the like.
  • An idea of your budget.
  • Plans and elevations of the existing house including all alterations, garages, swimming pools etc. (usually found on the Building File at Environment & Sustainable Development Directorate in Mitchell or their website).
  • Survey Certificates (on the Building File at Environment & Sustainable Development Directorate in Mitchell) showing block dimensions and existing structures.
  • Contour plan if available.
  • Deposited Plan (available from Environment & Sustainable Development Directorate in Dickson) or Title plan (available with mortgage documents or from Titles office).
  • A set of photos showing the exterior and interior would be helpful (they only need to be snapshots).
  • A list of your requirements.
  • An idea of your budget

Preliminary design

(The Yellow trace phase)

Once you’ve decided that we are the architects for you, we’ll organise a full site survey and take a detailed brief to start preparing the initial concept design. We draw on all of our experience as a team to prepare a preliminary sketch of a proposed design to present to you for feedback. This could take a number of attempts to get the right answer that can be developed further and generally fits the budget requirements. We don’t shy away from a challenge. During this stage we primarily work by hand, sketching solutions. We find that it provides us with more flexibility to consider the project as a whole rather than locking into the constraints and detail of common CAD software or letting the software generate a preprogrammed solution to a problem. Our clients feel less intimidated by sketches and more inclined to let the process evolve rather than the finality of CAD drawings. We feel that this achieves a better result.

Design Development

During this stage we continue to make refinements and changes and once you’re happy with the design, final sketch drawings are made. We explore the project in 3D to bring the building to life, both on the screen and also in Virtual Reality where you can walk through and around your project. We also find VR a handy tool for exploring our designs and the effect or impact they have and if we are achieving the desired results.

Development Approval

Once you are happy with the final design, we will prepare and submit documents to the relevant authority for planning approval. We are having conversations with other consultants and incorporating their concepts into our documentation so that we are not making significant inefficient changes later. Our design is tested against the planning rules and often community opinion.

Building Approval

Building Approval is a higher level of documentation from DA. We are required to provide enough documentation to satisfy the Private Certifier that assessment can be made against the National Construction Code. This includes all consultant’s information incorporated and Certified. It includes specific construction details and product information and referral agency clearances. The outcome is clearance ready to build.

The tender process

Option A Half tender

Rather than drawing up full documentation, which involves a significant number of billing hours, we can prepare documentation that includes the basics needed for construction including working drawings and a schedule of works in excess of the information required for BA. At this stage in particular we like to involve our clients as part of the team helping to make selections and exploring detail solutions.

Option B Full Tender

Full documentation is prepared that includes details such as electrical drawings, heating, windows, joinery, finishes and fixtures in every room so that detailed quotations from tendering builders can be obtained. There should be minimal scope for variation as most decisions should be made and costed into the project.

Tender Negotiation and Contract Administration

We can take on this challenging part of your build by acting as your agent in dealing with the builder. This includes evaluating building tenders based on cost, time and quality. We can liaise with the builder and assist in managing deliverables and the various contractors and specialists to keep the project on schedule and to budget. We involve you in all the decision-making and keep you abreast of developments.

Construction Documentation

This stage is incorporated into Contract Administration but can also be an individual stage post Building Approval. It supports the builder with specific builder requested details or packages for trade tendering, setout, clarification and alterations. This documentation is over and above the basic level that would be required to confirm compliance with the National Construction Code.

Final Inspection

We carry out all the final inspections to ensure the final build is everything you and we imagined it would be. We manage defect tolerances and negotiate these to resolution with the builder. This stage can be included as an add on to any level of service past Building Approval.


Over to you!