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Chill Spot

Choosing a design professional is a very important decision, you must select someone that makes you feel comfortable and that you have a great deal of faith in. A good design professional will come to the table with ideas suggestions and designs, not just provide what you have asked for.  To complete your project is a lengthy task, be prepared to set aside plenty of time for brain-storming your dreams with the right person. Our design professional will complete your drawings and process them through the municipalities, saving you both time and planning permission delays.

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Greystone® is a member of Dial a Contractor, a professional national network of professionals, working together to offer you a higher quality, more personal and better value for money service. We are progressive, dynamic and professional who with the support of Dial a Contractors systems and networks, offer an eclectic mix of visions, styles & influences that is just not possible with other achitects, draftsman and interior designers.


Architects, Plans, House, Drawings, Office, Building, Additions, Alterations, Lodges, Town, Shopping Centres, Showrooms, Urban, Clinics, Modern, Contemporary, Design, Developments, Commercial, Industrial, Schools, Residential, Church, Prisons, Projects, Restoration, Renovations, Recreation, Sport facilities


Stage 1: Inception  
The first step on appointment is an in depth discussion to ascertain the programmatic requirements of the project and budget. With regards budget, consider the total amount of the investment you would want to spend, including all professional fees. This provides a good starting point and guidance in the design. In order to achieve your objectives within budget, one needs to start with this in mind and review the project and choices being made against the budget periodically along the way.

A visit to the property will then be required to do an analysis of the site. This will include consideration of issues such as the views, orientation, access, topography, climate and micro-climate, vegetation and soil type, access and precedent set in the area. This would be coupled with an enquiry made to the local authorities, or studying of any documentation pertaining to this if these enquiries have already been made, to ascertain all rights and restrictions pertaining to the site.

A design brief will then be prepared, and an outline concept will be formulated based on your accommodation requirements, design requirements, the contextual issues stemming from the site analysis and your budget. You will also be advised on what consultants will be required, for example a land surveyor, engineer, environmental consultant etc. depending on the nature of the project and site. This will be presented to you in the format of a ‘Building Cost and Fee Estimate’ which outlines the projected costs for the building and associated professional fees as well as the local authority and any other approval fees that may be required.

You will also be advised on the estimated timelines in terms of the various architectural stages, as well as the anticipated project programme, depending on the scale of the project.

Stage 2: Concept Design          
Based on the architectural brief developed from the discussions and site analysis in Stage 1, as well as your budget, an initial concept design will be prepared. This will show the intended space provisions based on the accommodation requirements, as well as the planning relationships and proposed layout based on the requirements and contextual issues stemming from the site such as views, orientation and access. It will also show the proposed intended concept and form of the buildings.

These will be communicated via schematic layouts indicating the planning relationships, formulated into more formal ‘sketch’ floor plans, as well as basic 3d perspectives to illustrate the proposed form, look and feel of the buildings.

After your review and comments on this the initial concept, the design will be further developed to show the proposed materials as well as the technical and functional characteristics of the design. These will include sections through the building, more detailed dimensioned sketch plans illustrating window and door positions and proposed furniture layouts, as well as elevations of the building. At this stage services affecting or affected by the design will also be incorporated into the planning. This would include items such as solar panels and watertanks. As the sketch plans form the basis of the entire project, this may be a back-and-forth process until all parties involved are entirely satisfied with the outcome.

The sketch plans will at this stage be reviewed against the proposed budget and suggestions made to reduce the scope of work (or adjust the budget) if required to bring back within budget, as well as reviewed for conformity with rights of use and building restrictions (height restriction, building lines etc.) of the site.

You will be advised if any consultants are advised at this stage. For larger projects where a Quantity Surveyor is being appointed to oversee the financial management and cost control of the project, they would be brought on board during the sketch plan stage to provide the initial cost estimates.

Stage 3: Design Development        
The design development stage will commence once the final concept design, along with estimated budgets based on this, are approved.

The plans will then be further developed based on the approved concept design, with any further changes that may be required, as well as the input from the consultants. In the case of the input from the structural engineer, this will include the specifications of the foundations, suspended floors and the roof design. At this stage details, specifications and any adjustments required in terms of energy efficiency will also be undertaken. The design development will include details of the construction systems and materials to be used.

The basic 3d model used in the initial concepts will also be developed and detailed 3d perspectives will be produced of the exterior and interior of the project. After any further changes are made, the final set of design development plans are produced. These will include detailed floor plans, sections showing the materials and structural systems being utilised, as well as detailed elevations. The design, costing and programme will then be reviewed with the consultants. The building cost and fee estimate will be adjusted to suit the revised design and sq.m areas by Greystone.


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Most of us take for granted the impact architecture plays in our lives, yet nearly every moment of every day is influenced by it. You are constantly in and surrounded by buildings, and these spaces affect how you feel. A dark space can leave you feeling cold, dampening your mood. The size and layout of a space can affect your ability to undertake a task. In contrast we all have experienced a beautiful space, admiring and appreciating it, and with that felt joy in occupying it for that time.

How is it then that buildings and their spaces have such an effect on us? It’s because we are visual creatures, programmed to judge and assess our surrounds to determine if we perceive a threat. This happens both on a conscious and sub-conscious level. Our survival depends on it; more so when we were primitive creatures living in the wild. Since evolving from the cave to the built environments we have created for ourselves today, our assessment of our surrounds has evolved to be more often about judgment, not necessarily of a threat but the effect a space or our surrounds has on our mood. Here are some examples to explain this better.

I’ll begin with the scenario of doing business. When walking into an office for the first time, we will analyse the space before the meeting takes place. Prior to any words being spoken, our first impressions and feelings of what we might expect begins instantaneously, as the space communicates to us about this organisation. How? The style and fit-out of the office begins to influence our judgment: is this an organisation we can trust, are they credible? If the office has a beautiful fit-out we will be thinking they are professional, and yet fearful that this is going to make a significant dent to our bank balance. Walk into an office that looks as it did in the 70’s – timber paneled walls, cheap old chairs in the reception, mess and clutter on display, and you are instead thinking backyarder; what am I doing here?

And so it goes in retail. A shop front, what it presents and the way it does so, will determine if you enter or not. It’s a glimpse of what the shop is about. Does it grab your attention, and entice you in, or do you walk on?

Upon walking into someone’s house you may consider: is it tidy, is the furniture in a style you consider dated, or is it covered in protective plastic? You are judging, it’s what we do, and it’s unavoidable. Whilst to some of us a mess is ok and others not, and there is no right or wrong, there is however always judgment. How we process and what we make of that depends on the individual. However, what ever your conclusion, it affects your mood. Do I feel comfortable here, safe, in awe, etc?

With your house or office, put in the effort to make a space that will enrich your time in it by uplifting your mood. Coming home to a beautiful house is something we all dream of for this reason, yet it does not have to cost a fortune. For me personally, I can’t afford a flashy house at this point, however my furniture, artwork and possessions I have collected over time which are on display, are things that make me smile to look at. I love being in my space. If it’s your business premises, take pride and consider what you want to communicate, but also how comfortable is it for your staff? Their well-being and mood affects your business’ success, it’s not something to skimp on.

Don’t underestimate the power of design, because it effects you and those around you. Appreciate and invest in it, and you will gain so much from it. Take a few moments this week to consider what’s around you and how it effects you.
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