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We aim to make the entire Architectural Process collaborative, approachable and stress-free.

Whether you are building a brand new home, or are contemplating renovating an existing one, our job is to listen to your needs and minimise overwhelm.

We leverage our technical expertise and creative insight while keeping you well-informed right from the first meeting through to final project delivery.

We understand that quite often the Architectural Process can feel daunting and unnecessarily expensive, which is why we emphasise our Creative Ideas Consult™ the first step. This allows us to explore ideas and manage expectations in a welcoming environment.

If after our Creative Ideas Consult™ you are interested in moving forward, we then proceed with a tailored proposal and budget outline.

Once the details of the proposal and budget are agreed upon, we move through the 4 Stages of the Architectural Process, beginning with Stage One: Schematic Design.

Stage One

Schematic Design.

During this stage, we work collaboratively with you to continue developing the overall bespoke design plans for your home, listening to your wants and needs.

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During this stage we address design questions such as:

  • “Do we extend downstairs?”
  • “Do we build to the rear?”
  • “Where do we enter the site and where should we situate our living areas?”

We also consider other aspects such as natural light, breeze and movement, and the overall unity and flow of the space with furniture and other considerations. We put pen to paper to take your vision and combine it with our technical expertise to craft an overall plan that will create the desired look and feel, while also working within budget.

Acting with insight, it is not uncommon at this stage to reduce the budget due to improved design. For example, efficient planning could reduce the size of the project which reduces the overall building areas and eliminates unnecessary building costs.

Stage Two

Design Development.

During the Design Development phase we further develop the design plans, getting granular in our approach to detail.

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This includes reviewing the construction options available, choosing materials and design features, looking at flooring, walls, ceilings, and so on to achieve the right aesthetic and function while also staying within budget.

During this stage we address questions such as:

  • Do we use timber or concrete flooring?
  • What specific areas do we tile?
  • What will the ceilings look like?

By the end of this stage, you will have a clearly laid out design plan that addresses both the functional needs of your home and the aesthetic look and feel in detail.

Town Planning Requirements

It is normally during the Design Development Stage that we also address Town Planning Requirements. This includes research and attainment of the necessary council permits to ensure the design plans for your home are legal and we can move forward to stage three of the Architectural Process without issue. This is especially necessary when working with Traditional or Heritage style homes that pre-date 1946.

Stage Three

Contract Documentation.

At this stage we have now finalised the design plans, and the major portion of our work begins.

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During this stage, we create working drawings to ensure builders have all the necessary instructions they need to carry out the design plans, obtain building approval permits, create specification documents, and engage in tendering.

Working drawings

These are technical drawings which illustrate such things as building dimensions, setbacks, materials, heights, and window and door locations. These drawings must be extremely detailed to provide builders with confidence on how to construct the project in line with good building practices and council regulations. The working drawings also provide subcontractors such as cabinetmakers or tilers with the details they need to carry out their jobs correctly. Our job is to ensure all builders and tradespersons are extremely clear on the scope of work and any potential guesswork is eliminated.

Building Approvals

The local building certifier will require various drawings and details which are checked against building regulations prior to issuing building approval. We liaise with the building certifiers to provide any additional information they require. We are familiar with the procedures and can usually expedite the granting of approval. The building certifier carries out inspections at different times throughout the job to make sure regulations are consistently being followed.


As part of contract documentation we prepare a “Specification”. Here we set out standards of workmanship and materials required in each trade. A detailed schedule of such things as windows and door locks, interior finishes, bathroom fittings and so on is listed. Some of the sections covered in our typical specifications are our ‘schedules’, ‘groundworks’, ‘termite control system’, ‘concrete’ and ‘timber work’ sections.


At this stage we obtain prices from various builders (tenderers) and negotiate with tenderers on various aspects of the project. Each builder may have different suggestions for building alternatives or preferred construction techniques and builders will often need guidance through the pricing stage so they fully understand the task at hand. Sometimes we need to negotiate prices with the tenderers which may involve minor changes to the drawings or specifications prior to the signing of the contract. The local Authority will require a signed contract prior to the release of the approval. The tendering process finishes with the selection of a builder and a signed contract nominating the building cost.

As your architect, we work very closely with you, council, and potential builders to ensure we make the best choice, and everything goes to plan. We are your eyes, ears and voice, speaking on your behalf to ensure all the technical elements of the project go to plan according to budget and timeline.

Stage Four

Contract Administration.

Continuing on from Stage Three, Contract Administration begins once the contract with the builders has been signed. During this stage we meet regularly with you and the builder, assisting wherever we are needed including interpretation of construction plans.

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We also assist the builder with any issues on site should they arise. There are occasions where the detailing may require changing, for example if heavy rock excavation is encountered.

We also handle monthly progress claims from the builder, monitor variations, extensions of time as a result of wet weather or extra work, and help coordinate some of the special subcontractors required, such as air conditioning, window and door joinery, cabinetwork, tiling, etc.

 We continue to monitor the building work and co-ordinate all parties involved right through until project completion.

The project is not completed until your vision has come to life down to the last detail, and you are all settled in your brand-new home. The result is a home that becomes an extension of who you are and who you want to be, offering the very best in timeless, functional living.

Ready to experience the Ivan Gastaldon difference?

Book A Creative Ideas Consult™ Today.