What is a concept design?
Seen by most (including us) as the most fun and creative part of a construction project, a concept design typically involves the development of a series of ideas (an options appraisal) that can be taken forward and developed on subsequent work stages. These usually serve as the foundations upon which all other decisions are based.
At this stage you should have concluded your feasibility study, bought the site, established a brief and appointed, at least in part, your design team. Your architect (hopefully us) at this stage should know enough about your requirements to develop a concept design and would typically undertake an options appraisal as a starting point.
An options appraisal is a way of ensuring that you maximise the chances of securing your objective by offering a number of different ideas or proposals. Don’t worry, it’s not uncommon to like a mix of ideas, or not like them at all, but this feedback will allow the Architect to remove the bad stuff and incorporate the good stuff into one big idea. This can take time, so your Architect might not always get it right first time, and it will likely take several iterations before finding something which you are happy to proceed with.
As the proposal develops, so too will the level of detail. The first couple of attempts will likely be hand drawn sketches, and these might develop over time and end up as nice and shiny 3D visualisations. Once you are happy with the proposal, you can instruct your Architect to move onto the next stage.
Some key things to remember about a concept design:
- Every proposal is unique – there should never be any ‘copy & paste’.
- The proposal is personal to you – it’s your design, not the person drawing it.
- The ‘3 F’s’ – feeling, form and function.
- Planning policies and Building Regulations – there’s no point designing something which isn’t going to comply!
- Designing with the plot in mind – be site specific, you don’t want your proposal to stick out like a sore thumb.
- Looking ahead to the future – futureproof yourself by considering things like sustainability, maintenance and renewable energy.