This is the most fundamentally important phase of any design and build project. It is the foundation upon which rests the end result. The client is heavily involved and good communication between the designer and client is crucial to determine the requirements.

The job of the designer during this phase is to work closely with the client to thoroughly detail a design brief and then propose solutions to implement it. The design brief itself develops and evolves to detail items such as the type, size and style of boat, operational parameters and requirements, speed, range, accommodation, usage, construction material and technique, budget and general expectations. 

A useful procedure CLD have developed to aid this process is to define all of the requirements and then assign each one an order of merit. This is then used to give direction and focus to the design in areas where conflicting requirements are evident. This concept design phase is an iterative process that must take into account practical reality.

During the concept design phase CLD produce many sketches, drawings and renderings where appropriate, so that the client can visualise the layout and aesthetics as the concept evolves. Toward the end of this phase a basic set of study plans, written specification, a weight study, performance analysis and cost estimates can be generated. This gives everyone enough information to evaluate whether it is feasible to proceed to the preliminary design phase, have a re-think, start again or simply walk away. The cost of producing a concept design is relatively low.

Without a doubt, the concept design phase is the most creative and intensive of all. Some compromises may have to be made along the way but the client’s initial expectations can generally be accomodated. 

If the concept design is suitable and the decision is made to proceed to the ‘preliminary design / bid package’ phase, it is usual at this time to create a formal design agreement that details the scope of work and design office deliverables.


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