The brief, in its simplest form, is the document that's going to communicate your requirements to your architect. While you may not know exactly what you're after, there are bound to be certain priorities or preferences. It's worth spending some time developing the brief as the more time you put into planning, researching and designing, hopefully the less time you spend on site. Not only should this make life easier and save you money, but during the build itself it's possible to get led down the wrong path because you're making decisions under pressure.
If your brief is only half-hearted or lacks proper thought, you may also be led by the architect and builder because someone has to decide in the end. That's fine if you're happy to give your designer a free reign, but be sure you won't regret this further into the build.
In no particular order, some aspects to consider include:
- Size of floor area
- How is the property going to be lived in
- How many rooms
- Number of levels
- New build or renovation
- Energy efficiency
- Building materials
- Building method
There may be some compromises along the way, so perhaps list them in order of importance to you. Be modest in how much space you actually need, because building the biggest house you can afford may soon lead you into difficulty.
Some people find it helpful to create a scrapbook of houses you like, and products and materials you want to use etc.
The key point is to put in the time. If at all possible, you don't want to change your brief once construction is underway. The implications will ripple through the whole project and it can be very dispiriting for workers if they have to do the work twice!