In 1924 the well-known Swiss-French architect, Le Corbusier, wrote that a design project should commence with the identification of the typology and the selection of the form of a building and its elements. Economy and efficiency are the first areas of concern. He concluded: “And architecture? We can always achieve that when the problem is clear.”


I adhere to this approach. A good design evolves from a thorough and systematic analysis of all the relevant parameters and constraints.


  • Stage 1 - appraisal and definition:

    • Appraise the client's outline brief, with particular regard to site information, planning and statutory requirements.

    • Advise the client on the need for the appointment of consultants and methods of contracting.

    • In consultation with the client, adjust this evaluation to suit his/her needs if required; once approved, this is referred to as "the brief". This evaluation lays the foundation for the eventual success of the project; it obviates misunderstandings about basic principles.

  • Stage 2 - design concept:

    • Prepare a schematic design showing space provisions and planning relationships, with an indication of materials to be used and stylistic considerations.

    • Advise the client on the feasibility of the conceptual design, the estimated cost, time schedule and statutory constraints.

    • Drawings at this stage are essentially schematic and simple as they will probably be subject to revision and could therefore have short lives. Conceptual decisions taken at this stage form the basis for the design.

  • Stage 3 - design development:

    • Supported by any consultants appointed, I would review and develop the approved concept into a final design, in sufficient detail to illustrate appearance, materials, structure, finishes, fittings and equipment. This is the "pretty picture" stage, but the finalised developed design is presented in a preliminary technical drawing format.

  • Stage 4 - technical documentation and approvals:

    • Translate the developed design into working drawings, specifications and any other documents necessary for statutory approval, tendering and the execution of the project. Correlate the work of any consultants in the preparation of their documentation.

    • Alterations to the developed design are implemented, but fundamental changes to technical documentation may cause the whole of stage 3 to be repeated, with obvious cost and time implications to the client.

    • Technical documentation will constitute general layout drawings (site and floor plans, sections, elevations and drainage installation diagrams), sufficient for statutory approval, tendering and the construction of the finished shell, complete with drainage, storm water management and paving. Window and door schedules and electrical layout will be included.

  • Stage 5 - contract administration and approvals:

    • Call for tenders and/or negotiate the building contract as required. Advise the client regarding the award of the building contract.

    • Administer the building contract, inspect the works, and scrutinise shop drawings if applicable.

    • The form, frequency and duration of meetings will vary not only according to the nature and stage of construction, but will also be in line with the fees for this stage which have been agreed to.

    • All instructions to the contractor, including those from other consultants, must be issued via the architect, and only instructions recorded in writing by the latter are deemed contractually binding.

    • The preparation of as-built drawings, incorporating changes to the technical documentation requested by the client, and resulting in additional work, will be subject to additional fees at a mutually agreed hourly rate.
      (Fees to be negotiated if this service is required)

Geral Steyn Architect