Unit Overview
P1 - Factors that influence the Design Process
P2 - Communication
P2 - Design Team
P3 - Production Team
P4 - Legal Implications
P5 - Written Communication
P6 - Construction Methods
P7 - Specifications
P8 - Drawings
M2 - Communicating Design Changes
M3 - Terminology
D1 - Evaluate RIBA
D2 - Appraise Instructions

Factors That Influence The Design Process


Every project will have a budget whether it's a small loft extension or a site of national importance such as the Olympic Stadium, the money for materials and labour has to come from somewhere and when it runs out the project will run into difficulties and work may cease until new funds are raised.


This makes it important that accurate estimates are put in place for every project, the architect will produce a design and should be able to give a rough estimate of price based on the square metre of the site and experience of previous builds.


As the designs get more detailed a Quantity Surveyor will get more accurate estimates of the final project.


The client should keep some money back as a contingency fund for any unforeseen circumstances as there are many unknown factors in building project, such as delays caused by weather, material and labour shortages.




Most clients and construction professionals will have some form of social awareness or policy, this can be things such as how their work force is treated or making sure materials are not produced using overseas slave or child labour.


Larger projects will often be required to enter into a section 106 agreement with the local council as part of the planning consent, this can vary from the planting of trees to several millions pounds worth of investment from back into the local community from the client.


On larger projects a section 106 may require a client to recruit from the local or young workers, they may need to provide affordable housing, develop an area of public land or provide apprenticeships.


Time Scale

Every project will have a time scale, this may be based on other factors and essential that it is hot such as the Olympic stadium being built in time for the olympic games, or the time scale may be based around what the client wants.


The Architect and the principle contractor should provide the client with a realistic timescale for the project delivery. There will be key milestones that will normally release a payment to the contractors, this might be the completion of a floor in a high rise development of apartments or a building being made weather proof.


The architect may issue interim certificates to approve that work has been completed.


Client needs

The design must fulfil the needs of the client, for example a hospital must have an interior finish that can be kept sterile and clean, a shopping centre must provide a convenient way for goods to be delivered.


The needs of the client will vary and will not always be obvious at the start of a project, many clients get overly concerned about the looks of a building and don't consider the functionality of the project.


In some cases an architect or a designer may get carried away with their own ideas and not fully appreciate the needs of the client.



Every project will have some form of legal contract, this can in some situations be changed during the course of a project with a variation to the contract. The propose of having a contract is to make sure all parties including the client know what they are getting for their money, or what they are expected to provide for a their fee.


Contracts will generally include timescale and stage payments, details of materials (specification) this will often be included within the drawings


Environmental constraints

A project can be constrained by various environmental constraints, these can be how the materials are produced, how the site works are carried out and how the site functions after use.


Some of the constraints may include

Materials and machinery used during construction are chosen due to their reduced impact on the environment.


The project allows for the recycling of waste once it is built.


Heating and power are supported by renewable sources and the site is insulated to a standard that sufficiently reduces energy loss.


Water wastage is minimised by the type of plumbing system that is installed.



Most projects need planning permission before they can start, this normally takes 8 weeks to approve and requires that drawings have been produced. The Local Planning Authority is primarily concerned with the way a building looks and that it will either fit in or enhance an area.


The planning authority has the power to say what the purpose of function of a building might be, for example a domestic properties generally need permission to be changed into commercial properties.


The planning authority might control the way on which traffic can access the site during and after construction in the case a commercial site, for example to avoid small villages or built up areas that may not be suitable to increased or heavy traffic.


The LPA can also use a piece of legislation called a section 106, this means that in the client may need to employ a certain amount of young or local employees, they may need to take on apprentices or build a certain amount of affordable housing.


Building Regulations

Every building must comply with building regulations, these are primarily in place to ensure the building is safe for use once it is built and that it will not deteriorate and become unsafe over time.


Building regulations cover every aspect of the building, from the foundations to material used for a roof, the building inspector will need to visit the site at various stages to check that the contractor has complied with the regulations, these are normally things that cannot be seen at a later date, such as the base of a foundation trench.


Building regulations normally take 8 weeks to get approved, building can start without the regs being approved, but Building Control have the power to stop a project if the regulations are not being followed.


CDM Regulations

The CDM regulations will require the principal contractor to work in a certain way, for example making sure method statements are in place before commencing works and coordinating the various tasks that take place on a construction site.


The principal contractor will have to appoint a CDM coordinator and carry out things like tool box talks, whilst all these things make a site safe and more efficient, the cost and time need to be taken into account. The cost of working safely is far outweighed by loss of money and time that a project could incur if not run safely.


Health and Safety at Work Act

The HASAWA will require that the site is made safe and fenced off before any work can commence and that facilities such as toilets and a staff room are available to staff. PPE and proper access equipment will need to be in place, especially when working at height.