Uncover the benefits of building sustainability

and see how you will save energy and reduce carbon emissions at the same time


Preliminary Design

3-6 weeks / 15% FEE


  • Obtain client’s design brief and other requirements 

  • Provide recommendations for fees for the appointment of consultants

  • Inspect the site and investigate site conditions and constraints

  • Undertake preliminary analysis of authority regulations and requirements

  • Obtain the client’s approval to prepare sketch design



  • Arrange and attend meetings with the client, authorities and others

  • Prepare sketch drawings and any other information deemed necessary to fully explain the design

  • Prepare a design brief for the consultants

  • Prepare preliminary costings

  • Prepare a preliminary selection of materials and finishes

  • Obtain the client’s approval to proceed with design development drawings

architecture project adelaide Warwick O Brien

The Process

The steps in the process

of advancing your dream home


The first step in the process of advancing your dream is to contact us by phone or email to register your interest. This will generate an obligation free, no cost consultation at your site or place of residence to discuss all of your issues about your project that you wish to know before engaging your architect.


  • Why choose an architect rather than a lesser service?

  • Does an architect cost more?

  • What do I get for my money?

  • How many processes are involved before I can move in?

  • How long will the process take?

  • What kind of building materials and construction methods are appropriate?

  • What might it look like?

  • How do we choose a builder?

  • What is the cost of the building likely to be?

  • What will be included in the building?

  • What will we have to pay for afterwards?

There will probably be more….. but at the end of the meeting you should have a greater knowledge of the time frames, building costs and scope of architectural services and fees. This should give you the confidence to go to the next step!


At this point you are confident in your architect and wish to proceed. A Client and Architect Agreement written by the Australian institute of Architects will be produced for your perusal. Any questions about this agreement should be clarified before signing. Once signed the Design work will commence. Usually this can begin immediately, depending upon our work schedules at the time.


  • At the first briefing meeting we will ask you to describe your brief as you see it.

  • How many rooms do you want? 

  • How big should they be? 

  • How do they relate to each other? 

  • When will each member of the family be using the spaces? 

  • In this meeting we will be endeavoring to get inside you minds to see how you tick. The more we understand you the better we will be able to develop your brief into an exciting and efficient design. Maybe you have already drawn a plan of how you imagine your house to be … or maybe it is a scrapbook of cuttings from magazines of spaces and things you like. All this helps create a picture of you and is valuable to the process.

architecture project adelaide Warwick O Brien


We usually prepare relationship analysis diagrams first as a means of establishing the hierarchy of spaces and their importance to each other. If we need clarification we will meet with you and fine tune the brief accordingly.

The next time we will meet is when preliminary concept sketches are ready to discuss. We normally produce a number of options to consider. In that way we can be confident that the potential of the site and the brief have been fully explored. You will be given copies of these options to take away and discuss amongst family members. When your thoughts have gelled a final concept will be developed to represent a final Preliminary design. When you have approved these drawings we will seek your authority to proceed to the next step.

architecture project adelaide Warwick O Brien


From the approved Preliminary Drawings we build a computer model of the concept that becomes a three dimensional tool for describing the building. From this we can take you through a journey that will simulate each space, as you would see it. For those who do not have a strong ability to interpret drawings this enables you to feel confident that the building will meet your expectations.

If changes emanate from this process they will be done prior to developing drawings for submission to Council for Planning Approval.  A surveyor will be engaged on your behalf to establish site levels and to check Title boundaries. When these drawings are complete a copy will be given to you for final approval. We will then either make the submission to Council or assist you in making the application. The planners may seek further information or suggest changes during this time, and if so, we will undertake any work necessary to support the application. When Planning Approval is granted we will seek your authority to proceed to the next step.  

architecture project adelaide Warwick O Brien


Our next task is to prepare the set of drawings and specification that will be used to gain Building Rules Consent from Council, and, by the builder to construct the project. Early in this stage a structural engineer will be engaged on your behalf. Also during this stage we will be briefing you in depth about selections for all aspects of the building such as sanitary ware, kitchen layout and equipment, interior finishes and colours and lighting, etc. We are available to visit showrooms with you to give guidance in selecting all of your items for your home. When the documents are at completion a set will be given to you to for approval. The approved documents will then be submitted to a private Certifier. If the Certifier requests any changes or further information we will provide it.

Once Council has issued a full Development Approval we are ready to build!

architecture project adelaide Warwick O Brien


Generally, we have worked in collaboration with one builder for a number of years. This is not to say that this is an exclusive arrangement and we are open to  clients’ preferences with respect to the selection a builder, with our guidance.

There are numerous reasons why we have worked with one builder for some time. Firstly, understanding how to build sustainably is not something with which all builders are familiar. It is far better to work with a team of trades that are supportive and familiar with all aspects of working sustainably from site management to individual trade practice than to have to re-establish the process each time. The second issue is one of trust. When you know that a builder is honest and performs consistently to a high standard you have confidence in knowing that you can deliver a product of high quality to clients every time. The form of contract used by this builder, namely construction management, offers further advantages to clients and these will be explained at an introductory meeting.

Should clients prefer to go to tender then we are very familiar with this approach are familiar with a number of builders that are capable of building to standards demanded by sustainable practice.


Regardless of the type of contract entered into with the builder, we are your eyes and ears for the duration of the building process. We are there to ensure the building is constructed in accordance with the documents and within an acceptable time frame. Regular site meetings and inspections of the site are undertaken during the course of the works. 

At the completion of the build we will issue the builder with a defects list for rectification and issue all certificates required under the building contract. 

architecture project adelaide Warwick O Brien

Do you want a house that is tailored to you every need?

If you choose a standard plan from a building company without any architectural services you are immediately choosing compromise

These plans are not designed for: 

  • Your personal needs

  • Specific orientation of your land

  • Integration with your block of land in terms of topography, vegetation or neighbours

  • Thermal comfort

Often the marketing pitch is based around giving you the largest area for the least money. Whilst this might initially seem appealing the outcome is usually very different – construction is basic, thermal performance is poor; planning is inefficient and ongoing maintenance is high. There are things you will have to live with until you either move or spend additional money on to fix. Some of them can’t be fixed.

Further potential buyers can be easily trapped into thinking the display homes that are fully furnished and equipped with the latest gadgets represent the product on offer in the standard plans. Almost without exception buyers in South Australia will have to pay considerable more to meet the display home specs. It’s a bit like going into a car showroom and being showed the luxury model when all you can afford is the basic model. Why bother to show you the luxury model in the first place? 

An architect is fully trained with a university degree in all aspects of design and construction to deliver an outcome that will fully meet your brief and aim to exceed your expectations.

If any compromise is needed to be taken in an architect’s design it may relate to building area. However, if the bespoke design is efficiently planned it is unlikely this will become an issue. You are more likely to become totally engrossed by the liveability, comfort and thoughtfulness that the design will deliver for the life of the home.

Get an obligation fee with no cost consultation