PALS Refresher: Commissions and Briefs

PALS Refresher: Commissions and Briefs

PALS Refresher: Commissions and Briefs

Available On Demand


This module deals predominately with the early parts of architects' interactions with a potential client. This topic relates closely to subsequent modules 9, 10, and 11, which deal with the specific mechanics of the client architect agreement. This module will cover: How architects market their services and secure new commissions How architects respond appropriately to invitations when they arrive How architects go about creating a project brief, which is a fundamental step in setting out the client’s requirements for the project



This presentation is equivalent to 1 hour/point of formal CPD and will deliver outcomes related to the following Competency/s from the National Standard of Competency for Architects:

    2015 Competencies

    Design: Project Briefing

    1.1 Preparation & endorsement of an agreement between client and Architect.
    1.2 Establishment, analysis and evaluation of client project requirements and objectives.
    1.3 Assessment of project budget and timeframe against project requirements and objectives.
    1.4 Identification of factors that may impact on client project requirements and objectives.
    1.5 Knowledge of different procurement processes available and evaluation of the impact these have on the project.
    1.6 Selection and presentation to clients and relevant stakeholders of procurement method for the project.
    1.7 Preparation of project brief for approval by client and relevant stakeholders.

    2021 Competencies:

    Practice Management and Professional Conduct:

    PC 5 Be able to apply essential elements of a client architect agreement across the range of procurement methods in relation to their appropriateness to the scale and type of the project, including alternatives for partial services and the engagement of secondary and sub-consultants. 
    PC 9 Be able to apply contemporary and emerging building procurement methods. This involves identifying the most appropriate form of delivery for a project, including risks, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and integrating appropriate construction contracts and consultancy contracts and/or agreements. 
    PC 11 Be able to assess, recommend and/or select an appropriate procurement process, with consideration for its impact on all phases of a project – including design, documentation and project delivery – and provide advice to the client in terms of the level of scope of service for consultants. 

    Project Initiation and Conceptual Design:
    PC 19 Be able to identify, analyse and evaluate client project requirements and objectives using qualitative and quantitative methods and, where required by the terms of engagement, to assist cost estimators in determining project feasibility/viability. 
    PC 20 Be able to assess project budget and timeframe against project requirements and objectives, relevant legislation, statutory planning requirements, building codes and standards. 
    PC 23 Be able to prepare a return brief for approval by the client and relevant stakeholders in response to a client brief and any areas of deviation or non-compliance. 

    Design Delivery and Construction Phase Services:
    PC 53 Be able to provide advice to clients on the impact of a selected procurement method on cost, time, life cycle implications and quality control during the construction phase. 

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this presentation you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate techniques used by practitioners in marketing architectural services. 
  2. Demonstrate techniques used by practitioners to respond to potential clients.
  3. Demonstrate skills associated with the acceptance or preparation of a brief that is a clear expression of the client’s needs and expectations.
  4. Demonstrate techniques used by practitioners that enable the brief to be used as an ongoing (but changing) reference document, from project establishment to post occupancy evaluation.


Ryan Loveday

Director, Fulton Trotter Architects

Ryan is a registered architect and a Director of Fulton Trotter Architects, a practice established in 1937, with about 50 people across offices in Brisbane and Sydney.
After finishing a drafting course at TAFE, Ryan studied Architecture at the University of Technology Sydney in the old 6 year part-time course, whilst also working in small practice. He dimly remembers graduating the course in 2001.
Now based in Brisbane, he has spent the last  two decades working predominantly on public projects within education, health, aged care and community architecture. One of an increasingly rare breed specialising in traditional full-service architecture and superintendency, his skills and background as a technical architect have led to a career resolving the ‘tricky bits’ of complex institutional projects.



Marketing and communications

Architect selection and commissions

Risks of free design services

Architectural competitions

Partial core services


Project bid

Client and architect relationship

Guide letters


Client note: Your brief to your architect

The briefing team

Brief – contents


Member: $49
Non-Member: $74
Student: $19


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