Conceptual, main and detailed design – what are they and what are the differences between them?
Each more substantial building endeavor, whether the building permit is required or not, should be conceptualized. I.e. there should be a project prepared.
In this post we will focus on projects for buildings. When we say ‘buildings’, what we mean are family houses, multi–apartment buildings, office buildings and multi-purpose buildings.
The Conceptual Design
The Conceptual Design is generally the first step in design and the basis for any further more detailed development of the project. The conceptual design gives you an idea what could be the size of the future building, its location, design and orientation on the plot of land. Also, it defines the size and the orientation of the apartments and the layout of rooms within the building.
The conceptual design does not lead towards the final permit, nor it serves as the basis for construction, but it provides an excellent base to be further developed.
At this stage the expertise of the architect comes to light. This is also the stage which reveals the value of the future house.
The conceptual design should contain several variations of the future building, and the best one of them should be further developed into further stages.
*The attached gallery represents one plot of land (outlined in red) and five different variations of conceptual design for a vacation rental property.
The Main Project
The main project logically follows the conceptual one. The main project is mandatory, regardless of whether you are planning to build a simple building or you are trying to obtain the building permit. That is the reason why it is called the “main” project.
Alongside architects, there are other professions that contribute to the main project: structural engineers, mechanical engineers, an electrical engineer.
The aims of such projects are to fulfill all current construction standards and requirements.
The main project is an elaboration of the conceptual project, and it serves as the basis for the construction works including all the installations, building materials, coating, insulation, etc.
Building Permit is issued upon submission of the main project and upon completion of the works.
Buildings constructed in accordance with the main project can receive the Usage Permit.
Detailed Design is neither mandatory nor required, but we could say that it goes into the “nice-to-have” category. Thus, the detailed design will come to the best use in larger and more complex buildings, as well as in buildings being built on complex terrains, on several levels.
Simply said, it can serve as an excellent handbook for contractors and craftsmen working on the project, in order to ease the execution of the project, prevent improvisations and curb the creativity of the craftsmen once the works have started.