Design Process

architectural design process step by step to Your Dream home


Architectural Design Process. Roof Garden, West St Kilda House
Roof Garden, West St Kilda House

a home that lets you live your ideal home life


What is the design process?

An architectural design process is essential in providing a series of steps to end up with the best architect-designed house for you.

The architectural design process steps take you through your design Brief, your Concept Plan, Sketch design, Town Planning Approval and Building Permit Approval to Tendering and constructing your home.

You want to be involved in every step of the design process to design your house specifically for you.


Why is the design process important?

The architectural design process is important because the design of a house is complicated.

There are many things to consider in a home, and you want to get it right.  So you follow a process that covers all the essential factors in designing a house along the way.

The architectural design process means that you don’t overlook any critical aspects of your home’s design.

It also helps communicate the house design’s intention through sketches and drawings produced at different steps in the architectural design process.  They show design ideas in an easy to understand way.  And helps our clients provide valuable feedback on their proposed house design.


What are the steps in the design process?

The steps in the architectural design process may already sound familiar to you.  If you have looked at our Architectural Services page, you will see that our services fit into each of the steps.

There are five main steps in the architectural design process.  First, there is the Client brief for the house.  Once the Client Brief is defined, then we move onto the design of the house.  After design approval, we produce construction documents.  Builders are then be contacted to provide a tender for building your home.  Then during construction, the architect can act as your representative on site.

Each step involves many factors to consider.  For example, the first step incorporates the Client’s requirements, site information and buildability.  And other essential aspects of the house, such as the aesthetics of the house design.  Preliminary discussions on Construction costs and the project’s feasibility occur at this stage, as do preliminary studies on the choice of building materials.

The second step includes the Concept, Sketch and Design development.  Design ideas are brainstormed at the Concept Design stage to come up with the best solutions for your house.  The science of building, technical information and aesthetic design are all considered.

At each step of the architectural design process, we expect and encourage feedback from our Clients.  Although this is not a step in itself, our clients’ input is integral to our design process.


The Five Steps in the Architectural Design Process

Stage 1.  Client Brief & Budget

The Client’s Brief and Wishlist set the design parameters for the house.  These are the house requirements that the client wants in their new home.

At this stage, issues have identified that need to be addressed.  Such as steep sloping land or repairs that need to be fixed before renovating.  Or specific requirements, such as using second-hand materials.


Stage 2. Design

The design is integral to your new home from start to finish, whether it is putting down ideas in a concept diagram.  Or design development in detailing a bookshelf and cabinet.  It is a way to get the best solutions for your new home.

And design doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.  For example, redesigning the layout of your home might result in you only needing a small addition.  So you keep your construction costs down, and you end up with a home that suits you.


Stage 3. Construction documents

Construction documents for permits and construction are the next step.  These are drawings and specifications based on your architect house design so that the builder can use these to construct your home.


Stage 4. Tendering

Tendering is when a select group of builders price your home.  It is a competitive process so that you know the amount submitted to build your home is what the market charges.


Stage 5 Construction Administration

Construction administration is when you have selected a builder.  You have signed a contract with them as the Home Owner.  That’s when we can go on-site, as your representative, to inspect the construction and make sure everything is according to the documents.


The Right Architect for Your Dream Home project

It helps if you choose the right architect to design your new home or home renovation.  You want to feel understood.  That your architect listens to your dreams and thoughts for your new home.  Everyone must understand what you want for your Dream Home.

Whether you want the sun streaming into your breakfast area.  Or having night sky views from your bedroom and having a sense of openness in your home.  You may want your home to have free-flowing spaces that meander throughout your home and garden.  Qualities that you can enjoy for years to come.

Investing in your future home is a big commitment.  So you want to make sure that you will have the best home for yourself and your family to end up with a house that enhances your lifestyle.  A home that can make you proud.

We understand that what is essential to one person in their home may not be so important to another person. That is to say, everyone’s idea of home is unique and special to them.

So we listen to our clients.  Above all, we want to know what makes a house a home for our clients and what is important to them in their home.

Contact BP Architects to find out how we can help you with your future home plans.


A Case Study

Brian & Julie’s Cheltenham Home

Brian & Julie asked BP Architects to design their Cheltenham Home.  They had looked at many project homes and other architect-designed homes.  They said they didn’t see any houses that interested them.  That was until they visited the eco-home, designed by BP Architects, in Sunbury.  Brian said this about our architectural design services,

“We commissioned Bridget to design a home for us.  She first visited the site and sat with us to understand exactly what was important to us.  In designing a house that would specifically suit US.”  Brian, Cheltenham Home



Brian and Julie felt that the home we designed for them in Cheltenham exactly suited them.  Their home is a unique and original sustainable home.  In short, their home allows them to live a sustainable lifestyle that is important for them.


Architectural Design Process. Your home can be transformed to your dream home
Your Home can be transformed into Your Dream Home


The architectural design of our Client’s healthy, sustainable homes follows a step-by-step process.  Our skills and expertise in residential architecture design help shape their Dream Homes.

First, starting with our Client’s Brief and incorporating design opportunities presented by our Client’s home site.  Our step-by-step architectural design process lets our Clients see their new home taking shape along the way.


Benefits of an architect designed home

There are many benefits to having an architect designed a sustainable home. Our sustainable homes are smart in design for efficient energy & water usage.

The homes we design are flexible in the planning to optimise the use of your existing home.   Building materials are selected from materials with low chemical emissions.

Ensuring your new home will have good indoor air quality.  And they are designed to be beautiful homes that provide a luxury home life for our Clients.

You can live in a beautiful, sustainable home with modern conveniences with minimal impact on your environment.  We design sustainable homes that have a small ecological footprint and a visual connection with the surrounding environment.  That fulfil our Clients dreams for their new home while allowing our clients to enjoy their surrounding natural environment.

We take the stress out of building your dream home.  You have fully informed the whole way through the process from Concept to Completion, and we help resolve any issues that might come up along the way.


Sustainable architect designed homes

Architectural Design Process. Clerestory Window design
Brian and Julie’s Cheltenham Home

The design ideas behind sustainable and energy-efficient principles make sense.  The logic is easy to understand and sensible, such as hot air rises.  So why not put a window high up on your wall so that you can exhaust the hot air at night time in a secure way?  This window itself will let you have sky views as a feature in its own right.

The design of an energy building efficient home considers natural daylight and cross-ventilation.  Low-tech design considerations that bring comfort to living in an energy efficient house.

low maintenance design

Living in a low maintenance home allows you to spend your time on the critical things in life.  A home with easy to clean surfaces and plenty of storage to keep your home looking neat and tidy.

Start a conversation about your Dream Home today and contact Bridget at BP Architects Find out how you can have a sustainably designed home.


Energy building efficiency in architect-designed homes

Architectural Design Process. Solar Chimney
Solar Chimney, Cheltenham Home

An energy building efficient home can use conventional building materials.  Different building materials affect the absorption of the sun’s heat.  Which helps keep an energy-efficient home cool in summer and warm in winter.

Whether you use bricks, bricks veneer, aerated concrete panels, weatherboards or timber cladding, or strawbale, rammed earth, mudbrick or Timbercrete.  Energy efficient homes can be designed to use any of these building materials.


Passive solar design in architect-designed homes


Architectural Design Process. Renovating Homes
Clerestory windows above Kitchen, Mirboo Strawbale Home

The best time to consider passive house principles is at the start of your home project.

We incorporate passive solar design into our healthy & sustainable home designs from the beginning.  And because we do, the homes we design for our clients don’t need a lot of heating or cooling.

You may only need heating when there is a period of extended extreme hot weather.

Everyone’s comfortable temperature levels are different.  We all have different heating and cooling needs.

Some of our Clients only use a portable heater on the colder days of winter.  And just for a couple of hours.

Whereas other Clients have decided that they wanted a central hydronic heating system.  They have found that the sun keeps their passive solar designed home warm in winter.  So they could have avoided the expense of a central hydronic heating system.

A passive solar designed home can mean that you do not need the expense of installing a central heating system. You might use a local heater instead on the cold winter days.


Sun Path in Winter and Summer

The path of the sun in the sky is different in winter and summer.  The sun path is higher in summer.  And in winter, the sun rises and sets more to the east.  Making this a shorter sun path in winter.  And the sun does not rise so high in winter when compared to the summer sun.

So in Melbourne, Australia, during winter, the sun will rise to the sky’s highest point at about 29 degrees.  Designing for the sun path means that you can capture the winter’s sun to warm your living areas.  The result is a comfortable home that is warm in winter and cool in summer.  And to quote Colin for his zero energy home in Mirboo, Gippsland, Victoria.



“So it seems a well-designed &amp, and well-built house does indeed provide good thermal performance.  Without any further energy input than the sun, wind, & ceiling fans”. Colin, Zero Energy Mirboo Home




Good indoor air quality in architect-designed homes

Architectural Design Process. Low Allergy Homes
Kitchen, Allergy-Free Home, Warragul

Did you know that the air inside a home can be more polluted than the air outside?  Regardless of whether you live in an urban or rural setting.

A Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) study on the indoor air quality of new & recently renovated homes in Melbourne found this to be the case.

CSIRO measured the out-gassing of chemicals from building materials.  And they found that there were high levels of chemicals in the indoor air of recently completed homes.

Building materials can out-gas their chemical content for years.  And this could be happening in your home without you knowing about it.  Some of these harmful chemicals have no smell or odour.  You cannot see them.  You cannot smell them.

So unless you choose the right building materials for your new home, your new home could make you sick.  You want to use low or zero chemical content building materials.  So that you know your home is healthy.

To make sure our Clients have good indoor quality in their homes, we specify healthy building materials.  These building materials release little or no chemicals into the indoor air.  Which, as a consequence, reduces allergic responses of people who live in these homes.

When Bev asked BP Architects to design her home, she was worried that she would be allergic to her new home.  Bev suffered from multiple chemical sensitivities.  She was relieved to find out that after she moved into her allergy-free house in Warragul,



“I have not suffered any allergic reaction since moving into my newly completed home”. Bev, Warragul Home



financial investment in architect-designed homes

Architectural Design Process. ecohome, Sunbury, Victoria Australia, designed by BP Architects.
View to solar court, eco home, Sunbury

A sustainable home doesn’t have to be expensive.  Good design and planning can be cost-effective and can save you money.

With short payback periods of a couple of years.  And in some cases, it doesn’t cost any more.

You can choose to place a window opening on the side of your house to catch prevailing breezes, rather than putting it on another wall of your home where you will not have passive solar heat gain.

You can use conventional building materials and construction to build your sustainable home.  So there are no-cost penalties for using non-conventional building materials.

Differences are evident, though, when you compare a sustainable home and other homes.

Natural Sunlight will provide daylighting throughout the sustainable home.  And a sustainable home will feel cozy.

Why would a sustainable home feel cozy?  Well, air temperatures in a sustainable home are more consistent.  And you do not get the big swings in temperature from cold to hot in one day.  It will be warmer in winter and cooler in summer without air conditioning or a lot of heating.

To top this off, this will reflect on the household energy bills.  Add an active solar electric system such as a rooftop photovoltaic system. You may have zero energy bills.


“I would not believe that the size of the floor area of the house.  As it seems so much more spacious, except that I poured the slab myself”.  Jan, eco Home, Sunbury



You can watch this short video below on BP Architects’ architectural design process.  It will show you the design process of our Client’s sustainable homes.