How To Write a Design Brief for Your Architect

Abel Hinchliffe
14/05/2023
How To Write a Design Brief for Your Architect

At the start of your build or renovation, a solid design brief is essential. The better your architect understands your vision for the build, the more they can tailor the design to your lifestyle. In this post, we’ll outline how to write a design brief, from what it should include to how detailed you should be.

What should it include?

To increase your chances of hitting upon the right person to bring your vision to life, make sure you create a comprehensive brief that includes everything essential to your build. This brief should include:

  1. Reasons for your project – Clarify exactly why you are building/renovating or extending.
  2. Ideas – Outline your style and be as creative as possible.
  3. Pictures – Use magazine cuttings, images of styles you love, colour swatches, photos – anything that can translate your style clearly.
  4. Must-have list – It is nice to have a wish list, but remember to include your ‘must-have’ list. Be clear in your brief what design elements, layout and materials that you won’t compromise on.
  5. Budget – Your architect needs to know how much is allocated for each area and stage of the build, along with the all-important contingency amount. This will allow them to help you stick to your budget and avoid mounting costs.

How long should it be?

A design brief is not meant to be the length of a dissertation. It can be as short as a few lines of text with images or as long as a few pages. But it is important to remember that the more details that are included, the easier it is for your architect to understand your vision.

How detailed should your brief be?

Asking yourself certain questions will help you write your design brief. For example, do you work from home? Does open plan work for you? How many bedrooms do you need?

The answers to these types of questions will be incredibly helpful to your architect when it comes to designing the best layout for your lifestyle. So, include as many details as possible in your brief.

Other useful information will include:

  • Size of house – It is essential to be as detailed as possible on how many bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces you want. You also need to clarify the size of the plot if you are building from scratch and what outside space is allocated for.
  • What lifestyle benefits do you want? – Does open plan work for you or would you benefit from separate living spaces to give more options for a growing family?
  • Energy-efficient features – You may want to specify sustainable building materials and the importance of using a smart heating and lighting system. Inform your architect if you want solar panels or an electric charging point for your car.
  • Timescales you are working to – It will be helpful to everyone involved in your build to know when deadlines are approaching.
  • Budget for each area – Knowing your budget like the back of your hand is crucial so you should know how much you can allocate to each area of your build. Your architect can be invaluable during this stage as they have done it all before, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
  • Non-negotiable features – There may be certain elements that are non-negotiable for you such as walk-in cupboards, garage, driveway, solar panels, utility room etc. You will need to clarify these in your brief to avoid disappointment later.
  • Planning conditions – Include all planning info that you know already. Your architect will be a source of professional advice on the ins and outs of planning permission.

Brief the design experts at CODA Bespoke

Once your brief is in place, it’s time to turn your vision into a reality. CODA Bespoke’s RIBA-accredited architects are here to help you with your dream, from concept to completion. We’ll create meticulous designs based on your requirements and preferences – and we can also assist with other parts of the process where required.

Ready to get started? Brief us on your build today.

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Abel Hinchliffe

With a wealth of experience Abel heads up CODA Bespoke, specialising in luxury residential developments both large and small. Recently entrusted with the responsibility of also heading up Studio 4 which is currently delivering numerous office to residential developments. Connect with Abel Hinchliffe on LinkedIn >

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