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Design process

Understand the design process, what information should be expected in each design phase and how the procurement model and project size impacts the design approach.

The design process

The design process is typically broken down into the following design phases:

  • master planning
  • pre-concept design
  • concept design
  • schematic design
  • detailed design, and
  • fully documented design.
  • A master plan is a campus or TAFE-wide planning document and spatial layout used to inform campus (or organisational) asset management plans, project prioritisation, structuring of land use and development.

    The purpose of the master planning stage is to translate the TAFE's strategic vision and associated service provisioning strategy into its physical infrastructure. It will typically:

    • develop campus-wide user requirements, functional relationships and spatial needs
    • identify high-level options for campus-wide composition, layout and siting of facilities
    • investigate options, identifying opportunities and constraints
    • engage with internal and external stakeholders to review and gather feedback, and
    • undertake site investigation and risk reduction studies.

    The master plan should inform the decision to initiate the project. The master plan will also inform the annual asset management plan submitted to the OTCD.

  • The purpose of the pre-concept design is to develop a project-specific design, based on the master plan. For projects that may not sit within the master plan, such as small refurbishments, a pre-concept design may not be required. The pre-concept design will typically:

    • confirm user requirements, functional relationships and spatial needs
    • develop initial project options to support order of magnitude costing and consideration of option(s) for further development, and
    • confirm massing and high-level layouts including project-specific sketches.

    From the pre-concept design, there should be sufficient information to prepare an order of magnitude cost estimate to inform a high-level options analysis in an initial case for investment.

  • The concept design builds upon the pre-concept design. At the end of the concept design stage, a design direction is set which captures the proposed form, volume, general architectural aesthetic and overall shape of the building in the context of the site.

    From the concept design, there should be sufficient information to prepare a preliminary cost estimate based on the project’s floor area, form, architectural and engineering principles.

    A pre-concept design and concept design may be combined into a single stage for low and medium complexity projects.

    Outputs from the concept design stage

    Drawings may include:

    • overall site plan
    • floor plans
    • elevations
    • sketches, and
    • sections (indicative sufficient to illustrate the overall concept).

    A concept design report may include:

    • agreed design brief and schedule of accommodation
    • report on existing facilities and engineering systems (if applicable)
    • early concept schedule of materials and finishes such as façade treatments, and
    • preliminary cost estimate (prepared by the Quantity Surveyor).
  • The purpose of schematic design is to provide all schematic drawings and engineering solutions for the project. At the end of the schematic design stage, the design team should not require further information from the TAFE to develop the remaining spatial, functional and area requirements.

    The architectural and engineering design team is still required to obtain approvals at further design stages and will still require some input from the TAFE in the detailed design stage. Specifically, they may require TAFE input to develop room layouts, materials, finishes, colour and fittings, fixtures and equipment and incorporate these, together with operational requirements (if any) in the room data sheets.

    Outputs from the schematic design stage

    Drawings may include:

    • overall site plan
    • floor plans
    • elevations
    • sections
    • exterior sketches/perspectives
    • interior sketches/perspectives, and
    • model(s).

    In the case of building or equipment maintenance, an equivalent stage of design may include a confirmed scope of works ready to be translated into tender specifications.

    Specifications may include:

    • preliminary schedule of internal and external materials and finishes.

    A schematic design report may:

    • include updated design brief, schedule of accommodation/areas and project program
    • highlight exclusions in the scope of works where required
    • summarise the assumed procurement and construction methodologies which have informed the design
    • highlight ‘significant’ or unusual buildability and health and safety issues;
    • highlight any significant design risks, and
    • report on façade options and weathering issues (if applicable).
  • The detailed design phase is where the schematic design is refined and fully detailed to meet the project requirements. The design should also have now resolved any constructability, regulatory and building code compliance issues. At this point, the ‘look’ of the building or space is finalised and the materials, fixtures and finishes to be used, both internally and externally, are decided.

    No further TAFE input should be required to finalise the design documentation.

    If a planning permit is required, it will typically take place at the end of the detailed design phase.

    Outputs from the detailed design stage

    Drawings may include:

    • overall site plan including parking/landscaping
    • floor plans (dimensioned), including all information from the room data sheets
    • elevations (confirmed floor-to-floor heights)
    • sections
    • sketches of critical and typical details
    • perspectives (as required)
    • typical reflected ceiling plans
    • materials and finishes presentation, and
    • other defined promotional / marketing material (as applicable).

    Specifications may include:

    • a developed schedule of internal and external materials and finishes.

    A detailed design stage report may include:

    • updated design brief, schedule of accommodation and project program
    • revised schedule of areas
    • exclusions in the scope of works where required
    • assumed procurement and construction methodology governing design
    • significant or unusual buildability and health and safety issues
    • weathering/façade issues
    • any significant design risks, and
    • material/colour boards.
  • A fully documented design will enable tenderers for the works to accurately price and build the project. The level of design undertaken in this design stage will depend on the project's size and complexity and the selected procurement model.

    The output of this phase is a set of working / technical drawings and specifications to enable the tendering and construction process.

    After the TAFE’s relevant governance structure’s final approval of the design, working drawings and specifications are prepared for inclusion in the tender documentation Design outputs at this stage are detailed and complex, and comprise both large and small scale-dimensioned drawings.

    Outputs from the fully documented design stage

    Dependent upon the procurement model, the documents set may include:

    • site plan including datum, boundary definition and orientation, associated earthworks, landscaping and car parking, in-ground and overhead services, drainage, and all statutory legal title information (coordinated with civil engineering, traffic, landscape specialists and other specialist consultants as required)
    • key plans to building zoning
    • floor plans at each level
    • reflected ceiling plans at each level including coordinated lighting and services fixtures
    • external elevations
    • interior elevations
    • cross-sections and longitudinal sections
    • roof plan with falls, gutters, rainwater heads and downpipes
    • electrical/lighting outlet and switching plan (coordinated with electrical)
    • plumbing layout and schematics (coordinated with hydraulics)
    • mechanical service layout and schematics (coordinated with mechanical services)
    • construction details at all typical and atypical locations cross-referenced to plans and sections
    • fire services layout and schematics (coordinated with fire services specialist);
    • plans, sections of access stairs, ramps, balustrades, barriers and handrails, including plant access, and
    • interior fit-out including wall elevations and joinery details.

    Specifications may include:

Design development across the project lifecycle

The level of design required will depend on which phase of the project lifecycle you are in, the project's size and complexity and the selected procurement model. The design will capture the requirements of key stakeholders and inform key project decision points. Design should reflect the proposed scope, program and budget and inform the preparation of documentation required to gain formal approvals before continuing to the next stage of project development.

  • When undertaking an individual project, you should ensure the design is consistent with the intent of the master plan and asset management plan. This is a key part of confirming the project is a priority.

    When preparing the initial case for investment or preliminary business case, the pre-concept design supports the approvals and informs the order of magnitude costing.

    In order to obtain the necessary project funding and approvals, you will typically prepare a concept design for the preferred option to support the development of the delivery strategy and funding requirement within the full business case.

    The TAFE may engage architectural and engineering designers as required to develop the design.

  • The level of design required during procurement will depend on the procurement model. TheTAFE may:

    • tender the works to a contractor to complete the remainder of the design documentation and construction, or
    • complete the remainder of the design before going to tender for a contractor.

    Guidance on the level of design relating to various procurement models is available.

  • Depending on the procurement model some design may occur during the project's delivery phase.

    Design during the delivery phase will most often occur under a design and construct or design, construct and novate procurement model. Note that while this may provide more control over the program length and costs, it may reduce control over the quality of the end deliverable.

    Guidance on the level of design relating to various procurement models is available.

Other design considerations

Other key considerations throughout the design process include:

  • design coordination and responsibility
  • building information modelling (BIM) for design, and
  • the Victorian Digital Asset Strategy (VDAS) and design documentation.
  • Design typically involves input from a number of different parties, such as architects and engineers, to create a single solution.

    Design coordination describes the integration of designs prepared by different members of the project team to create a single set of information that can be constructed. Effective design coordination can help to reduce costs, delays and disruption by reducing the potential for problems on-site, the need for remedial or abortive works and the need for redesign.

    Coordination of the design is the responsibility of all design disciplines. Each designer is responsible for their component works and ensuring that it is coordinated with other design disciplines. On larger more complex projects a principle consultant, usually an architect, may be contractually appointed to ensure coordination of the design team’s work. The principal consultant can be appointed by either the TAFE or the contractor, depending on the procurement model.

    In addition to coordinating the design between design disciplines, the coordination of user groups needs to be appropriately managed by the TAFE’s project director. This includes providing appropriate access to user groups and managing their input to ensure the scope of works is respected. The TAFE may also produce, in coordination with user groups, room data sheets of each functional area as a briefing tool for the design disciplines. This will then inform the design team of the requirements to be included in the detailed design drawings, such as the number and location of electrical points to influence required electrical layouts.

  • Building information modelling (BIM) describes an overarching process, supported by a number of tools (typically proprietary documentation products such as Revit, Navisworks, AutoCAD and others), which allow design stakeholders to engage in a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary generation of digital drawings, representing the built assets and their functionality.

    The digital assets produced by the design team can be used to plan, design, construct and maintain the physical building.

    The use of BIM is particularly useful for projects with large multi-disciplinary design teams, where the clash detection functions are particularly helpful in the design coordination process.

    The use of BIM may assist in reducing the risk of a lack of coordination of design and the flow-on impacts that could result on-site, during the delivery phase.

  • The Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), in conjunction with the Office of Projects Victoria (OPV), released the Victorian Digital Asset Strategy (VDAS)External Link Strategic Framework in 2019 and has launched the VDAS guidance document in February of 2020.

    Together these documents describe the Victorian Government’s vision for creating digital assets arising from building projects and getting the maximum benefit from this information.

    VDAS provides guidance on best practice digital engineering and building information modelling (BIM), especially in the context of major capital and renewal projects.

    VDAS recommends the use of a single source of truth for storing project information such as design drawings, as-built information and product data. This is best practice, which will, in turn, assist the TAFE’s requirements under the Asset Management Accountability Framework to support the whole of life asset management.

Reviewed 05 July 2023

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