Making your measure up manageable

Making your measure up manageable

Our April ‘One Question Wednesday’ survey touched on the three core parts of a design delivery: the site survey (or measure up), the concept presentation and the working drawings.

As always, those who contributed offered honest commentary and some excellent advice. We’ll cover concept presentations and working drawings in another article, but here’s what our members had to say about measure ups.

A comprehensive site survey – combined with a detailed client brief – is an essential cog in the wheel of an efficient and effective design process.

While many won’t admit it, few designers haven’t experienced the distress caused by a missing dimension or overlooked detail. Hours of design time can be lost scouring through photos, analysing scribble and playing the detective in an attempt to work out what was missed in the measure up.

To start with, we asked our members which tools they use most often for kitchen or bathroom site surveys.

Only 12% of the respondents said they use a standard old-school tape measure. More of the bunch – 83% – use a laser and tape combination, while just 6% put all their faith in a laser measure. (Note: we’ve asked members to share their particular favourites – brands and all – in the private Facebook group. Jump in and have a peek or add your pics if you haven’t already.)

Top three challenges
We asked the Members to share which aspect of measuring up they find most challenging.

#1 Talkative Clients
Not surprisingly, the key complaint noted was dealing with clients chatting during the process. Concentration is key to catching all the details required in a comprehensive site survey. Following are some of the strategies employed by your fellow designers, along with a few of our top tips:

  • Be direct: let the client know you’ll need x-minutes of quiet time to capture all information required. (See note below about timing.)
  • Suggest they get on with their day so you ‘don’t hold them up, and let them know you’ll sing out if you need a hand.
  • Use this time to share your folio with the clients – hand them a hard copy presentation and some post-it notes, and ask them to (quietly) consider the things they love and hate about particular projects.
  • Get the clients to complete a survey about their wants and needs while you’re measuring. Yes, you may have covered this in your initial discussions, but their written confirmation could be helpful in confirming the brief.

#2 Time Limitations
Rushing through a measure-up is a sure-fire way to miss essential dimensions. Allow yourself ample time to:

  • Sketch out a mud-map of the overall space, including dimension lines for the essential details. (Having your ‘must-gets’ pre-empted in this way means you’re less likely to miss them.)
  • Measure methodically in one direction (e.g. clockwise) around the room.
  • Double-check each measurement and tally up overall lengths/heights.

#3 Measuring angles and curves
Measuring angles and curves is an enormous challenge for the best of us. We have a few members who deem themselves Pythagoras pros, and we’re going to challenge them to make us a video. (Make sure you’re a part of the private Facebook group so you can be the first to see it.) The less mathematically minded amongst our community swear by their angle finders – if you don’t already have one, an investment of between $40 and $150 could save you a tonne of time and hassle.

Finally, we asked the members to share their top measuring tips for less-experienced designers, and the following gems should be noted:

  • Take photos of every wall, the floor AND the ceiling. 
  • Take a photo of the final site survey sketch to ensure you have a digital copy on file.
  • Don’t shoot your laser at a glossy surface and expect an accurate result – carry some masking tape with you to provide a dull end measuring point.
  • Colour code your trades: use a different colour for electrical and plumbing references.
  • Have a comprehensive checklist and USE IT!

We know you’re a busy lot, and not everyone has time to contribute. Those of you who do, however, are hugely appreciated. Your generous advice and honest commentary help us design and curate useful and relevant PD and articles like the above. Your five-minute response could be a game-changer for an industry newbie – thank you!

Hey, did we miss something? Add your comments below. 


Writing a professional Design Statement

Writing a professional Design Statement

Former entrants in the KBDi Designer Awards program will know that both Design Briefs and Design Statements are requirements in most categories. We’re sometimes asked why this is necessary, and often get a ‘please explain’ about the difference between the two.

In this article, we’ll set out the definitions of a Brief and a Statement. And we’ll share how designers can use these tools in all projects, regardless of whether or not they’re being entered into an Awards program.

What is a Design Brief?

A Design Brief is, in essence, a summary of the vital information you took away from your first Client meeting. The Design Brief will offer a clear and concise explanation of your Client’s wants, needs and desires. It will also set out the most relevant restrictions, parameters and opportunities presented by the actual building space.

Summarising your client survey form and assessing your site survey in this way is valuable for both you and your Client. You’ll have a concise and to-the-point reminder of your key objectives, and your Client can enjoy the peace of mind in knowing you’re both on the same page. Formalising your Client’s agreement to the Design Brief with a signed acknowledgement also gives you a great point of reference if your project turns pear-shaped.

What is a Design Statement?

A Design Statement allows you to present your response to the Design Brief in an equally clear and concise manner. Your Design Statement will set out how you’ve responded to your Client’s wish list, and how you have dealt with restrictions or expanded the opportunities of the given building space.

Preparing the Design Statement before presenting your final concept to the Client is as essential as rehearsing your next big speech. With a well-prepared summary of your design/thought process, you’ll be clear and confident when selling your design, and will impress your Clients with your professional service.

How to write a winning Design Statement

When your design has ticked all the boxes for your Clients, and is looking pretty spectacular, it’s tempting to be a little ‘braggy’ when summarising your brilliance in a Design Statement. You may even find yourself getting carried away with some creative writing as you outline your awesomeness, digging out your most descriptive words and design clichés.

Or better still, you could follow the tips below and present an informative, influential and professional design statement.

Keep it simple, stupid

Apply the KISS principles to your Design Statement: use the Statement for what it is – it’s a response to the Design Brief, and a summary of your design solution. Keep it ordered, too – the following three ‘rules’ will help keep your statement succinct:

(1) set out how you overcame challenges of the physical space (site),

(2) explain how you made it look good (remembering the aesthetics will be visually sold with your mood boards or 3Ds and perspectives), and

(3) describe how you fulfilled the Client’s wish list.

Forget the fluff and faff

Flowery words like fabulous, marvellous and gorgeous are rather ambiguous, and don’t always do your design justice. As a design professional, you will have considered the elements and principles of design from beginning to end of the project. Use straight-forward and relevant terminology to convey how you’ve used these visual tricks to make your design an aesthetic success.

Use your spell check (and read it out loud)

If you consider yourself a design professional, you’ll want to make sure your writing reflects this. A spell check will pick up basic spelling errors, but pay extra attention to industry-specific words and brands. Yes, your clients are paying for your design skills, and they may not expect you to be a grammar geek. They will, however, hope you have a great eye for detail, and having an error-free statement is one more way to demonstrate your attentiveness.

And finally, to ensure your text is 100% accurate, read it out loud! Use your computer’s text-to-speech function to hear the words out loud; you’ll easily pick up any misses or duplications.

Of course, you should always bring your own sense of style to a Design Statement, and you shouldn’t see the above as a solid set of rules. Consider them merely guidelines to help you develop your own unique voice. And if you have a tip to share, please comment below – we’d love to hear it!

All about grout and tile layouts

All about grout and tile layouts

While grouting is not always discussed in great depth at the design consultancy stage, it is frequently a point of contention when the tiling work is finished. Most tile retailers will confirm that ‘misaligned grout lines’ is their number one consumer complaint.

We’ve create a Technical Bulletin to help you keep on top of your tiling layouts and avoid disputes down the track. The Bulletin answers questions like:

  • What is grout and why is necessary?
  • Why do joint widths (grout lines) matter?
  • What are the ‘rules’ around joint widths (Australian Standards)?


This Bulletin will be a great resource to add to your library. Complete the form below and we’ll verify your Membership and get a copy to you ASAP. Alternatively, log into your Members Portal and you’ll find the full suite there.

Request for Technical Bulletin

Using architectural terms and references in your marketing

Using architectural terms and references in your marketing

If you’ve been in or around the building and design industries for a while, you’ll know that some tight regulations bound the Architectural profession. Eligibility for registration, classes of registration and disciplinary proceedings for Architects are all heavily regulated and legislated under the Architect Registration Boards of each Australian State and Territory.
But did you know that the use of the word architect – in a variety of contexts – is also legislated? 
While it may be tempting to use descriptors like ‘architectural design‘ and ‘interior architecture‘ in your marketing, you could get yourself in all kinds of trouble if you’re misusing the terms in your jurisdiction.
While the following certainly can’t be deemed legal advice, it may help point you in the right direction to ensure you’re playing by the rules. If you require greater interpretation of any of the statements, we strongly recommend you seek advice from the relevant state Board of Architects or a legal practitioner.

New South Wales

The NSW Architects Registration Board investigates reports of person or entities illegally representing themselves or others as architects, as set out in Sections 9 and 10 of the Architects Act 2003. Examples of terms that fall under their definition of ‘representing as an architect’ include:
  • use of the title ‘architect’ or ‘registered architect’
  • use of the description architectural services, architectural design or architectural designer by an individual
  • use of any derivatives of the word ‘architect’ or ‘architectural’ by an individual or firm, and
  • use of the term ‘architectural design’ as a description of services provided by a firm that does not have a nominated architect
Learn more about the NSW Architects Registration Board and the relevant Act here:


The Board of Architects of Queensland sets out a long list of prescribed titles and words in the Architects Regulation 2019 (QLD). The Act declares that a person who is not a registered practising architect must not use ‘architectural services’, ‘architectural design services’ or ‘architectural design’ to advertise or otherwise promote their services. In addition, the Act outlines a very comprehensive list of additional titles and terms, including but not limited to:
  • architectural
  • architectural experience
  • architectural planning and design
  • interior architecture

South Australia

The Architectural Practice Board of South Australia states:
The title Architect is a valuable and prestigious one, earned only after demonstration of high levels of competence and knowledge. For that reason, use of the title is restricted by legislation. 
The Architectural Practice Act 2009 states that ‘a person must not, in the course of advertising or promoting a service that he or she, or a partnership in which he or she is a partner, provides, use a prescribed word, or its derivatives, to describe a person who is engaged in the provision of the service or the partnership if the person or partnership is not a registered architect or registered architectural business, as the case requires‘. 
[Note: according to the Act, prescribed word means (a) architect or (b) any other word or expression prescribed by the regulations.]
The act does not prohibit a person using the title of ‘landscape architect’, ‘naval architect’ or ‘computer systems architect’. With respect to interior architecture, the APBSA sets out the following FAQ and response in their Guidance Note:
Q: Can I use the title ‘Interior Architect’ if I have a Bachelor of Interior Architecture? 
A: No, this would be an offence against the Architectural Practice Act 2009. You can refer to yourself as an ‘Interior Designer’. 
You can read the full Guidance Note 2 (Use of the title “Architect” and its derivatives) here:



The Board of Architects of Tasmania makes their position very clear, stating:
Examples of titles and descriptions that should NOT be used by persons who are not registered as architects in accordance with the Act include:
  • “Architect”
  • Any other word or combination of letters that sounds or looks like the word “architect”.
  • Any derivative of that term such as “architecture” or “architectural” if used in a way that indicates or may indicate to the public that a person in respect of whom it is used is registered or entitled or qualified to be registered as an architect if that person is not so registered or qualified
  • “Graduate Architect” or “Architectural Graduate”
Learn more about this Board and its guidelines here:


In Victoria, the Architects Act 1991 (current as at 28 July 2020) states that a person must not represent himself or herself to be an architect and must not allow himself or herself to be represented as an architect unless he or she is registered as an architect under the same Act. It also sets out the following with respect to particular expressions:
Restriction on use of particular expressions 
(1)  A person or body (other than a person who is registered as an architect under this Act or an approved partnership or an approved company) must not use any of the terms “architectural services”, “architectural design services” or “architectural design” in relation to— 
(a)  the design of buildings or parts of buildings by that person or body; or 
(b)  the preparation of plans, drawings or specifications for buildings or parts of buildings by that person or body. 
The Act in its entirety can be viewed here:

Western Australia

The Architects Board of Western Australia stipulates clear regulations with respect to the protection of the title ‘Architect’. Their Info Sheet 22 (dated 9 October 2019) states:
Restricted Words 
In WA, the words “architect”, “architects”, “architectural”, “architecture”, and any abbreviation or derivative of these words are restricted words under the Act. This means that only individuals registered by the Board, and corporations licensed by the Board, can use a restricted word as part of their title, business name or description. 
The Info Sheet is a clear and concise document that would be a valuable resource for designers keen to ensure their marketing is not misrepresentative in any way. View the full paper here:


The Architects Act 2004 (effective 10 December 2019) defines architectural service as ‘a service provided in connection with the design, planning or construction of buildings that is ordinarily provided by architects’. The Act sets out several offences, including (but not limited to):
Firm offering architectural services without nominee 
(1) A corporation must not offer an architectural service unless the corporation has a nominee. 
Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units. 
(2) Each partner in a partnership commits an offence if— 
(a) the partnership offers an architectural service; and 
(b) the partnership does not have a nominee. 
Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.
Unregistered individual advertising 
(1) An individual commits an offence if— 
(a) the individual advertises that the individual provides, or will provide, an architectural service; and 
(b) the individual is not registered. 
Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units. 
(2) An offence against this section is a strict liability offence.
Provision of architectural services by third party 
A person commits an offence if— 
(a) the person offers an architectural service to be provided by someone else; and 
(b) the provider of the service is not a registered architect; and 
(c) the person is reckless about whether the provider is a registered architect.
Learn more about the ACT Architects Board here:

As indicated above, this article should not be considered legal advice. If you’re unsure about how the relevant Act can be applied or legislated in your jurisdiction, we recommend you contact your State or Territory Board of Architects or a legal practitioner. 

PD Thursday | Marketing Q & A

PD Thursday | Marketing Q & A

Thursday | 17 September 2020 | 4pm AEST

Our last PD session with Linda Reed-Enever highlighted that our Members have many (MANY) questions about the ins and outs of successful marketing. We’ve invited Linda back for an open floor session, and encourage you to hit us with your hardest marketing questions. Add your query to the registration form, and we’ll do our best to provide an A to your Q during the session. Priority answers will be given to those who are joining the live event, so add it to your calendar now. (Oh, and we will obviously take questions from the floor, too, so be camera ready if you have a particular marketing question for this communications queen.)

About the Presenter

Publicist and Marketing Consultant Linda Reed-Enever lives and breathes publicity and has a passion for connecting everything from people to ideas. Linda is the Principal Director at ThoughtSpot PR and Founder of Media Connections and Business Business Business. With her ‘can do’ attitude and entrepreneurial spirit, she inspires and motivates as she connects people and opportunity. Linda’s innate ability to network and think on her feet has positioned her as a dynamic leader and ‘go-to girl’ in the communications and marketing arena.

Watch the recording

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Features and benefits of solid surfaces

Features and benefits of solid surfaces

As we look for ways to impress and service our clients, it’s essential to be informed about the features, benefits and design considerations of a wide range of products. With an in-depth knowledge of surfaces and materials, you’ll be better placed to extend your design potential in kitchen and bathroom design. In our new Design Bulletins, we’re helping you build a bank of references to start your material investigations. In this month’s product highlight bulletin, we’ve partnered with Austaron Surfaces to outline the features and benefits of Staron® Solid Surfaces.

The Bulletin summarises how solid surfaces can be used in all kinds of kitchen and bathroom applications. It outlines the key considerations you need to make when designing with solid surfaces, including support and structural requirements, designing with pattern and selecting colours. Most importantly, this handy cheat-sheet sets out the compliance and warranties associated with the product, making it an invaluable resource for all good designers.

Members can access this Design Bulletin (along with our full suite of Technical and Business Bulletins) in our exclusive Members Portal. Simply click on the Members Portal tab at the top of your screen and log in to your account. (If you’ve not yet registered for an account, this process is straightforward: simply complete the details where prompted and we’ll set you up.)

Not yet a KBDi Member but keen to learn more? Complete the form below and we’ll be in touch.