Design to construction – how long will the architect’s design process take?

As architects, one of the first questions our clients ask is how long will it take to complete the project? There’s no standard answer because there are a number of factors involved in the architect’s design process timeline. Every building is an individual project, and every client has different requirements. There are a number of elements that can throw the timeline out, such as weather, council approvals, clients’ amendments, contractor issues and many more unforeseen circumstances.

Let’s try to simplify the answer by breaking down the process and setting out the various stages from design to construction to completion. Bear in mind that each stage has time variances, and that this is a guide only.

design to construction – how long will the architect’s design process take?

Stage 1: Design – 6 to 10 weeks

Design stages span from the initial briefing, until the Development Application (DA) is ready to be lodged with council.

This is when initial sketch designs are prepared for the client to look at and alter if needed.

Once the client is happy, computer drawings and 3D modelling will be produced and again presented to the client for approval and revisions to be made.

Stage 2: Development Application (DA) – 4 to 6 weeks

The DA is the final part of the design process, and approval and processing times are based on council’s standard rules and whether there are any issues that breach these rules.

Stage 3: Documentation – 6 to 8 weeks

This stage involves the architect preparing the construction drawingsalong with the structural engineer and other consultants.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, the architect may liaise with the client two or three times to review various details such as fixtures and fittings and other details.

The timing for this stage can also be influenced by the consultants being able to work to schedule, as well as the client being able to finalise their selections.

Stage 4: Construction certificate and training – 4 to 8 weeks

This stage involves the builders preparing their tenders. While this is happening, the documents are submitted to council or private certifiers to obtain the construction certificate, which is typically processed in two weeks.

At the end of the tender period, the architect assesses the tenders and gives any recommendations on cost negotiation to the client. At the conclusion of the tender and negotiation process, contracts are prepared for signature this could normally take up to one week.

Stage 5: Construction – 3 to 12 months

For small alterations, renovations or additions, the construction stage could take 3 to 6 months. A typical new residential project of a significant size will take from between 6 to 9 months for construction.

For larger projects (greater than $1million in value) it could take up to 12 months to compete.
As you can see, the timeline from concept to completion can take the best part of two years, depending on the various influencing factors.

One of the key elements in the overall process is to create clear, open lines of communication between client and architect.

An architect is a creative problem-solver with a unique understanding of a client’s aspirations. Contact us to discuss your design requirements no matter how large or small.