Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property

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
  • Maintainability of the facility
  • Environmental conditions of the proposed site.

It is also appropriate that the current state of existing site conditions and their capacity to accept the proposed new design includes:

  • Structural adequacy of existing buildings
  • Mechanical, electrical and hydraulic services, not just limited to the footprint of the refurbishment, but their impacts to the building as a whole.

Generally all proposed building works will be designed to provide specific facilities to suite the functional requirements of the intended users.  In some situations the new facility will 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.  This 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 requirements
  • Teaching room capacities
  • Special room and ancillary room needs
  • Important room and space interrelationships
  • Sections within the School or Office will be identified.

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

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 Macquarie University Property 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 bBrief 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.

User Group Representatives

It is important that the people who represent the Users in the preparation of the initial Functional Brief are able to represent adequately user groups, 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.

Careful consideration should also be given to the functional requirements 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.

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

Geotechnical Survey

Geotechnical bores of the site will be conducted, in the locations and to the depths required for costing and for structural analysis.

Parking on Campus

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 Getting to Macquarie for more information.

Measurement of Building Areas

Macquarie University Property maintains records of all their buildings which includes floor areas of rooms and spaces that are measured according to the University's standard procedures, contact the Planning & Design team for more information.

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 SafeWork NSW.

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

Voice & Data Communications

General Requirements and Performance Specification. The University's standard requirements for voice and data communication installations are included in these Design Guidelines under the component specifications section. These standards, in consultation with Macquarie University Information Technology 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 Macquarie University Property and Macquarie University Information Technology. 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 these Design Guidelines.This includes meeting the following:

  • Current regulatory requirements, Building Code of Australia (BCA) and National Construction Code (NCC) must be met
  • If more than 50% of a floor is being refurbished, the entire floor is to be upgraded in the areas of fire safety, occupant safety accessibility
  • A communications hub is to be provided for staff office areas on each floor (the minimum space being 4m2 (2m x 2m)
  • Access to and egress from adjacent areas is not to be detrimentally affected by the works
  • New energy efficient lighting in line with design guidelines is to be installed
  • 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.