How to Approach Architectural Design

2 Sep, 2020 |

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How to approach architectural design is one of the key questions on every property developer’s mind at the early stage of a project.

Investing in property is an exciting, yet challenging journey. Mainly because there are many unpredictable variables that one has to pay attention to. Even seasoned property developers uncover different types of challenges with every new build.
One of the most rewarding parts of every property project is working with an architect to get the architectural design ready for consent and then development.

This article will help you to
• understand how to approach architectural design; regardless of your prior experience,
• what qualities to look for when you are choosing an architect to work with,
• the types of projects architectural designers get involved in.

You will discover critical success factors that can set up your property project to be more viable, and in turn, reduce unnecessary costs and unexpected stress.

Is it possible to design with building compliance in mind?
A beautiful architectural design that fails a building compliance report is every property developer’s nightmare.

It creates unnecessary stress, throws off the budget, messes with the construction timeline and has the potential to even ruin a project completely.

One of the immediate implications is that the issues have to be fixed, a new design created, compliance report recommissioned, and all of this results in extra investment required at an early stage in the process.

This disruption could have a lasting effect downstream in the project, along with it costing a lot more money.

If you think that kind of a property developer’s nightmare hardly ever happens, think again.

Remember the horror stories you’ve heard over the years? They’re just the tip of the iceberg because no one wants to relive or share their failures.

While there are different ways to manage this situation, here at THE DESIGNFIRE our team has found a robust solution that works well every time.

We’ve refined our approach since 2010, servicing the greater Auckland area, previously trading as the CASA Consulting group.

There is no big secret to what we do. At THE DESIGNFIRE we create a beautiful architectural design that is compliant with the building code from the moment we start drafting.

THE DESIGNFIRE is a one-stop-shop, offering commercial and residential architectural services coupled with specialist expertise in fire and building compliance engineering capabilities.

Yes, we have in-house expertise in fire and building compliance which allows us to monitor the design process with current building code regulations in mind.

THE DESIGNFIRE developed a layered approach towards our designs based on three powerful values: functional – attractive – safe.

Would you rather work with a solely design focused architectural firm or with a team of architects that has in-house capability to ensure building code compliance?
We believe when these two aspects are combined it creates a greater value for you at every step of the design process.
It does not matter if you are a seasoned property developer and have your own fair share of bad stories, or if you are only starting to explore your first property project.
It does not matter if you operate in commercial or residential property development, because we cover everything you need.

Commercial Architecture Bespoke Design
Every commercial architectural design we do is always a bespoke work.

We enjoy creating such bespoke work that no two projects are exactly the same. There are many factors affecting commercial project’s and we take all of them into account.

• Location.
• Local climate, exposure to wind, rain, even proximity to the ocean makes a difference.
• Type of commercial use.
• Technology, including smart automation.
• Culture and in some cases religion or beliefs of the client can influence the design
• Personal creativity and style

Our motivation is to deliver functional, attractive, safe and sound solutions. We take all requirements on board in order to ensure this is delivered for your project.
In case you are wondering how that is possible, let me share a story of an interesting project designing a factory showroom.

“THE DESIGNFIRE team of various expertise helped us to complete our Complex commercial building, involving multi-tenancy occupancy.
THE DESIGNFIRE team came up with a resolution that was cost-effective and workable.
Without THE DESIGNFIRE we would have a difficult time completing it.”
—Paul Singh, Eurocon

Learn more

How to Approach Architectural Design for a Commercial Retail and Warehouse Development

Over 90% of New Zealand businesses are small to medium enterprises.
Retail or warehouse development is one of the most common projects and this is where THE DESIGNFIRE’s three-layered approach along with their unique skillset combining design and fire/building compliance expertise shines, because:

• Retail spaces are visited by many people every day which means that they need architecture that is functional, robust and practical. Notice, that while everyone wants their retail space to be attractive and beautiful, functionality is the key requirement. It’s a real balancing act to design a modern retail space, that is equally beautiful as it is functional.
That is exactly why architectural design bundled with fire and building compliance expertise can deliver so well.
• Warehouse spaces holds millions of dollars’ worth of stock, so meticulous attention to fire requirements from the first design draft ensures the best overall solution. While the warehouse has less pressure to deliver outstanding design, we all know people work better in a modern, spacious, and well-crafted environment. That is why a modern warehouse can be architecturally designed as well.
• Commercial projects are often on a tight budget, which is why providing a design, that is fully compliant, saves time, money and hassle for the property developer every step of the way seems like a no-brainer.

Follow this link to get a free feasibility report which can give you an idea about ballpark estimate for what you have in mind

When you own a commercial lot or building, you will likely need the services of an architectural firm to manage alterations or a new property development.
THE DESIGNFIRE team has earnt a reputation for our compliant creative design solutions. What makes our work a step above other architectural practices is our three-layered approach to design, which is guided by the principals of engineering, as much as aesthetics.
Our goal is the same for every project: to deliver functional, attractive, safe and sound design.
Let me share a story about the Wang Food Market project through the eyes of Statesman Projects who were the main contractor when we did the designed for Wang Trading:

“Working alongside THE DESIGNFIRE was easy – it couldn’t have been better. They handled the council work, provided fast responses to minor variations and the team on site found the plans easy to read.
We did have challenges, with the change of specifications for a couple of products. Throughout the job we had to hold up, waiting for the consents for the minor changes. THE DESIGNFIRE handled all of this work, and we found it simple. THE DESIGNFIRE handled the architectural and the passive fire work which made it easy for us. We had a few challenges on-site with passive fire, but due to the fact that we’re dealing with one team, it was resolved quickly and efficiently. We definitely would recommend THE DESIGNFIRE. We look forward to working with them again in the future. They are easy to work with, and we really enjoyed working with them.
—Harland Murray, Statesman Projects

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How to Approach Architectural Design for a Multi-Unit Residential and Additional Dwellings Projects

Did you know that in New Zealand in 2019, 40% of all homes consented were multi-unit residential projects?
With approximately 13160 multi-unit consents that came through, nearly 8,000 of them were in the Auckland region alone*.


At THE DESIGNFIRE, most of the time we work with two types of multi-unit projects:
• 2-4 units usually built by a resident on spare land on their section for sale or rent as part of thoughtful retirement planning
• 4 – 100 units built mostly by seasoned property developers.
With the continuous rise of multi-unit resident projects across the country, we involve our entire team of designers, architects and engineers to create a highly competent team depending on the size of the project.
We research the latest developments and changes in residential building design locally, and internationally in order to provide a strong point of difference in every build – including yours.
The team at THE DESIGNFIRE understands that the increasing number of multi-unit residential spaces means there is more competition on the market and there is ever-growing pressure to deliver on time and on budget.

Follow this link to get a free feasibility report which can give you an idea about bull pack estimate for what you have in mind

THE DESIGNFIRE value proposition functional – attractive – safe serves as a foundation for our continued success with multiple concurrent projects on the go.

Our goal is to provide you with a unique, aesthetically pleasing design that matches your requirements while fully complying with council codes and regulations.

Our practical, no-nonsense approach means that we pay attention, and design every element with functionality and visual appeal in mind. On top of that, adherence to building compliance is kept on the forefront of our mind during the course of the whole project.

After all, building compliance is the way to protect people who will spend a large part of their lives in buildings we design for. We understand that the quality of our solutions can make their lives enjoyable and more fulfilling. This thought ignites our passion for every project we get involved with.

Our extensive portfolio of multi-unit residential solutions includes a variety of apartments and townhouse developments.

We have helped countless Auckland residents to create their dream homes, set themselves up with investment properties, and create a retirement income for themselves.

We have the knowledge and experience you can trust to get your residential build completed hassle-free, on time and to budget.

Here is what one of Auckland residents have to say:

“THE DESIGNFIRE team & Louie balanced the architectural vision and the project realities professionally. At each turn of the construction process, he always had an informed answer to our client’s technical questions, which allows the project to drive forward without delay. Whilst awaiting for obtaining the final building consent, we had a bit of issue with the engineering firm and THE DESIGNFIRE wisely and professionally resolved the issue for our client. THE DESIGNFIRE has the depth of knowledge and experience to lead a project from pre-construction planning through to completion.”
—Jay Park, Park Legal

And here is a feedback from one of our commercial projects that were completed in Oamaru:

“We employed THE DESIGNFIRE as the lead consultant to get the Building Consent on our two stories 40 units Motel development in Oamaru. THE DESIGNFIRE was led by Louie Kang.
In their capacity as the lead consultants, THE DESIGNFIRE was required to coordinate with several specialist consultants including Geotechnical Engineers, Structural Engineers, Civil Works designers and planners to compile all necessary documentation to submit the Building Consent application to Waitaki District Council, for the proposed development.
In Oamaru, in the recent past, there has been no such project of this magnitude had been proposed to the council. Hence it was quite new to the staff at the consenting authorities to deal in several specialist areas. This, in return, became an extremely challenging task for THE DESIGNFIRE to make timely technical decisions & professional judgements when dealing with the Consenting Authorities.
THE DESIGNFIRE has shown the highest degree of professionalism, particularly Louie Kang in dealing with various parties to get the Building Consent within budget and time. We are very satisfied with THE DESIGNFIRE’s performance.”
—Hari De Alwis, Goodland Development Limited

Read many more here

How to Approach Architectural Design for a New Home

What about a brand-new home?!
We have to say, everyone in THE DESIGNFIRE team is excited to work with a new home build.
It’s such a pleasure and a privilege to understand people and their deepest desires about their dream home. Then make it actually happen.
You may have seen in TV programs how exceptionally thrilled people are when they can see their ideas and aspirations get shaped into realities of their future home.
We are on the receiving end of this thrill almost every day. It’s refreshing, exciting and humbling.

Bespoke Design for Builders & Homeowners

You are unique and your home should be too.
Often people get so enthusiastic about functionality or design itself that they forget about the balance. When design and functionality meet, there is a point of safety. This is where the building codes come into play. Some design elements may look amazing and work well for your home, but safety wise they are not the best option.
THE DESIGNFIRE are expert architects who have many solutions and novel ideas ready. They are waiting to bridge the gap between imagining the impossible and making it real, safe, functional and still provide the unique bespoke design feeling from the moment anyone casts their eyes upon it.
Yes, safe and functional yet with bespoke design, is the calibre of architecture that our team creates every day. includes all kinds of properties we worked on over the past 10 years using a range of building styles and materials:
• free-standing homes,
• townhouses,
• apartments.
We love to be involved in helping people build their dream home. Our knowledge and experience offers reassurance that you can trust our team to get your building project completed hassle-free, on time and to budget.

Here is one of so many reactions from a now proud homeowner we have received over the years.

“THE DESIGNFIRE was recommended to us via work, and we loved their way of just listening to what we wanted, not forcing anything on us and were always at the end of the phone when we needed to talk to them.
They were listening and helping us get the best home we could have. When I compare it to other similar homes on our street, that had the same concept plan. I’m so so so happy we used THE DESIGNFIRE and changed it all around. We even swapped the whole house around by having the master bedroom in the front upstairs so we could maximise the view of the boats and golf club. Thanks, THE DESIGNFIRE we love our home.”
—Jacqui, proud homeowner

How to Approach Architectural Design for Alterations and Renovations

It’s not difficult to imagine how an alteration project can become a real challenge. Unlike a new home build, where we have more freedom of choice. An alteration or renovation of an existing home or commercial building has numerous constraints, including:
• Non-compliance for houses built before current building code was adopted (over 40% of houses have this challenge in one form or the other)
• Outdated solutions in both design and functionality
• No consideration for safety in terms of currently acceptable best practice
• Use of legacy materials that are no longer available
You may dream big, yet the realities of current construction might be restrictive.

Follow this link to an Alteration Cost Calculator which can give you an idea about bull pack estimate for what you have in mind

That is why we work closely with you to understand more than just your design dreams. We put time and energy into understanding more about your:
• Emotional reasons
• Functional reasons behind your wishes
• Overall objective for the project
o increase value to sell,
o growing family,
o change of life-work balance,
o aging family member,
o and more…

• Your lifestyle and the potential use of your home (now and in the future)
• Budgetary constraints
• Opportunities like view, visual obstructions and how to avoid them, etc

THE DESIGNFIRE approach is to work with you to create your dream home, when you want to do home alteration and renovation. We can help you with planning and design services following our three layered approach to create a design that is functional, attractive and safe.
Our team of architects, draftsmen, engineers and building consultants work seamlessly to ensure your extension or alteration is completed according to your specifications, in line with the correct industry and building codes and practices.
Since 2010 our alteration design projects across Auckland have included villa extensions and alterations, sleepouts, minor dwellings, and townhouses.

Here is another one of many testimonials we have received over the years for a commercial alteration project.

“About five years ago, in conjunction with NMIT, we purchased a site on 42 Upper Queen Street. This building needed a lot of renovation and make-over, so we handed the design amongst a number of architectural firms, and the most attractive design came from THE DESIGNFIRE.
We found them very flexible and receptive to our comments and ideas. I think it was the winning card for us as the client. Getting the permits through the council is not an easy task. They had good contacts in the council, they were well known to the council, and that really sped up the process. I think if we had chosen another group of architects, this project may have taken twice as long. We have recommended THE DESIGNFIRE to many people and referred them to Louie. You know the sample of his work is here, and people can see what they can get.”
—Farzbod Taefi, Director, Skills Update Training Institute

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How to Approach Architectural Design for Recladding

Re-cladding projects present a whole new set of challenges, due to there being so many factors to consider:
• the core structure of the house
• potential issues from the current built (leaky home or unattractive frontage)
• use of legacy materials that are no longer available
At THE DESIGNFIRE we take the stress and hassle out of recladding with a dedicated project team looking after your home. That is why we created a Recladding calculator which is the first step you can take when considering re-cladding of your home.

Follow this link to a Recladding Cost Calculator which can give you an idea about bull pack estimate for what you have in mind

Interior Fit out

Elegant, funky, outdated, flamboyant.

It takes less than 30 seconds for any of us to get a first impression, which has a lasting effect on business relationships.

The quality of interior design in the environment people spend most of their day can influence productivity and work quality.

That’s why choosing the right architect for a commercial interior design project is one of the critical success factors for any commercial development project.

At THE DESIGNFIRE we have an in-house team of experienced and qualified interior designers. We combine our imagination with your requirements to deliver high-quality workmanship.

From offices in Auckland, we provide personalised client care with a strong focus on developing long-term relationships.

In conclusion
We care just as much as you do to create the perfect bespoke design just for you.

Our team of highly experienced design architects will work with you to create the build of your dreams – whether that be a new home, a reclad or new commercial warehouse for your expanding family business. Our seamless three-layered values of functionality, safety and design will be incorporated in all aspects of your project.

We believe that we can offer you the most simplified process to achieve your project, save you time, resources and stress that isn’t necessary.

A dedicated and passionate project team will work with you from putting ideas on paper to completion of your interior design project – on time and on budget. No project or idea is too big or too small.

Ready to chat?
CALL US ON 0800 030 802