Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property
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Briefing and Planning

Functional Brief

Before starting to design a new facility or a major upgrade to an existing facility, it is important to assemble the necessary background information in order to ensure that the design as it is developed is appropriate for:

  • The functional use of the spaces,
  • The maintainability of the facility, and
  • The environmental conditions of the proposed site.

Generally all proposed building works will designed to provide specific facilities to suite the functional requirements of the intended users . In some situations the new facility with include typical (generic) spaces that have been developed across the campus, to enable flexibility and multipurpose use of spaces, such as general office spaces, teaching or education spaces.

Relevant information on the proposed users, functional needs, the proposed location and other relevant criteria will be included in the Functional Brief, that will be individually developed for each project.

The Functional Brief is to include:

- A schedule of occupants, teaching spaces and ancillary rooms

- Detail on its occupant's office space entitlements,

- Teaching room capacities and

- Special room and ancillary room needs.

- Important room and space interrelationships.

- Sections within the School or Office will be identified,

- Number of floors of occupation may be suggested and

- Preferences in layout described.

From this basic information the total net useable floor area will be estimated and the approximate total cost will be calculated, 

Project Process Map. (4 pages) \\Siza\projects\14\14100\04_Correspondence\Client\Information from Client\Design Guidelines\Property\MQP Project Process Map.pdf

Design Brief

It is important then that the University's investment in refurbishment or the construction of new buildings should be designed to satisfy, as nearly as possible, the needs of both present and future users.

To ensure that these sometimes conflicting requirements are met, the first users of the new or refurbished space will collaborate with the Buildings and Grounds Office to prepare the Functional Brief.

The functional Brief prepared by the University will not be the final briefing document. It will be the working document on the basis of which the consultants will prepare their design. The Architect or Project Manager engaged by the University will further develop the Brief, in conjunction with the University, to produce the final Design Brief agreed and signed off by all parties involved.

It is this complete, developed Design Brief which will define:

- Spaces and space relationships,

- The size of the building and

- The budget for construction and fitout.

User Group Representatives

It is important that the people who represent the Users in the preparation of the initial functional Brief are able to:

  1. Represent adequately the whole of the user group, consulting with others where necessary to make sure that a consensus is reached and everyone's needs and views are adequately represented. Multiple or conflicting opinions must be reconciled within the user group before the external consultants become involved.
  2. Careful consideration of the functional requirements needs to be undertaken to ensure an appropriate facility is developed. The omission by the users of important items of information or the preparation of an unrealistic wish list which overstates the user's needs can confuse the consultants, delay the progress of the project and cause budget blow outs that may prevent the project progressing in a later stage.
  3. During the whole of the briefing process, the members of the Building Committee nominated to represent the users of the building will consult with and advise the other members of the User Group to ensure that all concerned are kept informed of the progress of the project and the development of both the Functional and the Design Brief.

Building Committee

The Building Committee group may be organized to agree on and prepare a functional Brief for further development by the University's external consultants and will include:

- The users' representatives (up to three people),

- The Property Office, and

- Where appropriate, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Administration or his representative,

Information to be supplied by the University

The Functional Brief will also include details of the interrelationships of the proposed facilities with other existing and proposed facilities located on the campus.

Existing in ground site services

Information on the existing site and services is maintained by the Property Office.

Site services locations as shown on the information provided are only approximate and will need to be verified on site.

Ground Survey

Existing Ground and building Surveys are available from the Property Office.

If additional information is required contact the Property Office, who will arrange for additional information.

Geotechnical Survey

The consultants will organise geotechnical bores of the site, in the locations and to the depths required for costing and for structural analysis.

Ensure that geotechnical drilling crews on site:-

  1. Are fully informed of all site information including fences, kerbs gutters, lighting, posts, pits and manholes and in particular the location and depth of all existing underground services shown on the University's drawings.
  2. Have with them on site the relevant documents showing such information.

If requested by the University, the number of bores will be increased to ensure that claims from the Builder for latent conditions are reduced to a minimum.

The University will engage the geotechnical engineers and pay their fees. Geotechnical engineers are to be selected after tendering from three qualified specialist firms.

University Traffic and Parking Rules

As part of the Macquarie University Master Plan car parking areas and service vehicle parking areas have been defined across the campus.

Refer to the University Traffic and Parking Rules for more information.

Measurement of Building Areas

The Property Office maintains records of all their buildings which includes floor areas of rooms and spaces that are measured according to the universities standard procedures, contact the Planning & Design team.

Existing Services Tunnel

Part of the University campus contains an accessible reinforced concrete underground tunnel carrying services to buildings in the central campus area.  The tunnel contains all services, including high voltage electricity and natural gas.  

It should be noted that the tunnel is considered to be a Confined Space and requires specific work practices as required by WorkCover NSW.

Information on the location of the services tunnel and services within the tunnel is available from the Property Office.

Voice & Data Communications

General Requirements and Performance Specification. The University's standard requirements for voice and data communication installations are attached.  These standards are to be used as the required details in any new facility or existing upgrade.  

University Communications Network

A plan of the University's communications network is available from the Property Office and MQ IT Office. The plan shows the existing hubs and extent of cabling available.


Where refurbishment of existing facilities is undertaken, the facility is to be brought up to meet the requirements set out within this design guide. Additionally the following is to be included:

- The area of the refurbishment is to be updated to meet the current regulatory requirements,(BCA/NCC).

- Where a substantial proportion of a floor of a building(more than 50%) the entire floor area is to be upgraded,

- especially in the areas of, fire safety, occupant safety and accessibility.

- Where area is to be refurbished to provide staff office areas, ensure that a space is provided for communications hub (minimum space (Min. 4 m2 - eg, 2m x 2m) on each floor.

- Ensure that access to and egress from adjacent areas is not detrimentally affected by the works.

- Install new energy efficient lighting in line with design guidelines

- Install new building management systems infrastructure and connections to existing monitor/control points as required including provision for building access control.

- Install security systems and access control to area of works, to design Guidelines.

Project Process

Property have developed standard process templates for projects to proceed, these move through four phases:

1. Inception2. Definition3. Procurement4. Delivery

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