Building Process

What Jane Cameron Architects (JCA) can bring to your project

We can help you realise your ambitions and guide you from the concept stage through to the completion of your project on-site. We provide a service that extends well beyond producing a set of drawings – we can handle the paperwork, and bring value for money, imagination and peace of mind to your project, whilst keeping it on track and on budget.

Value for money

We are professional problem-solvers. Our experience and insight can help stretch what can be achieved within your budget and add value to your project. We can suggest new ways of utilising space and light, enrich the palette of materials, finishes or fittings, find a builder at the right price, and propose design solutions that will reduce your overall running costs whilst maximising the energy efficiency of your home. At a fraction of the cost of your project, our fees will prove a sound investment.


We can lift your project out of the ordinary and help you achieve your aspirations and vision. We are trained designers who will explore your needs and desires and find inventive and practical ways of enhancing your living environment.

Peace of mind

When you hire an architect, you have a professional on your side who knows the construction industry inside out. You are working with someone who has undertaken seven years of architectural training – no other building professional is trained in design and construction to such a high level of expertise. The term “Architect” is a protected title and Australian law requires those that use it to be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

What JCA can do for you

We can provide you with much more than just drawings, we have the experience to see your project successfully through to completion. We can oversee the design, assist with the approvals process, manage the build and keep track of your budget.


Consulting with JCA at the earliest stage will allow us to get a real feel for your needs so that together you can establish a clear outline brief and a realistic budget. We will help reduce the overall design costs and help ensure the project comes in on time and on budget whilst identifying and reducing any potential problems early on.

Developing the design

We will work with you to develop designs that will interpret your ideas imaginatively, maximise your investment, ensure your project is cost-effective and can help add real value to your project. We will come up with a range of ideas for you to discuss, develop and refine together.

The approvals process

We can help with the approvals required before your project can go ahead, including the preparation of the Town Planning and Building permits.

Construction phase

Guiding you through the building phase we can help you select suitable builders, obtain appropriate prices for construction, monitor progress and standards, supervise safety on site, liaise with other specialists and oversee the construction through to successful completion.

Setting the design brief

A brief is your wishlist.

It will start as an outline brief, which essentially outlines your accommodation and function requirements, which form the basis of the contract between yourself and JCA.

This brief will be developed further into a detailed design brief. Through in-depth discussions we are skilled in establishing your aims, aspirations, needs, motivation, expectations, and design direction; whilst establishing a realistic timeframe and budget.

One of our most important skills and roles is assisting in the development of this brief. We can point out what is possible in terms of cost and design, asking you questions and making suggestions. We are well placed to help identify the best and worst spatial characteristics of your project and to offer ideas that will enhance your living space.

Your contribution at this stage is vital and will involve a number of discussions which is essential for the success of any project.

The Client & Architect Agreement

The responsibilities of each party and the services to be provided by JCA are set down in a formal contract, referred to as the Client & Architect Agreement.


It is important before you start your project that you are aware of the approvals that will be needed from the local authority for Planning and Building Regulations, as well as legislation that might affect your plans.

We can guide you through matters as they develop the design. They will also be able to assist you in making the necessary submission for approvals and handle negotiations with the statutory bodies.

The building contract

This is a vital document – the legally binding commitment between your builder and you as the client to deliver your project. We can administer this contract on your behalf. It is not uncommon for building projects to contain hidden surprises – structural difficulties such as unexpected ground conditions, for example – that can have an impact on the design and the building cost. The best way of preparing yourself is an adequate written contract, designed to manage such events fairly from each party’s point of view.

Fees and expenses

The architectural fee will reflect the degree of personal service and bespoke design that your project involves, and will be affected by the complexity of the project. For instance, projects involving house extensions and refurbishment can be significantly more resource-intensive than new builds and the repair and conservation of historic buildings even more complex leading to fees being proportionately higher.

Fee options

The fee quoted may be a percentage of the building cost or as a lump sum. In cases where the scope of your work is harder to predict, or for services such as feasibility studies or those not relating to construction work, the quote can consist of an hourly rate together with an estimate of the time required.


These will generally be added to the fee and will be charged for items such as the cost of travel, copying drawings and documents, and for making planning or Building Regulations applications.


We will typically invoice about one-third of the fee during the design stage, the same at the tender stage, and the balance during and following construction. Variable invoices may be issued monthly, or regular payments can be budgeted over a period.

Being a good client

Good architecture needs collaboration and dialogue from the outset. Be ready to add your own views and banish the misplaced idea that we will impose our own tastes and ideas on your project. On the contrary, our aim will be to follow your brief closely and reflect on the aspirations it contains.

Understanding the process – Working with Jane Cameron Architects

We believe that all designs should evolve by working closely with the client in order to create a bespoke product that is crafted to your own individual needs and aspirations. We avoid using standard solutions with the belief that each individual project should be a response to the client’s needs and the site’s context. Most of the practice’s projects can be broken down into identifiable stages; each stage being seen as a two-way creative process between architect and client.

The process begins with you making contact via our contact form, and then we will follow up with any additional questions, before organizing a time for an initial phone call or Zoom meeting. Alternative some of our clients book in for our Master Plan Session, which is a great way to kick start your project. 

An outline brief will be established and will form the basis of our fee proposal. Once this is signed the project begins.

Concept Design Stage

At the beginning of the Concept Design Stage, we will establish the project’s direction for the architecture and interiors in relation to the architecture style and form, along with materials and finishes palette. This comes about from in-depth discussions with you, along with reviewing any imagery (or a Pinterest account) you may have. This is an important stage of the project as we want to establish what inspires you to create a project that you will love. 

This will be followed up with a presentation of mood imagery for both the architecture and interiors. This provides an opportunity to ensure we are heading in the right direction and obtain any vital feedback from you before we proceed with the design. 

We will explore numerous design options, through sketches and diagrams, to explore what best suits your site and brief. Some clients prefer to be involved in this process at a master plan level, which can be done through a collaborative workshop approach. This design will then be developed in our 3D modelling software, which creates 2D and 3D views of your project, which will be accompanied by the preliminary materials and finishes. Depending on the project there will be numerous touch points with you as the design evolves. 

Once the Concept Design is approved by you we then obtain a preliminary estimate of the Cost of Works, before proceeding to the next stage.

Design Development Stage

The Design Development Stage primarily focuses on the interiors, and we start by developing a detailed briefing document, which essentially acts as a checklist. For example, in a kitchen we will confirm all your loose appliances, so we can ensure each of these items have a dedicated home. And, for robes, we will confirm your needs for hang space, drawers, etc.

We will create and present detailed plans, elevations, and 3D views, of your kitchen, bathrooms, joinery, etc., along with the selection of the fixtures, fittings, finishes, and materials, which we will review in detail with you. 

At the completion of this stage, we will obtain an updated Cost of Works estimate, before proceeding to the Town Planning Stage (if required).

Town Planning Stage (if required)

For the Town Planning Stage, we will confirm statutory authority requirements, attend pre-application meetings with relevant authorities prior to submission of the formal application, and prepare the application, including plans, diagrams, analyses, studies, reports and other information for the submission, and formally lodge the application.

Town Planning Negotiation Stage (if required)

This will be followed by the Town Planning Negotiation Stage, if required, where we will negotiate and attend meetings with relevant authorities, adjoining owners or other relevant parties; prepare and submit any additional drawings and documentation to comply with additional authority requirements.

Construction Documentation Stage

The drawings are then prepared for the Building Permit; and further drawings, specifications and schedules are progressed to enable the project’s construction. A pre-tender estimate of the Cost of Works is prepared, and recommendations are made for the building contractor selection. Before proceeding with the next stage your approvals are obtained.

Contractor Selection Stage

Discussions are had on the preferred tender process, and tender documents are prepared and issued to all tenderers. Assistance is given to you in determining the preferred negotiation process, and all tenders are assessed.

Contract Administration Stage

At the beginning of this stage, the contract documents are prepared, and arrangements are made for the signing and execution of the building contract.

During construction, the client is regularly reported to in regards to time, cost and progress of the project. We visit the site periodically to observe the general conformance of the construction works with the building contract documents and instruct the building contractor regarding design quality control, materials selections and performance in regard to the building contract documents.

As Contract Administrator we assess variations, progress claims, claims for extensions of time, adjusts prime cost and provisional sums and other monetary sums, instruct the building contractor in regard to incomplete work and rectification of any defects, issues progress certificates, and determine practical completion, issues the notice of practical completion, and obtain your approvals where required.

During the defects liability period, we instruct the building contractor in regards to incomplete work and rectification of defects. At the end of the defects liability period, the final certificate is issued.

If you’d like to discuss your project, please contact me for an obligation-free consultation.