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What is Architectural Design?

Architectural design is a discipline that focuses on covering and meeting the needs and demands, to create living spaces, using certain tools and especially, creativity. Therefore, the aim is to combine the technological and the aesthetic, despite the general belief that architecture is only a technological task.

In the same way, it mixes design, understood as the creative process, and architecture, which is based on the creation and presentation of solutions at a technical level. By mixing both disciplines, architectural design seeks the values and formal qualities of the works, through spatial experiences. In general, we associate it with drawings, sketches or outlines of a project, and it is one of its fundamental basis. In this aspect of architectural design, there are also other factors involved, that are related to geometry, space or aesthetics, among others. After all, architecture, and therefore architectural design, is made up of many elements and processes or phases.

When designing, an architect must take into account that he or she should carry out an analysis, to design and build according to the needs and resources, always keeping in mind the aesthetics and technical characteristics, as well as the basic rules of construction. That is why the process, capable of identifying all these variables must consider that it is necessary to reflect the needs, both artistically and technically on the paper (or software). In this case, the lines are the main element of the architectural design, which define several aspects such as the shape, dimension and positioning of the different spaces integrating the project.

Architectural design is a concept that focuses on components or elements of a structure. An architect is generally the one in charge of the architectural design. They work with space and elements to create a coherent and functional structure.

What Is Involved In The Design Process?

There are several steps involved in the design process for an architectural project. Each step is very important to the overall look, feel, and safety of the project.

The steps are as follows:

Concept Design

The first step of the design phase is the schematic design. The schematic design is where the architect gathers information on the needs, style, and wants for the project and from there the he will create two to three design options for the client to review.

Design Development

In the design development, the architect will take the schematic designs and develop them to an approved design concept. Any changes the client wants to make to the design should be communicated to the architect during this phase.

Council Submission Process

In this stage we prepare your plans submission to council until final approval.

eThekweni (KZN Region) consists of 2 council submissions:

  1. LUMS – Land use management department 
  2. Development Planning
Construction Documents

Construction documents are given to a contractor for the construction of your project. An architect will put together drawings with a lot of detail on them for the contractors to follow when building.

What Are Construction Documents?

Construction documents are drawings and specifications provided by an architect or engineer that define the construction requirements for the project.  They also describe the quantities and quality of all the materials that would be used for construction and the roles of the construction team members. Construction documents are used to bid the project to contractors.

What Are Construction Documents Used For?

Construction documents are like an instruction manual for the contractor. They assist the general contractor in controlling the job and help the sub-contractors know every detail of their jobs. These documents are also used to build the project according to the city and government’s regulations, and the style and needs of the client. Construction documents are used to bid the job with contractors after the documents have been reviewed and approved. They also become part of the legal construction contract. So, it is very important to produce complete/accurate documents.

Construction documents ensure that your project is built according to every detail and your local city’s building codes. They help your project run smoothly and quickly!

What Is Included In Construction Documents?

Included in a set of complete construction documents are:

  • Set of complete construction documents
  • Drawings
  • “Spec” or Specifications book (this book covers products, materials & methods used in constructing the project)

Bidding is when the architect or client seeks a contractor for their project. They bid the job to the contractor by giving them bid documents which display details of the project. These documents include construction documents and technical specifications.


Construction begins once you’ve found a contractor you like, and you’ve settled on a design concept that fits your needs. Your architect will be in contact with your contractor throughout the duration of the construction phase to ensure that your project is being built according to the plans.

Read more about CGR’s design stages HERE.

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