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Unlock Your Architectural Creativity with a Free 3D Building Designer

Have you ever wanted to bring your architectural ideas to life, but struggled with the technical aspects of design software? Look no further than a free 3D building designer. With advancements in technology, architects and designers now have access to powerful tools that can help them visualize their creations in stunning detail. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using a free 3D building designer and how it can unlock your architectural creativity.

Visualize Your Ideas in 3D

One of the biggest advantages of using a free 3D building designer is the ability to visualize your ideas in three dimensions. Traditional design methods often rely on two-dimensional drawings or sketches, which can sometimes be difficult to interpret and fully understand. With a 3D building designer, you can create realistic models that showcase every aspect of your design, from exterior facades to interior layouts.

By being able to see your designs from different angles and perspectives, you gain valuable insights into how various elements interact with each other. This helps you make informed decisions about the overall aesthetics and functionality of your project. Additionally, visualizing your ideas in 3D allows you to effectively communicate your vision to clients or stakeholders who may not have the same level of technical understanding.

Save Time and Money

Another significant advantage of using a free 3D building designer is the potential time and cost savings it offers. Traditionally, creating physical prototypes or models can be an expensive and time-consuming process. However, with a virtual platform like a 3D building designer, you can quickly iterate through multiple design concepts without having to invest in physical materials or resources.

Additionally, by using a free software solution for designing buildings in three dimensions, you eliminate the need for costly licenses or subscriptions that are often associated with professional-grade design software. This accessibility allows architects and designers at all stages of their career to experiment and refine their ideas without breaking the bank.

Collaborate and Receive Feedback

Designing a building is rarely a solo endeavor. It often involves collaboration with clients, engineers, contractors, and other stakeholders. A free 3D building designer can facilitate this collaborative process by providing a platform for effective communication and feedback.

With a virtual model, you can easily share your designs with others, allowing them to explore and provide valuable input. This collaborative approach helps ensure that all parties involved are on the same page when it comes to design decisions. By receiving feedback early in the design process, you can make necessary adjustments or improvements before moving forward with construction, ultimately saving time and preventing costly mistakes.

Experiment with Different Design Elements

Architecture is an art form that allows for endless creativity. With a free 3D building designer, you have the freedom to experiment with different design elements without any constraints. Whether you want to explore unique building shapes, experiment with materials, or test out different lighting scenarios, a 3D building designer can help bring your wildest ideas to life.

By being able to visualize these design elements in three dimensions, you can assess their impact on the overall look and feel of your project. This level of experimentation allows you to push boundaries and take risks in your designs while also ensuring they remain practical and functional.

In conclusion, using a free 3D building designer unlocks your architectural creativity by enabling you to visualize your ideas in 3D, save time and money through virtual prototyping, collaborate effectively with stakeholders, and experiment with various design elements. So why wait? Dive into the world of 3D building design today and let your creativity soar.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


how to write a design brief for architecture

First In Architecture

Architectural Design Brief – The Checklist

Introduction, what is an architectural design brief.

The architectural design brief forms the very beginning of the design process. It is a project management document containing crucial project information with set outcomes that need to be achieved upon completion. It can provide an overall plan for the project and also be a useful reference document when tracking progress and efficiency. The brief is relevant in both educational and professional settings.

Student projects are often based around a real life project, with an imaginary client often included.  A live project usually exists in order to fulfil the needs of a client, which then forms the grounding for a project brief. Typically the client’s requirements will be drafted in a document called the Strategic Brief. The architect will then need to develop a response to this in a key document called the Project Brief. It will often contain information about the project, stakeholders and deliverables alongside constraints such as the estimated time and costs required for completion.

Now it is important to note that depending on the level of involvement the client wants the architect to have, the chosen architect(s) may be in charge of putting either one or both of the client requirements and project briefs together. A thorough and informative design brief is therefore an imperative part of the design process. It is an essential point of reference not only for the architect, but for all people involved in the design and implementation of the project.

The more information we can gain from the client in the early stages of design, the more effective our decision making and problem solving process will be.

Scroll to the end to download this article as a handy PDF guide!

​ types of design brief.

Types of design brief

How the Brief Evolves

how the architectural design brief evolves

Helping Your Client Develop a Brief

how the architectural design brief evolves

Often clients, particularly domestic, may find it daunting to compile a design brief and as such it is important that we, the professionals, guide our clients to give us the information we need.

We have put together two checklists/questionnaires (which are certainly not exhaustive) to go through with your clients to help you get the information you need from your client in order to inform your design and fulfil your clients requirements. These lists will take you to the technical design stage where you will have a new set of questions and a new brief that will have to be developed.

Our Design Brief checklists

architectural design brief 2

Briefing requirements will vary from project to project depending on scale and need. You will also find some aspects will be dictated by local authority regulations, planning requirements and conservation restrictions – it is important to be mindful of this from the outset.

You may also find that the brief will change and develop as you work on your early proposals as you interact with your client and gain a better understanding of their needs.

See below our checklist of questions that you can start off asking your client:

Residential Client Brief Checklist:

architectural design brief

  • Full contact details of client – address, phone number, email
  • Full site address
  • Details of any other important parties in the design process
  • Describe your current home. What do you like and dislike about it? What is missing, and what would you change.
  • What kind of ideas do you have about design and / or materials? Do you have any images from magazines/internet that show us a style that you like?
  • Are there any particular design features that are important to you?
  • What kind of style do you require for the project? e.g. contemporary, traditional, industrial, bold, elegant, minimal etc.
  • Do you have any specific materials or surfaces in mind that you would like to see included in the project?
  • Do you have specific time requirements for the project to be complete?
  • What are your budget requirements?
  • Do you have any specific accessibility requirements, for example is anyone in your family disabled or do you have any regular visitors that would have special needs?
  • Do you have any specific considerations toward sustainability and energy efficiency – is there a particular system you would like to use: i.e., solar panels etc.
  • Have you considered using alternative energy and heat sources?
  • How much time and energy would you be willing to invest to maintain your home?
  • Why did you choose this site? 
  • Is there anything about the site that you particularly like or dislike? Anything you would like to keep or remove?
  • Are there any particular views within the site that are particularly important to you?
  • How many people will be living in the new home?
  • Do you foresee new additions to the home? (ie children) 
  • Are there any pets that will need to be accommodated?
  • Describe your lifestyle and the kind of spaces that you need? For example, work from home, entertain often, etc
  • How much time do you spend in the different areas of your home (indoors and outdoors)?
  • What type of entertainment systems do you require? Music, TV, projectors, speakers throughout the house?
  • What type of storage do you require? Specific hobbies that require lots of storage space? Large wardrobe space?
  • Number of floors / rooms / spaces and use for each?
  • Are there any particular areas that are to be more private than others? Or particular rooms that you would like to have connected?
  • Do you have any preferred room layouts/relationships or orientations? – a south facing kitchen for example.
  • Do you have any specific ideas or plans for the outside spaces that you would like us to consider? 
  • Any specific requirements for entry or street access?
  • Have you thought about landscaping or including a garden? (green or blue spaces)
  • What would you like to see in your newly extended/renovated home that it currently lacks?
  • What additional areas / functions / activities will be housed in the new proposed space?
  • Do you have any particular preferences for the relationship between the rooms?
  • Would you be happy to reconsider the internal layout?

Commercial Client Brief Checklist:

architectural brief commercial

  • Details of any other important contacts in the project team
  • Why is this project being developed?
  • Why did the client choose this site?
  • Who are the other participants of this project?
  • Does the client have any specific wishes with regard to design?
  • What attitude do they have towards architecture and design?
  • Will the drawings need to be understandable by non experts?
  • Has the client worked with an architect before? If so, who?
  • What are the time constraints of the project?
  • Are there any particular phasing requirements?
  • On what basis is the calculation of fees based?
  • Should the project cost be estimated in order to base the fee calculation?
  • What is the client budget?
  • Depending on the type of project questions will vary, however some of the domestic questions may apply.
  • What is the client looking to achieve with this project?
  • What do the surroundings look like? Landscaping, trees, orientation, climate etc?
  • What are the existing buildings and surrounding buildings? What materials are they?
  • Does any later construction need to be taken into account now?
  • What sort of materials would the client like to use?
  • Are there any specific design goals? sustainability targets for example.
  • Does the client/company have any leaning toward a sustainable energy efficient ethos?
  • Would they like to include new technologies in the project?
  • What are the infrastructure requirements of this project?
  • Who will use the building?
  • What are the requirements of the users of the building?
  • Are there any specific accessibility requirements?
  • There will be many more questions in this category following discovery of proposed building occupants.
  • What floors / rooms / spaces are required? (Indoor and Outdoor)
  • How would the spaces need to connect?
  • Are there specific spatial requirements?
  • Are there any specific external landscaping requirements?
  • Are there any specific mechanical or electrical requirements?

Helpful links

Download the guide.

Architectural Design Brief – The Checklist

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Thanks you very much for thia posting.. i very need it. Studying about this. Its very help me. Thanks

Exactly. very useful

It’s very informative, thanks a lot.

This has been very helpful for my school project

I was just working on a new breif (we call them programmes here) and this helped a lot with some of the general questions to ask a new client.

Thank you very much!

Hi James, thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated 🙂

Wow!!! This was darn helpful. We’ve just been given an assignment to prepare a brief and finding this article was a total relieve.

Hi I have to develop a Residential Design Proposal for a client. This Design brief here is great. I would like to buy your ebook, but I don’t know which book is suitable for me. My proposal will include: Design problem, Design Factors, and Design Brief. Can you recommend for me. Thanks

Hi Jolly, I’m afraid my ebooks are about architectural and construction detailing, not about the topics you mention. Regards, Emma


Awesome info – just what I needed!! Thanks so much sharing it – it is much appreciated & is going to save me a WHOLE LOT of frustration YAY!!!

Thank you so much for this post. I am currently writing a simplified building construction process book and this information has been helpful.

Please, can I use extracts from this write up? I’ll duly reference the source. Thanks

Sure you can use the post as a reference. Crediting the source would be appreciated. Many thanks, Emma

Hi Emma, What a great list, and things i hadn’t thought of (I’m a new student at 61 years old) .I guess I’d also like to know a little about the neighbors in planning a house .. do they have a practicing rock’n’roll band or something. Liked the questions about their current or last house, and what they liked or would change. Alll in all very helpful. Thanks

Very Helpful 🙂

it’s very helpful in term of collect more information from client. I suppose there should be other other design brief checklist like hotels, office, etc. Could you share me those if there is?

thankyou very much for this posting , very useful

Very helpful, was looking for this everywhere

Hello, I’ve been trying to develop a design brief for my thesis project should there be an introduction about the project why is it necessary? Why I’ve chosen that site? Or should I dive right into the requirements and area specifications?

Hi, this article is about a design brief not a thesis, this article might be more helpful to you: https://www.firstinarchitecture.co.uk/how-to-write-an-architecture-dissertation-101/

I have also created a architectural drawing checklist.You can download PDF and Word files of the checklist via links below – Feel free to adapt and use as you wish.



I discuss it further in a post on my linkedin page – see below


I should have said although it is a drawing checklist it efectively contains all the information required for a brief and could be adapted to suit

ThIS is very enlightening and helpful. It made me wonder also, what is the difference between a working brief and a Functional brief? any thoughts?

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How to create a great “design brief” for an architect or builder?

  • Knowledge Centre   /  Designing a new home or renovation   / 

(Pro-tip = “make this a fun activity for the whole family, like planning a family holiday”.)

A design brief is used to clearly convey to the architect and builder some background information on you and your family including how you like to live and entertain and what is important to you in creating a new home.

Try to involve all your family members in writing this design brief and make it fun for everyone to get involved in, (like planning a family holiday overseas!). 

Begin by “brainstorming” and writing down a list of all your thoughts and ideas about the new house. Then start to refine and condense the list and place your ideas into categories or sub-headings.

You should start with an introduction describing your family, pets, your lifestyle and professions.  Include details of your extended family, how often you entertain, what your family does for recreation and relaxation.  This information will help to convey how you use your home and what accommodation you need now and into the future.

Your ideas should be listed room by room and level by level and ranked in order of importance.  The “must have items” should be listed first then grade each item in level of importance as you go through the list.  Also, try to include photos of design ideas that you like that illustrate what you would like to achieve. A brief that includes good pictures is much easier for the architect and builder to follow and interpret.

Also, start a “Pinterest account” for your new house or renovation project, so you can compile a library of photos that you like for both internal and external design features and ideas.  You can then share the link to your Pinterest account with all your design consultants (architect, builder, interior designer, landscape designer etc), so everyone involved gets the same “visual brief”.

Your design brief should be no more than 5 or 6 pages and should be revised at various stages throughout the design and construction process and updated if the scope of works or budget changes.

Below is a list of questions or prompts to help you write your design brief.


  • Briefly describe your family, including pets, professions, schooling and what makes you special.
  • Briefly describe how you live (i.e. sports, hobbies, how you like to entertain and how often, do you travel, do you ever have guests staying with you and do you have any significant equipment to accommodate such as camping equipment, trailer, boat, sports car etc.)?
  • Briefly describe your property and the “big picture” of what you would like to build and create. How long have you owned this property and how long do you intend to stay?        

Style of the house

  • Describe the type of design you like, and any specific design features you would like to include in your new house or renovation.
  • What drew you to this property and this suburb or area?
  • Any specific types of construction? (i.e. concrete slab, timber floor, brick veneer, solid brick, light weight cladding etc.)  

Accommodation and Interior

  • Size and type of garage?
  • Number and type of living areas?
  • Dining area, casual, formal, number of chairs?
  • Describe the type of kitchen you want and specific features?
  • Type of pantry and how you want to use it?
  • Size of laundry and specific requirements?
  • Games room, rumpus room, media room, home theatre?
  • Study, home office, library?
  • Mud room, store room, workshop, cellar?
  • Number of bedrooms and sizes?
  • Number of bathrooms and specific features?
  • Master bedroom requirements and design features?
  • Guest bedroom requirements?
  • Type of stairs, voids?
  • Ideal ceiling heights?
  • Any specific electrical system requirements?
  • Any specific heating or cooling requirements?​  

Exterior Design

  • Describe how you would like the house to look from the street and any specific exterior design ideas or requirements?
  • Any specific requirements for the entry or front door?
  • Any specific exterior materials you do or do not want to use on the building?
  • Windows – any specific requirements?
  • Alfresco / BBQ area requirements?
  • Swimming pool?
  • Front fence requirements?
  • Describe the type of garden and outdoor spaces you would like and any specific design ideas?

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How to Write a Design Brief for Your Architect

by Taylan Tahir | Advice | 0 comments

how to write a design brief for architecture

Written by Taylan Tahir

No one sets out to make a film without a script, a budget and a program. This might sound obvious but building is no different, though we so often see people making it up as they go. It’s a recipe for disaster, or, at the very least for things not turning out the way you imagined.

This article answers the questions, ‘what is an architectural project brief?’; why you need one for your project and what you should include in it.

What is an architectural project brief for a house extension?

A thorough design brief ensures that all important issues are considered from the outset of a project, before design work even begins. In its basic form, a written design brief is a list of desired outcomes and deliverables that forms an essential point reference and communication for both Architect and Client. It will cover some basic fundamentals such as budget, time frames etc as well as bigger ideas about your future lifestyle and how you will live in your new home.

Firstly, we would recommend everyone planning a house extension or renovation project prepares a design brief before approaching an architect. It really helps to frame the conversation going forward and ensures you get the most out of those early conversations.

It can be daunting, especially for domestic clients with little experience of construction or working with an architect, to compile a residential design brief. If you are unsure of where to begin or what you should include in your own, we have prepared a template brief to use as a starting point. This simple, two-page document helps establish priorities, define what is important to you and what you ultimately want to achieve with your project. We ask all of our clients to fill this out before our first meeting.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and there may be areas you have further questions about (particularly where budgets and costs are involved). This is part of the process and your architect will be able to guide and develop the brief with you. Read our tips on choosing the right architect here.

how to write a design brief for architecture

Why is writing a design brief important?

Home extension and renovation projects are complex and require a large time and financial commitment. For most people, they are a once in a lifetime undertaking. Done well, a home extension can be truly transformative. A well-designed and constructed extension can improve your wellbeing and lift your everyday. The opposite can cause stress and financial difficulty.

For these reasons it is imperative you take the time to properly plan your project. Really understand what your end goals are in order to get the most out of the process and maximise your investment.

How to write the perfect design brief for an architect? Or How to brief an architect?

We don’t often get a written brief from residential clients. However, on that rare occasion that we do, it helps us hit the ground running. In this instance the client has already framed the conversation, highlighted their aspirations, high level goals, constraints and budget and anything else that is important to them; inspirations, aesthetic preferences etc. All of these, if set out from the go, give us a great head start.

The more detailed the brief is, the clearer the direction of the project will be. However, it is important not to be too prescriptive. Allow the designer to respond to your initial ideas with creative solutions that can often present new, unexpected opportunities.

Consider what type of spaces are important to your lifestyle and the way you’d like to live in the future. Do you want a better connection with your garden? Where does the family spend most of their time? Do you need a quiet, private space to work from home?

A brief doesn’t only have to be written. It can also be useful to share images of other projects you find inspiring or materials you love. It’s worth starting a Pinterest page to collate some of your ideas and sharing this with your designer.

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Architecture Design Brief | Guide and Template

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how to write a design brief for architecture

What is an architecture creative brief?

Creating an architecture creative brief is an essential part of any construction project. This brief will detail all of the specific details of the project, from the property typology to the various design stages, unique features, and even the anticipated budgets that are required.

Your architecture brief is effectively the first building block of the property, and you should consider it as the ultimate guide for your chosen architect and their team. This overarching summary will summarize exactly what your requirements are, what your desired goals and outcomes will be, and how you expect to reach them.

Alongside this, a thorough architecture brief should also detail the timeframe expected to reach these goals as well as your budget. The more comprehensive that you are during this process, the fewer complications you will face and the better the results you will enjoy.

how to write a design brief for architecture

What are the hidden benefits of implementing an architectural design brief?

While writing an architecture brief is not an easy process, it is one that is essential to the success of any project. The most important of these is that it will ensure that you, your chosen architect, and their entire team all understand exactly what is required of them throughout the project. This helps to minimize any errors.

Not only does working from the same architecture creative brief ensure that everyone understands the goals of the project, but it also helps to significantly enhance communication. Construction projects of any size are incredibly complex, and one minor misunderstanding can have major consequences.

When everyone is able to work from the same page, it guarantees a far smoother project. A comprehensive architectural brief will ensure that nothing is overlooked, reducing the need for continuous back and forth and saving you money in the process. Of course, the nature of architecture means there are likely many obstacles that you will need to overcome, and this brief will help to keep the entire team focused.

How to write an architectural brief? A tested outline

So now you know how a thorough architectural creative brief can help prove incredibly beneficial for you, it is time to start writing one. However, if you have never written one before, this can be a hugely daunting prospect to face.

This all-encompassing architecture design brief is your chance to detail to the architect your exact vision for your construction. To help you create the perfect document, we have taken a closer look at the five key areas to consider:

1) Project description and objectives

Before you begin your architecture brief, you first need to create your project description and the objectives you want to achieve. This should be as thorough and clear as possible, and you want to describe exactly what you are hoping for from the construction project.

This is one of the most critical aspects of the entire architectural brief, and you will want to clearly outline your vision. During this stage of the brief, you will also want to set out your requirements to ensure your architect knows exactly what they need to deliver.

how to write a design brief for architecture

If you have ever completed a construction project before, you will know just how easy it can be to go over budget. That is why you will want to ensure that your architecture creative brief is clearly detailing what your expected costs for the entire project are.

By setting your budget, you will be to have complete peace of mind that your project will not lead to any unexpected costs or surprises.

3) Requirements

Once you have your project outline and your budget sorted, the next step of your architecture design brief is to establish your requirements. This will form a large part of the document and is essential in ensuring that everyone working on the project will understand what is needed to make it a success.

The requirements you list in your architecture brief should outline everything from the technical aspects to the deliverables you need. You will also need to outline the exact roles and expectations of everyone working on the project.

4) Timeline

When you have been able to create your budget and have clearly listed the requirements you expect, you will then need to move on to the anticipated timeline for the project. The timeline is another critical aspect of any architecture brief, and while you will likely be tempted to rush through as fast as you can, you should factor in enough time.

There are always unexpected obstacles and delays to keep in mind, and not considering these can push things behind schedule and over budget.

5) Look, feel, and direction

The final point of consideration when writing an architectural brief is the look, feel, and direction of what you want to achieve. This is the process of making the project personal to you and ensuring the end results meet the vision that you have in mind.

While certain regulations might prevent your exact vision from becoming true, this is your opportunity to guide the architect to what you want. It will also help them to understand your passion and focus.

You can use our interactive Moodboards to take care of this section! Feel free to try it out in HolaBrief without cost!

how to write a design brief for architecture

Build and download your architecture creative brief samples

Are you looking to create an architecture creative brief but are finding it hard to begin? At HolaBrief, we know how difficult the process can be. That is why we are here to help you create the most thorough architectural briefs possible, ensuring you can turn your vision into a reality.

Our highly talented team has years of experience working on creating compelling briefs, and we decided to put this knowledge to use to create a unique software opportunity that is designed to help you get ahead.

All of our comprehensive architecture creative brief templates are designed to be as wide as possible while remaining simple and intuitive to use. We’ll carefully take you through the process step by step, giving you the tools and knowledge to create the very best brief possible.

So no matter what kind of construction project you are embarking on, if you need the services of an architect, then an architectural design brief is essential. Ready to get started? You can begin building your brief in a matter of minutes by creating a free account in HolaBrief , so check them out today or get in touch with our friendly team today, who will be happy to help.

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Architecture Design Brief 101: Improve your architectural design projects

Architecture Design Brief

An architecture design brief plays a vital role in documenting and managing a projects required outcomes and deliverable’s, and so here we discuss what this document is, why it is important, and how to use and write one yourself.

What is an architecture design brief

An architecture design brief is a crucial document that outlines the goals, requirements, and constraints of a design or building project. It serves as the starting point for the design process and provides an overall plan for the project. The brief is also a useful reference document for tracking progress and efficiency.

The document is no different to any other form of design brief or even just a brief, as they all essentially aim to provide the recipient (in this case the architect and/ or student) with a list of instructions, requirements and directions to fulfill the authors (clients) needs. It is relevant in both educational and professional settings, and is essential for all people involved in the design and implementation of the architecture project.

(A brief can also be referred to and more commonly known in the United States as a program, however they have and consist of the same purpose and information.)

design brief architecture

Student assignments often involve real-life projects, with an imaginary client included. Live projects are typically designed to fulfill the needs of a real client, which forms the basis for a project brief. The specific requirements are usually outlined in a document called the Strategic Brief. The architect must then develop a response to this in the brief, which typically includes information about the projects insights, stakeholders, deliverables, and any constraints such as time and cost estimates.

Depending on the level of involvement the owner wants the architect to have (often more hands on with domestic clients), the chosen designer may be responsible for creating either one or both of the client requirements and project briefs. It is important to have a thorough and informative brief to ensure the success of the scheme.

With regards to the document containing the architectural brief, this can be as detailed or as limiting as the author decides, and can be anything from a single piece paper or a fully-fledged bound document. 

Generally speaking the more detailed the brief is, the clearer the instruction and direction will be, however too much information can sometimes hinder the design process by being too directive and limiting.

Equally a short brief, may initially appear to offer a lot more creative freedom but later can hinder a projects development, when the design direction presented is not to the clients requirements due to the failed communication of the brief.

how to write a design brief for architecture

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Why is it important when designing?

Architectural design briefs are the very beginning of a scheme, and without one it is incredibly hard for a project to exist, let alone start designing it.

They provide a vital tool for communication, that enables the client or clients to describe the desired outcomes of the end product (the building) to the architect or designer (this is particularly useful with domestic customers), helping them to understand what is exactly required of them to meet their needs.

This may be carried out for example during a free consultation, to see if it is a good fit – without a design brief, there is no clear direction and more importantly no record of the core designs components.

The brief also plays a very important role and point of reference for both the user and architect during the projects development. Where particular emphasis is put onto it during the conceptual and design stages , that often see’s the brief developing alongside the architect and past the client’s initial submission.

The briefing document also essentially provides an informal contract between the client and architect. By specifying the desired end product, it enables the architect to design within the client’s limitations and expectations, that will hopefully procure a building that both parties will be happy with.

This is exactly the same for a concept given to a student in architecture school, except the user is often fictional. However the brief still outlines what is required and failure to meet it will result in an unsuccessful project followed by a low result or mark.

Where do architectural briefs come from?

Architectural briefs can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and at the beginning you may only have notes taken from a meeting or a jumbled email from the client, and so if this is the case then these should be formalized.

Some firms will a have their own briefing document that they provide to their clients at the beginning of a project to ensure that the correct information is provided from the outset, that would then be formulated into a briefing document.

For architecture students, it is common for the design brief to have been prepared by the year group tutors, and this will provide all the necessary information required to meet the required outcomes.

Final year students may be required to produce their own brief, in which case they will be responsible for creating their own user and finding a site relative to their chosen building type. This must all be researched and analysed prior to formalizing.

Architectural Design Brief

How to use it…

In short, once issued with an architecture design brief the document should be used as a check list and point reference throughout the whole design and construction process to ensure that the end product (the building) meets the clients requirements.

However to do this, the briefing document firstly needs to be broken down and analysed to ensure that you fully understand what is being asked of you. 

So go through paragraph by paragraph and create subcategories for the site, program, client, and building typology, highlighting the areas that can be used to help develop the project, areas of importance, areas that need clarity, and the general deliverable’s for the scheme.

As architecture students, there will also be a list of what the assignments or units outcomes should be, and what you will be required to present in order to demonstrate you have grasped the final project and successfully passed.

Special attention should be made to the number and type of drawings and documents required … the brief is there to help and guide you through the exercise, and should always be by your side.

Scope of services  vs s cope of works

An architectural brief can sometimes consist of two parts:

  • Project Brief / Scope of Services : This section outlines the requirements and process for delivering the project, including the activities and tasks that need to be completed by the design team.
  • Design Brief / Scope of Works : This section outlines the parameters and final outcome. It typically sits within the overall project brief and describes the physical aspects of the scheme.

Project brief

The project brief is a document that outlines the extent of work and activities expected to be completed by designers and consultants during the course of a project. This document is important because it helps to guide the clients team and ensure that all tasks are completed in a timely and effective manner.

In the project brief, you will typically find information about the client or sponsor (who will pay and make final decisions), the schedule (the overall time allowed and any major stages or phases), milestones (key targets or goals that occur during the process), the budget (including the amount of money available and any costs associated with it), and deliverables (the packages that will be prepared, completed, and delivered during the course of the program).

It is important to note that the brief may differ in practice compared to university assignments, but it is still useful to see the parallels between the two. University tasks can act as mini-projects and do reflect reality to some extent.

In university assignments, you may be given a fixed amount of time within the semester to complete your work, and it is important to note the overall time allocated for each project. You may also be expected to treat your tutor or teacher as a client and consider their expectations in terms of the work you complete each week for them to review.

Finally, you may be expected to prepare and deliver various packages, such as final submissions and interim submissions, as well as weekly work for feedback and review.

design brief architecture

Design brief

The scope of works is a document that outlines the parameters and final outcome of the buildings design. It includes important information about the location and site, the typology of the building, the users, the scope of the building or structure, the architectural program, the materials to be used, and the givens, assumptions, opportunities, and constraints associated with the project.

It also includes the aspirations, goals, and visions for the project, which describe the more intangible desires of the client or end-users.

The scope of works is an important document because it helps to define the overall limits of the scheme and provides guidance to the design team as they work to design and construct the building. It includes information about the location and site, including the physical boundaries of the site and any existing conditions or structures that may be relevant to the project.

It also includes information about the typology of the building, such as whether it is a school, hospital, office building, or some other type of structure, and may include references to precedents or examples of similar buildings.

The scope of works also includes information about the users of the building and the functional spaces required for the building to operate. It describes the estimated size of the final structure and any associated works, such as new construction, refurbishment, or demolition, and provides a high-level summary of the overall project.

Additionally, it includes information about the materials to be used in the construction of the building and any special considerations or technologies that may be relevant. The scope of works includes a list of givens, assumptions, opportunities, and constraints that need to be taken into account as the project progresses.

Brief development

It is important to remember that the architecture design brief is not a static document that is completed at the beginning of the project and then set aside. Instead, it should be seen as a living document that evolves as the project progresses.

To ensure that the brief remains relevant and effective, it should be developed in consultation with the client and end users, taking into account any changes or challenges that may arise during the course of the project. Regular evaluations of the brief at key stages of the project can help to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned and working towards the same goals.

In addition to fulfilling the aesthetic aspirations of the client, the brief should also address the functional requirements and needs of the project. This is particularly important for student assignments that may not have a specific client focus. In these cases, it may be helpful to consider the site or location as the “client,” and to consider the needs of the site and how the design can meet those needs.

Architectural Design Brief

How do you create a design brief?

Much like the analysis of an architecture design brief, when writing one it must consist of a narrative , a site , a building typology and a program .

Before any physical writing can take place however, the site must first be selected and this may involve visiting a number of potential locations before one can be chosen. 

The building typology may have an influence on this if it has already been selected prior to the site, as you will need to select a site relevant to the building type. There is little point in selecting a site for say a theater building, if there is already one within close proximity.

But assuming that the building typology is yet to be selected, then following a successfully selected site, you must then research into what the close and surrounding area needs and will benefit from. i.e more housing, a school or maybe a visitors center.

The narrative should then follow and provide the background information to the project, it is here that the client and the buildings end users are created, and you must provide information on who they are and why they require such a building. 

Lastly, the buildings accommodation and program should be researched to identify the spaces required and the sizes they need to be. You need to put yourself into the clients shoes, and for this exercise become the client.

Design brief checklist – What should it include?

Here is an checklist that you can use to ensure that you have included all the necessary information needed to establish a successful brief:

  • Client and end user information : Make sure you have included information about the client, who will be paying and making final decisions, and the end users, who will be using the final building.
  • Location and site information : Include details about the location of the project and the physical site boundaries, as well as any existing conditions or structures that may be relevant.
  • Typology : Specify the type of building or structure that is to be designed and constructed, such as a school, house, hospital, shop, or office building.
  • Building or structure scope : Describe the difference between the existing conditions and the final building, including the estimated size of the final structure and any associated works.
  • Architectural program : Provide a detailed breakdown of the spaces required, based on client requirements, user activities and needs, and functional spaces required for the building to operate.
  • Materials : Consider any particular materials or technologies that may need to be considered for the building typology or location.
  • Givens, assumptions, opportunities, and constraints : List everything that is known about the project as well as the unknown and things that need to be considered and questioned further.
  • Aspirations, goals, and visions : Describe the more intangible desires, including what the client or end-users will want to experience and obtain from the final product.
  • Schedule and milestones : Include the overall time allowed and any major stages or phases, as well as key targets or goals that should be achieved during the process.
  • Project budget : Specify the amount of money available, including the construction allowance, consultant and design fees, and other costs such as reports, town planning fees, and utilities fees.
  • Deliverables : Outline the packages that will be prepared, completed, and delivered during the course of the program, including the number of drawings, models, and other specific documents and records of your work, process, and progress.

architectural brief

Example of the information needed

Here is an example of an architectural design brief:

  • Client : ABC Company
  • End users : Employees and visitors of ABC Company
  • Location : Downtown Los Angeles
  • Site : A vacant lot located on the corner of Main Street and 1st Avenue
  • Typology : A 10-story office building
  • Building/structure scope : The project involves the construction of a new 10-story office building with a total area of 100,000 square feet. The building will have two basement levels for parking and mechanical systems and eight above-ground levels for offices and other functional spaces.
  • Architectural program : The building will include a ground floor lobby, a cafeteria, meeting rooms, and a gym. The upper floors will consist of open plan office spaces, conference rooms, and private offices.
  • Materials : The exterior of the building will be clad in glass and aluminum panels, and the interior will feature a mix of carpet and concrete flooring. The building will be equipped with energy-efficient systems and technologies, such as LED lighting and a green roof.
  • Givens/assumptions/opportunities/constraints : The site is located in a downtown area with good access to public transportation and amenities. The zoning regulations allow for a building of up to 10 stories in height. There are no known environmental or geological issues on the site.
  • Aspirations, goals, and visions : The client desires a modern and efficient office building that will attract top talent and enhance the company’s image. They also want the building to be environmentally sustainable and to contribute to the revitalization of the downtown area.
  • Schedule : The project is expected to take 24 months from design to completion, with major milestones including the completion of design documentation, the issuance of building permits, and the start of construction.
  • Project budget : The budget is $25 million, including construction costs, consultant and design fees, and other costs such as reports, town planning fees, and utilities fees.
  • Deliverables : The design team will prepare a set of design documents including floor plans, elevations, sections, and 3D renderings. The team will also prepare a construction documents package, including detailed drawings and specifications, and will provide support during the construction phase.

How do you write an architectural design brief?

To further add to the above, here are the key steps to follow when writing an architecture design brief:

  • Identify the client’s needs and goals: The first step is to understand what the client wants to achieve with the building project. This includes their functional requirements, budget, timeline, and any specific design preferences.
  • Define the scope of the project: This involves defining the scheme’s size, location, and other relevant details such as zoning restrictions, building codes, and other regulatory requirements.
  • Identify the users and their needs: Identify who will be using the building and what their needs and preferences are. This includes understanding the building’s context and environment, the cultural and social requirements of the users, and any other relevant information.
  • Establish the design parameters: Based on the client’s goals, scope, and user requirements, establish the key design parameters. This includes the building’s layout , form, materials, systems, and other technical details.
  • Develop the design concept: Based on the design parameters, develop a preliminary design concept that captures the essence of the project. This should include sketches, drawings, or 3D models that illustrate the design intent.
  • Outline the schedule: Develop a detailed schedule that outlines the key milestones and deadlines for the program.
  • Specify the budget: Develop a budget that outlines the estimated costs, including design fees, construction costs, and other expenses.
  • Identify the project team: Identify the key stakeholders involved, including the architect, engineers , contractors, and any other relevant parties.
  • Review and revise the brief: Review the document with the client and other stakeholders to ensure that it accurately reflects their needs and goals. Make revisions as necessary.

What is the difference between a project brief and a design brief?

A project brief and a design brief are two distinct documents used in different stages of a buildings life cycle. While they share some similarities, there are several key differences between them. Here are the main differences between a project brief and a design brief:

  • Purpose: A project brief outlines the overall scope, objectives, and constraints, while a design brief focuses on the bespoke design ideas and goals.
  • Audience: A project brief is typically written for the stakeholders, including the buildings users, sponsors, and managers, while a design brief is written for the design team, including architects, engineers, and other specialists involved in the design process.
  • Content: A project brief includes high-level information such as the purpose, goals, scope, timelines, budgets, and risks, while a design brief includes more detailed information such as user requirements, functional specifications, design parameters, technical requirements, and other design-related details.
  • Timing: A project brief is typically developed at the beginning to provide a strategic direction, while a design brief is developed after the project brief, once the goals, scope, and constraints have been defined, to provide design guidance.

In summary, while both project briefs and design briefs are essential documents in the life cycle, a project brief outlines the overall scope of the scheme, while a design brief focuses on the individual design requirements and goals.


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Date: March 8th 2023 Between:

This Contract is between Client (the "Client") and Acme LLC, a California limited liability company (the "Coach").

The Contract is dated January 23, 2023.


1.1 Project. The Client is hiring the Coach to develop a coaching relationship between the Client and Coach in order to cultivate the Client's personal, professional, or business goals and create a plan to achieve those goals through stimulating and creative interactions with the ultimate result of maximizing the Client's personal or professional potential.

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The Coach and Client will meet by video conference, 4 days per month for 2 hours.

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The Client is hiring the Coach as an independent contractor. The following statements accurately reflect their relationship:

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Table of contents

What is an architecture design brief.

how to write a design brief for architecture

An architecture design brief outlines the specifics of the architectural project, such as building typology, design stages, budget requirements, and particular design features. It’s the first building block in the architectural design process.

Consider a design brief as the ultimate guiding source for architects and their teams. It’s essentially a project management proposal–it summarizes the client’s requirements, spells out the desired outcomes and how they’ll be reached. 

With a well-crafted and detailed architectural design brief, you can deliver exactly what your client is after. It gives you a blueprint to strategize all the work and timelines. 

Plus, it’s a vital tool to show your prospects how intricately you’ve planned the project and its various stages–a stage on which to flex your architectural muscles.

As important as an architect’s design brief is, it’s not easy to write. You’ll need to spend hours studying the client's requirements before finally wrapping it up into a project brief. Instead of going through this process for every project that comes your way, use a design brief template, ease the heavy-lifting, and go into more detail into those areas that need it instead.  

Note: Sign up to Bonsai for free and access this template along with hundreds of others for proposals, contracts, invoices, and more. 

What to Include in the Architecture Design Brief?

A clear and concise design brief outlining all the information required is key for kickstarting a new project. It tells your clients how clearly you’ve understood their vision, giving them the confidence to trust you with their project. 

In addition, it also helps you establish priorities as the project progresses and lays down the roadmap for meeting all goals. 

While there’s no standard format for an architectural brief, a handful of elements are common across most briefs. Let’s look at these elements in detail. 

  • Business overview

Before all else, your design brief should start by introducing your business. Talk about your brand—offer insights about your key selling points, crucial differentiators, and core values. Spotlight your experience as an architect and let the client know who they’re talking to. 

While this section of your project brief focuses primarily on your business, you can also give a brief overview of the client and their contact details along with their primary requirement. This helps frame you as the solution to their architectural issues.

how to write a design brief for architecture

  • Key objectives

After you’ve caught the client’s attention, it’s time to set the tone for your design brief by listing down the key objectives. This section essentially answers the question: what does your client want?   

Write a mission statement for your project that summarizes what your client expects from this development plan. 

The mission statement should answer several questions about the project:

  • What’s the building’s function?
  • What needs will this building fulfill? 
  • What’s the main goal of this building?
  • What will be the aesthetics of this building?
  • Will the project follow norms for energy efficiency?

Discuss these questions with your prospects to fully understand and optimize the design and construction process. That way, the entire process is informed by the client’s wants and needs–making for a successful build.

  • Building typology and size

Once you have all the answers from the section above, how exactly do you piece it together into design briefs? That’s exactly what this next section is about. 

To understand the building typology, first consider the kind of structure you’re designing. Is it a residential building, commercial, institutional, or something else? 

Determining the type of building is a great place to start the design process. You can take reference and source ideas from similar structures to the one you’re designing.

After you’ve figured out the typology for your new project, shift your focus to size. Review the size of the site you’re working with in terms of:

  • Gross Internal Area (GIA): everything, including wall thickness
  • Net Internal Area (NIA): everything, excluding wall thickness

Finalizing these details will show your client you’ve done all the work before pitching your design. It also helps ensure that you know what you’re talking about, and understand how your architectural skills match up with the design project at hand.

  • Lifestyle and use

Now, a key consideration for architects–how will the spaces you’re developing be used? Discuss the everyday use of the site with your prospect and think of how your design and development can optimize the experience. 

Before jumping to the actual design, an architect’s job is to get a better understanding of what the building—with its indoor and outdoor spaces—is all about. As an architect, you’re not only considering how the building looks, but also how it feels and fits the user needs.

You have to chat with your client before drafting this section and incorporate background information about the building’s purpose. For example, if building a home, you could consider finding out their likes and dislikes:

  • Describe your daily lifestyle. How does this space align with your lifestyle?
  • Who will be utilizing this space—present or future generations?
  • What are your favorite examples of great architecture? 
  • What significance does this site hold? 
  • What are your preferred room layouts and indoor spaces?

Prepare a handy list of such questions to get a detailed understanding of lifestyle preferences for your projects. This provides a solid foundation on which to build moving forward.

  • Sustainability and other requisites

The future is green, and as an architect you’re leading the pack when it comes to building with sustainability in mind. It’s best to hammer out the ideas for a green design in the early stages of the project. This will give you time to think of a more accurate project cost without any last-minute additions to the budget. 

Eco-friendly houses come in many forms–present a number of possible approaches. Whether it’s limited to particular rooms and indoor spaces or expanded across outside spaces, explain all your plans for making the build sustainable, healthy, and happy for our planet. 

Construction process and timeline 

how to write a design brief for architecture

Architects need patience and perseverance as much as they require strategic thinking and design skills. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your client's building. 

Clients can get too eager to see their new space and tempted by quick fixes. Give them an accurate estimate as to  how long it should take to complete the project at the very beginning. 

Invest some extra time in thinking realistically about the expected timescale for projects. 

This way, you can offer your prospects two crucial pieces of information:

  • Project duration: to tell them the length of completing the entire development process
  • Key milestones: to enable them to see your progress at important stages

Avoid the temptation to provide optimistic timelines to keen clients–this probably isn’t your first rodeo. Architectural projects can run into issues left, right, and center–make sure you leave some wiggle room with timings.

how to write a design brief for architecture

Pricing of your architectural brief

Architectural projects come in all shapes and sizes–some are highly emotional whereas others are purely for profit. Take this into consideration when drafting your pricing plan.

While budget discussions happen verbally before the project begins, make sure to itemize costs for clarity. 

Don’t forget to factor in:

  • Interior designer: if the client would like your team to design their entire space
  • Emergency situations: if any unexpected issues obstructs the process
  • VAT: to incorporate the taxes necessary for construction activities 

Remember, an Architect is never involved with just design; they’re also in charge of the development process. Create a realistic quote that takes the entire process into account–from the paper on which you draw your designs to the extra people you’ll need along the way.

Bonsai top tip: Prepare better for the future and simplify your payment process with Bonsai’s clear and rapid invoice templates for architects . 

How to Write an Architecture Design Brief

The first step to writing a winning architectural brief is a meaningful discussion with your client to collect relevant information on their projects. Then comes the real job of converting all these insights into a personalized brief that ticks all their boxes. 

Studying their goals and budget will help you narrow down your design focus to a perfect solution for them. Present this solution in as extensive detail as possible—showing the effort you’ve put into creating this brief. 

Highlight the reasoning behind your ideas in every section and give them ample reasons to trust you with their space. Consider including previous work you’ve completed alongside client testimonials to highlight your stellar track record.

Once you’ve created an informed design brief, the final step is to proofread . Mistakes are easily made, and you want to make sure your design brief is perfect when it reaches the client. A final once-over is a must.

Creating an Architecture Design Brief is Simple with Bonsai 

Working as an architect comes with a unique set of challenges; don’t let design briefs be one of them. With Bonsai’s expertly created architect design brief templates, you can offload the tedious task of drafting briefs from scratch. 

Creating a design brief is simple with Bonsai. Just follow these steps:

  • Sign up to Bonsai for free
  • Pick the template that best fits your need
  • Customize it to create a bespoke brief for every project

Win more clients with Bonsai’s beautiful brief templates and save yourself the struggle of starting fresh every time. Find hundreds of templates for invoices, contracts, proposals , and more all under one roof, in just a few clicks. 

Architecture Design Brief FAQs

What should an architectural design brief include.

An architectural design brief typically includes:

Consider it the roadmap to creating your clients ideal build. 

What is the purpose of the design brief?

A design brief acts as a reference for both the client and the architect when developing a building. It elaborates on the desired results and describes all the considerations impacting the design, such as lifestyle, use, budget, and more.

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Best architectural design brief example

If you are a homebuilder , an architectural design brief is needed as it’s something that the architects will base on to build your house exactly like you want. But you might be confused at the first time they offer you. Don’t want to be in that case. Let’s check out the best architectural design brief example.

  • 1 What is a design brief architecture- First part in architectural design brief example.
  • 2.1 Information needed for domestic customers in an architectural design brief example.
  • 2.2 Information needed for commercial customers in an architectural design brief example.

What is a design brief architecture- First part in architectural design brief example.

An architectural design brief is not different from any other forms of design brief or even a brief. It is a description of a client’s needs,which provides the recipient with lists of instructions, requirements and directions to fulfill the author’s needs.



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A brief is a written document that can range in length from a single page to a multiple volume set of documents .

Today, the term “program” is frequently used in connection with, and as a synonym for, a “architectural brief.”

The term “program” is more commonly used in the United States, but “brief” is more commonly used overseas.

The reaction of an architect’s design to the building program is evaluated. to give a clear illustration, please check out our architectural design brief in this article.

Information needed in an architectural design brief example

An architectural design brief may be divided into two categories based on kinds of customers: An architectural design brief example for private customers and for commercial clients.

Private or domestic customers who might never worked with an architect before and has little or no knowledge of the design and construction process, often look for a home designed

Commercial customers who are more experienced have completely different priorities than private customers.

See more: quality 3D rendering service ,  modern tropical architecture

Information needed for domestic customers in an architectural design brief example.

As mentioned, private customers have little experience, so it is difficult for them to put together a design brief.

The professionals need to guide them to provide them with the information they need.

Below is the checklist that the professionals help customers to inform their design brief and their clients requirements.


Residential Design Brief Checklist:

The scale and necessity for briefing will differ from project to project.

First clients questions in architectural design brief example

  • Personal information: name, address, phone number
  • The full address of site
  • Lists of any other crucial parties in the design process

About clients in architectural design brief example

  • The description of the current house.
  • Ideas about designs and materials. Customers should provide images to show architects a style they like. Note some important design features that they like.
  • Customers’ architectural design style ( Contemporary, tropical, modern, minimalist,…etc)
  • Time requirements for the project
  • Some specific accessibility requirements( incase someone in client’s family or regular visitors are disabled ) Specific consideration such as using solar panels ,…etc
  • Investment of time and energy to maintain home.
  • Budget requirements

About the site in architectural design brief example

  • Reasons they choose this style
  • Views you like

About occupants and lifestyle in architectural design brief example

  • the quantity of people living there
  • Some special occupants like your pets
  • The description of occupants’s lifestyle and spaces requirements such as working from home, rooms for entertaining purposes or storage requirement like large wardrobe space ,…etc

For spaces in architectural design brief example

  • Indoor spaces requirements such as number of rooms, floors, spaces and their usage purposes, private areas or particular rooms for connecting and some room layout favorites.
  • Outdoor spaces requirements

Information needed for commercial customers in an architectural design brief example.

First client questions in architectural design brief example

  • Personal information: name, phone number, email address.
  • Full site address
  • Any additional key contacts in the project team’s contact information


Information needed for commercial customers in architectural design brief example

Client information in architectural design brief example

  • The reason of doing this project
  • The reason they choose this site
  • Team members of this project
  • Client’s specific wishes about design
  • Their attitude about architecture and design
  • Time constraints of the project
  • Specific drawing requirements : Is it understandable for non-experts?

Fees in architectural design brief example

  • What foundation is the charge calculation based on? Any deals or should the cost of the project be estimated based on the fee calculation?
  • Client budget

Basic Design Elements in architectural design brief example

  • You can reference the questions in the domestic customers part. surrounding requirements such as trees, landscaping, orientation and climate.
  • Any specific requirements such as adding new technologies, infrastructure requirements.

Occupants in architectural design brief example

  • The quantity of building users
  • specific accessibility requirements
  • Building users’ requirements
  • Indoor space requirements such as mechanical or electric requirements, connecting spaces requirements, the quantity of floors and rooms requirements
  • Outdoor space requirements such as specific external landscaping requirements

One thing you might not know:  when architects have done a design and before building it, they often do 3d rendering to visualize it. Check out define architectural design example  and how to rendering in autocad


You could also book a call for a convenient time.

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how to write a design brief for architecture

How to write an architectural brief

This simple guide – ‘how to write an architectural brief’ – is aimed at homeowners planning a house extension, renovation or a self-build house.

As an architect myself, I created this platform –  Design for Me  – to help homeowners find the best residential architect for their particular project. It’s free to use and we’re on hand to help if you have any questions along the way. You can post your job below, to create your brief in a quick and simple way – providing the essential information to attract, and start working with, your architect.

Create your brief on Design for Me

Once you  register your project , we’ll match it with hundreds of top architects or architectural technicians in your area (there are thousands of residential practices all over the UK on Design for Me) and you can see who is available and eager to work on your project straight away.

But before you delve in, here are some key pointers from us on how to write an architectural brief.

1. You are allowed to be clueless

The vast majority of private clients will only do one or two building/renovation projects in a lifetime. Residential architects are well aware of this, and won’t expect you to bring a professional, extensive brief to the table. In fact, a big part of the value of using an architect is to help you develop your brief and understand what is important to you. That said, it can be really helpful for you write out a list of things you know you DO (and perhaps DON’T) want before your first meeting.

2. Attract the best architects for your job

There are a lot of great architects out there but finding the best one for your project should be your number one priority at this very early stage of your project. Sometimes difficult to find a really good architect who will be eager and available to take on your project. So our advice is to be enthusiastic and talk about the merits of your job that might appeal to the right designer. What are your general design ambitions? For example:

  • Are you aiming to design something that is unique?
  • Would you like the design to be vibrant, colourful, loud?
  • Or minimalist, calm, soft?
  • Do you have ambitions for sustainable / eco-friendly design?
  • Consider how it could change your or your family’s everyday lives. Talk about the problem you have with your house now and how you would like to change it.
  • Do you have a particular interest in a material or construction technique?
  • Don’t be afraid to keep it personal or emotional. The most unappealing briefs can be the ones that are too factual, simply listing out the services they require or rooms to be renovated.

3. Be realistic with your budget

If you are unsure of your budget at this early stage, you are not alone! Rather than trying to guess what you think it will cost, be completely transparent with your architect about what your maximum budget is, so the brief and design can then be tailored around it.  This will help set this important boundary and expectation from an early stage. However, if you come up with a figure that is purposefully lower, and at the same time have a list of requirements that are clearly unrealistic, you might find it difficult to find a willing architect at all.

4. Include pictures

Including some ‘before’ pictures can be very helpful in attracting the right architects to your job to give them a good understanding of what they’ll be working with. They don’t need to be pretty! It’s part of an architect’s job to have vision after all. Including floorplans is also very helpful if you have them, and perhaps even one or two examples of finished designs that you love.

5. Examples of architectural briefs

Here are some great examples of briefs created by other clients on Design for Me. However, there is no winning formula here – your brief, and the architects it attracts will be unique to your project.

how to write a design brief for architecture

The briefs above were created by homeowners in a matter of minutes on Design for Me.

Create your brief on Design for Me here

What can I expect during the initial consultation with an architect?

We recommend that you meet the designer in person at the address of the project. They can give you their initial thoughts and advice. This should give you a better understanding of what you want but also what may be involved (such as a planning application). On Design for Me we recommend that you invite up to three architects for a consultation.

  • It’s a chance to see how you get on. It’s important that you and your designer see eye to eye. The better you understand and trust each other the more likely you are to feel satisfied at the end of it. Your project is unique and so are designers, so it’s important that they are the right fit.
  • They will explain how they work and​ charge for services.
  • If you like them, you can ask one (or all) of them for a quotation (also commonly called a ‘fee proposal’). If you would like to have a detailed design consultation at your next meeting, you can ask them to provide a quote for this, in addition to their fees for full services.
  • For the designers, it is an opportunity to meet you and understand your needs.
  • We do not recommend that you pay any fees for design services before you meet and feel confident that they would be suitable. At the very least you should have a detailed conversation on the phone.

Is the initial meeting with an architect free of charge?

In most cases yes. However you should not expect any free design work as part of the meeting. Architects will decide to charge a fee in certain cases (e.g. if they have to travel a long way), but they should let you know beforehand.

What is ‘Design for Me’?

Design for Me  is a free platform to help you  quickly find the right design professional  for your home project. As a residential architect myself, I started  Design for Me   after finding that talented and innovative small firms and individuals, who are perfectly placed to design new homes, extensions and/or renovations, can often get buried under the online profiles of large commercial companies.

Before  Design for Me , the right architect was very difficult to find!

Once you  register your project , we’ll match it with 100s of top architects or architectural technicians, and you can see who may be available and eager to work on your project straight away.

Find out more

Emily   Design for Me


Find your perfect design pro within minutes…

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Five Tips to Write the Perfect Brief for Your Architect

Monday, June 20, 2016

how to write a design brief for architecture

Sketch Over Floor Plans

If you want to work on an existing build, the first thing both you and your architect need before you can make even the most rough of outlines is information on the current property. Most of this can be gathered from estate agent particulars, including floor plans and internal and external photographs.

From these, you can simply draw over the current plans in a red pen to rough out what works you want done, such as removing walls, adding extensions, expanding up or down. More advanced clients can use software such as Google’s free SketchUp program to draft 3D models that give an even more detailed impression of your plans.

The exterior photos are also important to understand the house in its context. You might sketch out a design that looks perfect on paper, but if it doesn’t fit in on the street then it’s going to be a struggle to get planning approval. That’s why you should also hunt down other recent builds in the area to see what has already been approved and get a sense of what you can get away with.

Tell Us About Your Life

A perfect home is a natural extension of your life, supporting and enhancing your ability to do what you love in a space that comforts and inspires you. To design a home that fits perfectly around you, your architect needs to understand how you live and how that might change.

Is your primary living space focused on relaxation or entertainment? How important is privacy to you? Do you enjoy spending time in the garden? Will there be young children charging around? Do you work from home? Will any of the above change in the coming years?

If we don’t know the answer to these questions and many more, we could design a home that ticks all the boxes but simply doesn’t feel right once you’re living in it.

Include as Many Pictures as You Can Find

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever for people to compile vast libraries of images that tell us about your taste better than words ever could. Pinterest, Houzz or even a simple Google image search can provide hundreds or thousands of jolts of inspiration from which you can pick and choose to create a style all of your own.

We can never have too many references images, right down to the most mundane details. You might not think you would have a strong opinion on skirting boards or tap fittings, but it’s not unusual for clients to easily decide on the entire exterior appearance of a house then agonise over whether a wall socket should be discrete or decorative.

You never know what will be important to you, so work from the bottom up and find images that describe your taste both macro and micro.

Be Clear on Budget, Quality Level and Time

We could spend countless meetings sketching and daydreaming infinite beautiful homes, but ultimately the biggest factors in how your project will turn out are your budget, the quality level you want to achieve and the amount of time you’re willing to spend.

Each one of these factors tends to come at the expense of another, and figuring out your perfect balance is essential to starting the project on the right foot and ultimately how happy you will be with the end result.

The way I get clients to think about it is “cash from the bank”, meaning, how much money will you have spent on the project by the time it is complete? I phrase it this way because a lot of people in this industry talk of costs without including things like VAT, planning costs, professional fees and many other costs big and small that add a significant sum to the end amount – giving clients a false impression of what is achievable in their budget.

Let Yourself Get Carried Away

With all that said, remember that the briefing process should be fun. While later phases of the project will come with some reality checks, let yourself get carried away at this stage and explore everything that your mind conjures when you imagine your dream home.

The best briefing documents we receive are stuffed with notes, plans, photos, inspirations, goals and more. Creating a home is hard work but also one of the most exciting experiences you can have in your life, so don’t hold back.

If you have plans for a dream home that you’re itching to put to paper you should book time with me and we can talk through the next steps.

John Dyer-Grimes

What Is An Architecture Project Brief Or Design Brief

how to write a design brief for architecture

What Is An Architecture Brief?

You are going to be given some form of an architectural project or design brief for all of your design projects. You might even receive a brief for any other project that includes a level of design in your construction, communication and possibly even history and theory classes.

But what is a project brief, why is it so important, and what exactly should you do with it?

An architectural brief is a document prepared for a design project developed by a person or team in consultation with the client.

An architectural brief has two parts:

  • Project Brief | Scope of Services – The requirements to deliver the project, including the process and activities required by the entire project team to deliver the final, physical outcome.
  • Design Brief | Scope of Works – The parameters of the physical project and final outcome of a design or building project. The design brief normally sits within the overall project brief.

A project or design brief can be as simple as a one-page document, to a document hundreds of pages long, depending on the complexity of the project.

A project or design brief can be created in two ways.

  • Pre-prepared – The design brief is completed by the client or another consultant to define the detailed needs of the project. This is then given to an architect or designer as part of a tender process to respond to with a fee proposal for completing the project.
  • Back-brief – The client provides a small amount of information to the architect or designer who will then develop the brief in much greater detail. They are usually paid for this work until the overall project and design brief is agreed and the designer’s scope of services can then be determined.

At university, you may be given a very detailed architecture brief or asked to develop parts of it in more detail yourself.

Let’s look at each of the project and design briefs in more detail.

Project Brief | Scope Of Services

The project brief includes the extent of work and activities expected to complete by the designers and consultants as the process to complete the project. This will be different in practice compared to university, but it is good to see a parallel between the two. Your university projects are acting as mini-projects and do reflect reality to an extent.

  • Client or Sponsor – Who will pay for the project and make final decisions.
  • In practice, this will usually be determined by the client or negotiated with the lead architect or designer. The size and complexity of the project will determine the time required for design, documentation and construction.
  • At university, this will usually be a fixed amount of time within the semester. It is important to note the overall time allocated for each project.
  • In practice, this will include key deadlines such as town planning submission, tender process, engagement of a contractor, construction and completion of the project. This could also include regularly scheduled meetings with clients, consultants or contractors at various stages of the project.
  • At university, this is more likely to be weekly and submissions and interim for feedback and reviews, and final presentations. At university, it is a good idea to treat your tutor or teacher as a client. Consider what their expectations are in terms of you, as a professional designer or architect, completing work each week for them to review. How would a client react if you did no work between their meetings?
  • In practice, the overall project cost will be determined by the client or project manager. The design and consultant fees will usually be a percentage of this. The final consultant fees will be based on the size of the project and the estimated hours required to complete the work.
  • At university, you will most likely not have a project budget. You also won’t be paid for your work. But you will usually be given an indication of the expected hours required to complete the project. This is similar to how you would manage a real project. It is a good idea to break this up over the number of weeks for completion, so you know how many hours and the extent of work is expected to be completed each week. And, be prepared that the work may take longer than suggested.
  • In practice, this may include all the document packages for concept and presentations, Town Planning, Tender or Construction, as well as meeting minutes or interim reports.
  • At university, this will include the final submission and maybe an interim submission, as well as weekly work to be presented for feedback and review, and analyses and process work.

Design Brief | Scope of Works

The scope of works is the parameters of the physical project and final building outcome. This includes:

  • Location, Site and Existing Conditions – Where the project will be located, the physical site boundaries and any existing information about the conditions and structures on the site.
  • Typology – The type of building or structure that is to be designed and constructed, such as a school, house, hospital, shop or office building. There may be agreed precedents or examples of similar buildings, aesthetics, or best practices for this type of building that will be used as a reference.
  • Users – Who will be using the final project or outcome.
  • Building/ Structure Scope – This is a description of the difference between the existing conditions and the final building. It includes the estimated overall size of the final structure and any associated works. This will define if the project is a new build, a refurbishment or renovation or if there is any demolition work on the site that needs to occur before construction. It will describe the estimated overall area, number of above-ground and basement levels and give a high-level summary of the overall project.
  • Architectural Programme – A detailed breakdown of the spaces within the project, based on client requirements, user activities and needs, and functional spaces required for the building to operate.
  • Materials – There may be particular materials or technologies that need to be considered for the building typology or location.
  • Givens/ Assumptions/ Opportunities/ Constraints – This includes everything that is known about the project as well as the unknown and things that need to be considered and questioned further.
  • Aspirations, Goals and Visions – The more intangible desires for the project. This includes what the client or end-users will want to experience and obtain from the final project.

…To learn more, review the article titled “ Top 9 Architecture Design Factors For ALL Architecture Projects ”…

How To Read A Project Brief

Your project or design brief is the best guide for developing your project. At university, the rubric or assessment criteria and the brief will together tell you what you are being assessed on and how much emphasis is given to different aspects of the project process, design, development, presentation and skill.

The brief and rubric are not documents to be skimmed over and never looked at again. These are instead, documents to be printed out, analysed, re-read and referred to regularly.

In both practice and at university, it is your job as a designer to make sure every part of the project brief is addressed and the requirement adequately met.

The best way to use a brief is to print it out. Alternatively, you can use a digital copy, but a hard copy is better to mark up.

Take a highlighter or a red pen and start to work through the document, highlighting each thing that is expected or required to be completed. You could use one colour for the scope of works or the design requirements and another colour for the scope of service, or the actual work and process that is expected of you.

In particular, you are looking for numbers, quantities, dimensions and amounts as well as particular phrases that describe a specific outcome or physical requirements. Identify the unknown, ask questions and refer to this document regularly to make sure your design is adhering to the requirements.

Your architecture project and design brief become a benchmark for measuring the success of your project. Learn how to use it well.

Liz at ArchiMash

PS…If you have any questions or thoughts about project or design briefs, or design in general, let me know in the comments or at archimash.com/askliz .


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