The Design, Planning Processes & Fees

The Design and Planning Processes and Fees

In this section I will describe the design and Planning processes along with invoicing payments for the work required to design your home or home improvement.

The prices quoted are an approximate estimate derived from past work that I have completed and serve as a guide to help you when you are developing your overall building budget.

Getting Development Approval from PlanSA to build your house or addition

To obtain approval from PlanSA to build your home or home improvement, you will need complete two separate processes:

  1. Planning Consent.

Planning Consent is where PlanSA assesses your application in relation to their Development Plan. For this application you will need me to prepare some Planning drawings.

  1. Building Consent.

Building Consent is where PlanSA assesses your application in relation to the Building Code of Australia. For this application you will need me to prepare Working Drawings (Technical Drawings).

When you receive both these approvals, you have what is called Development Approval, and you can proceed with building.

How do we get to Development Approval?

There are three steps:

  1. Initial Concept Design
  2. Creating Planning Drawings (needed for Council Planning Consent)
  3. Creating Working Drawings (needed for Council Building Consent)

Let’s look at what each of these are, and their approximate costs.

Step 1. – We meet so I can develop the Initial Concept Design

The process that leads to Development Approval begins with us meeting! We call this meeting the Initial Concept Design Meeting and it’s where you bring all the information and ideas you have about your new home or home improvement. During the meeting, I write what is called a ‘Brief’. This is an important part of the process, because a good brief enables me to produce an exciting design that works for you.

I use the ideas and information you give me at this meeting to prepare the Initial Concept Design. The work I do for this part of the design process includes the following:

  1. Detailed Design Brief meeting (relaxing chat about your needs, wants, budget and design tastes).
  2. Site visit of your land including photos.
  3. Site measure of existing house and dilapidation photos (for Home Improvements).
  4. Research to know the appropriate planning requirements.
  5. Design and draw up proposed Concept Design in computer generated 3D.
  6. Create colour computer rendered 3D Perspective.

A good brief helps me to create the right design for you, one that needs few or no design changes. When changes are needed however, they are called Concept Design Changes. They are an alteration to the Initial Concept Design that are needed to make the design work for your needs. An example of a Concept Design Change would be “please extend the proposed Dining Room another extra metre because we’re buying a new, bigger table” or “can we make study nook somewhere near the family room?”

The Initial Concept Design fee includes two Concept Design Changes (if required) without any additional fee charge. If more than two changes are needed these will be discussed with you, and the fee for the change quoted before it is carried out.

At this stage of the design process, it will be important for you to take time to carefully look over the plans and talk to me about any changes you think may be needed to the design, as this will save both time and money.

In the very unlikely event that a complete re-design of the Concept is needed, the fee for this would be negotiated and added to the original invoice.

Engineering and Timber Framing:

To get to Development Approval, we need the help of an Engineer for footings (foundations) and any structural work needed (steel beams etc), and a Timber Framer for the timber construction. I will talk to you about this in the Initial Concept Meeting because they need to be sourced early in the process to avoid any holdups down the track. Engineering and Timber Framing will be separate costs to my work.

Step 2. – Creating Planning Drawings (needed for Planning Consent):

I use the finalised Initial Concept Design to prepare Planning Drawings for PlanSA. The work I do for this part of the design process includes the following:

  1. Draw up Planning Drawings. This includes detailed notation, Site Plan, four elevations, determination of the proposed floor and benching levels, inclusion of the Engineers Siteworks Plan, stormwater layout, 3D Perspectives and Landscaping Plan if required.
  2. Negotiation as required to obtain Planning Approval. This will also include up to two drawing modifications. Any additional changes will be discussed with you and quoted before carried out.

Costs for Steps 1 & 2 (to achieve Planning Consent):

To guide the budgeting for your design, the approximate costs for preparing the Initial Concept Design and Planning Drawings (including GST) are:

  • $3,000.00 for a total build estimate of $400,000.00 and
  • $5,000.00 for total build estimates between $400,000.00 and $800,000.00
  • Any build estimates over $800.000.00 I will quote beforehand.

Some Designs are more complex than others, whether it be in Design detail or location (e.g., Steep sloping blocks). Complex designs take more time to complete therefore incur a higher fee. If this is something that will affect your design, I’ll discuss this with you beforehand. There may also be lower fee than the approximate cost above, depending on the Design project.

What happens next?

When the Planning Drawings are completed you submit them to PlanSA for Planning Consent. The simplest way to do this is to is by following the online step by step application portal and paying any necessary fees.

PlanSA will then assess your building proposal (your Planning Drawings) and either approve or decline the application. It is not always as simple as this however, as there may be some additional requirements that need attention, but I will guide you through these when the need arises.

Step 3: Creating Working Drawings (needed for PlanSA Building Consent)

I use the approved Planning Drawings to prepare Working Drawings. These along with Engineering and Timber Framing details, will provide all the information your builder needs to cost and build your home or home improvement.

The work I do for this part of the design process includes the following:

  1. Fully dimensioned Plans.
  2. Detailed cross sectional diagrams.
  3. All relevant construction details including technical details of wet areas, floors, walls, roof etc.

Costs for Step 3:

To guide the budgeting for your design, the approximate costs for preparing the Working Drawings (including GST) are:

  • $2,000.00 for a total build estimate of $400,000.00 and
  • $3,000.00 for total build estimates between $400,000.00 and $800,000.00

What happens next?

When the Working Drawings are completed you can submit them, along with the Engineering and Timber Framing details for Building Consent using the same online process you used for the Planning Drawings as previously explained.

Once Building Consent is approved you now have Development Approval, and you are on your way to start building.

Do the Concept Plans, Planning Drawings and Working Drawings belong to me?

Yes, they do! After you pay the final invoice, the Plans are all yours.

You can use them to source the builder of your choice or quote on fittings and fixtures or floor coverings.

How long will it take from when we first meet to getting Development Approval?

As you can see, between the initial Concept Design Meeting and the final Development Approval there are many things to consider and lots of decisions to make, with my help I can guide you step by step along the way to ensure the processes are as smooth and stress free as possible.

An approximate timeline required for each step is as follows:

Step 1: Initial Concept Design

After the Initial Concept Meeting, the Initial Concept Design would take two weeks depending on the complexity of the Design, number of Concept Design Changes etc., If things run smoothly then it may be less than two weeks.

Step 2: Planning Drawings

Planning Drawings are usually completed within a week, however this will also depend on the number of changes that you may want to make to the design.

PlanSA Approval – Planning Consent

The Planning Drawings are submitted to PlanSA who will need to approve them before you can proceed to Working Drawings. How long this takes depends on PlanSA, but a good estimate is about 3 – 4 weeks. This can take longer however, if PlanSA queries any aspects of your design that need to be reworked.

If your house or home improvement design will affect how your neighbours can live, for example, it reduces their privacy or view, PlanSA will notify them and they can lodge an objection to the design. An example could be having a large wall on the boundary or having windows or a balcony that overlooks their backyard. If this happens, getting Planning Consent will take longer.

Step 3: Working Drawings

Working Drawings can take between two to three weeks depending on Design complexity. The reason for this is that these drawings are highly technical and must have all the information as required by PlanSA for approval and the Builder for costing and construction.

PlanSA Approval – Development Approval

The Working Drawings are submitted to PlanSA who will approve them for Development Consent. How long this takes depends on PlanSA, but a good estimate is about 2 – 3 weeks.