Concepts Unlimited Design

Our Director, Melissa Woodcroft shares helpful Interior Design Tips to “Get You Construction Ready”

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Melissa Woodcroft - Director of Concepts Unlimited Design

Interior Design for Building Specifications – What is it, why do you need it and how can we help!

My first introduction to the “building specifications” process was when I was working for a construction company. It was crazy to see how many selections were required by our clients to source and order to complete their new home.  I quickly realised that the clients that did not have their selections in good order were prone to the following:  

  • struggled with the enormity of making all of the selections 
  • had difficulty finding items in stock (this resulted in a lot of extra work for the builder chasing the selections, confirming them, organising payment & delivery)
  • unorganised deliveries. As this also all needed to be communicated to the many different sub-contractors involved in a large-scale renovation or custom new home
  • went over budget. Knowing where to go to source great selections from reputable sales companies is important and will help with the flow of a project (unwanted delays during construction are greatly  disappointing for all involved)

Mel’s Tip – I am a very passionate believer that great plans combined with a “detailed finishes schedule” provides both builders and clients with a much smoother construction process. Read on below, where I highlight what is required and the advantages to having your plans and specifications completed by a professional and how this can lead to overall cost savings and a smoother construction journey.

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Well-considered selections and detailed plans are an important part of engaging a builder

Fixed Price Building Contracts – How to avoid variations.

All renovations and custom new home builds no matter the size, will have client choose selections that will affect the overall cost of their contract. It is is  important to know that these are usually listed as “provisional costs” or “provisional sum items”. This simply means your contract price will change either with a variation or a credit if your selections are more or less than the amount specified in the contract. 

Mel’s Tip – We recommend selecting everything in advance, especially those with a variable cost ie: Ovens, sinks, taps, handles so that you can lock that cost in with your builder. As it can be difficult for a client to estimate the total cost of plumbing fixtures and fitting or cabinetry this can lead to large variations if the amount allowed is not enough. Sometimes this is through a low allowance or a higher expectation of finish from the client. Variations are often not covered by your bank and you will need to come up with these funds yourself.

Our Project Fingal - located in Tarrigindi. You can view more of this project here

FFE (Fixtures, Finishes and Equipment) schedule combined with plans. The perfect combination.

An FFE or finishes schedule is the entry level recommendation to be provided to a builder by either an interior designer or client. 

Mel’s Tip – This stage can certainly be completed by our clients if they have the knowledge of suppliers and products as well as the time to select the hundreds of items required to be listed. However, as we have completed hundreds of specifications. We’re exceptionally good at the following:

  • we know exactly the information required 
  • we know where to get the best prices for particular brands
  • as well as sourcing quality items and warranties for these products.

If you would like to stick to a budget and have your construction process to run smoothly to schedule, we would recommend combining an “FFE schedule” with a combination of “detailed plans” required. Some examples of the plans we complete are:

  • tile plans
  • overall flooring plans
  • electrical & lighting plans (including position and placement of lights)
  • reflected ceiling plans
  • cabinetry concepts
  • external finishes
  • internal wall finishes
  • door and handle plans


It can get quite difficult to explain the placement of a tap or the direction and pattern a tile is laid. Plans provide easy to read and understand images and notes to ensure the builder and sub-contractors understand your design intention. The more complex the design, the more likely it will be lost in translation when builders and sub-contractors are trying to interpret an FFE schedule.

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Our Project Bennelong - located in Kedron. You can view more of this project here

We can create the building design plans or bring your own!

As a building design company,  we are licenced to create building design plans. However, as our team also includes interior designers and stylists, we often complete the interior design work for our clients whom already have custom home plans. 

Mel’s Tip – There are not many building designers or drafting companies who offer this service in house. And as Interior designers are not licenced in their own right to complete this work in Queensland, all of our plans are completed by qualified building designers under the supervision of our licensee.

Whether we completed your building design plans or they were completed by another architect, building designer or draftsperson, we are more than happy to help you complete your specifications and assist getting you build ready in anyway that we can.

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Our Concepts Unlimited Design Studio is a one stop shop for making great interior design selections

Our design studio – designers heaven!

In September 2021, The Concepts Unlimited Design Studio were very fortunate to relocate to a much larger commercial office space. This was specifically so that we could create a 130sqm interior design selections studio. The studio contains the latest in products from engineered and natural stone to the full suite of available cabinetry selections. We are also located next to one of the largest tile importers in Queensland and most products are within arms reach. Our suppliers are always keen to get their products in front of our clients and are always dropping in samples to ensure our clients get see these products prior to their final selection.

Mel’s Tip – Seeing how all the products work together allows you to get a good sense of how the end project will feel. Our studio is a one stop shop for making quality selections and our team can assist you in making sensible and well-considered decisions.

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Our Project Trafalga- located in Morningside. You can view more of this project here

When should you engage an interior designer?

Mel’s Tip – An interior designer can assist at any stage of the project. And there is never a bad time to have someone on board considering each and every aspect of your home alongside your building design team. Generally we would start specifications for interior design for your custom home once the “concept plans” have been created and the design is locked in.  And this can often be completed at the same time as your external consultants like town planning and engineering. We recommend allowing up to two to three months to work through all the selections and plans to ensure you are happy with not only the end product but the final budget.

Interior and exterior building specifications are an essential part of the pre-construction phase and play an important role in a smooth build process. Making the right selections with the right suppliers can save you time and money now and in the future. These selections and plans give your builder and his sub-contractors the tools to complete your renovation or custom new build quickly and easily without the need to issue variations. We are available to help for just a few hours or for an entire project, find our more at Concepts Unlimited Design