Not familiar with the project process? Get to grips with the fundamentals here…

Teo + Perperis is proud to offer a comprehensive portfolio of professional services to help you achieve the outcomes you desire, whether your needs are in low or medium density residential, in retail and hospitality, or in office or community spaces. You may engage Teo + Perperis for any service or combination of services that suits your needs and budget.

Sketch plans

A portfolio of sketch plans is the first stage of any construction, extension or renovation project. As the name implies, these are initial plans of what is proposed, and can include:

  • Floor plans (line diagrams) showing rooms, walls, doors, windows, major fixtures, steps, paths, garages and other key features from above
  • Illustrations of elevation (side views) and possibly streetscape (general views) of what the completed project is expected to look like
  • Interior and/or exterior 3D perspective views
  • Any necessary site development and landscaping plans
  • Any additional required materials such as signage or traffic-flow details

The starting point is a joint visit to your site, and discussing your initial thoughts for what you’d like to accomplish. We discuss your needs, dreams and lifestyle (including any changes you’d like to make), to help develop and inform the broad design concepts. We work in partnership with you from the big picture to the more specific.

Sometimes we may develop and present to you two or more different concepts, though this depends on the nature of the work and your initial brief: sometimes more than one schema will address all your desires and concerns really well, and sometimes only one will do.

Once we’ve discussed and agreed on the big picture, we then work out major structural details like the exact dimensions of rooms and placement of doors, stairs and windows. At this stage, fixtures and finishes are not determined…that’s developed in the details plan.


You may engage Teo + Perperis for any service or combination of services that suits your needs and budget.


Town planning

One of the questions we are asked most often is “will we need a town planning permit for our development”? While each case is different, there are some general principles which give an indication. Most residential housing projects in a Residential 1 zone do not require a town planning permit (a planning permit issued by your local council).  However, you will probably need a town planning permit if:

  • You propose to build on a small block in an inner-urban area
  • Your property is covered by a Town Planning Overlay (covering issues like heritage, flooding and landscape) which is applied at the discretion of your local council
  • You intend to develop multiple dwellings on your block

If required, the local council will assess the development plans according to their guidelines and issue a planning permit. The process can take up to six months, depending on the complexity of the project. Your council may request modifications to meet their interpretation of the guidelines, or object to the plan.

We always aim to work collaboratively with, rather than antagonistically towards, local council. It usually results in the best and fastest outcome.

Teo + Perperis has extensive experience working collaboratively with councils to ensure that designs and plans not only meet your needs, but are likely to promptly achieve a planning permit if required. Unlike some architecture firms who take a combative approach with councils, we liaise early on and meet regularly with your council so that they are part of the process and help guide and inform the final plans. We have a strong record of successful approvals.

Should your project be complex and your council prove unwilling to issue a planning permit which you (and we) believe is entirely reasonable under the regulations and their planning scheme, we can represent you at VCAT to appeal their objection. We may also, on your instruction, engage an independent town planner as an expert witness at the hearing.

Town planning schemes are guidelines and can be complex, vague and inconsistent. We are highly experienced at negotiating a project through the maze of bureaucracy.
— Purdey Teh, Architect

Building permits

All building works, except the most minor, require a building permit. Building permits are issued by your building surveyor. We prepare documents and drawings to submit to your building surveyor. We also coordinate other consultants you engage such as a geotechnical engineer (soil tests), structural engineer and energy-rater to provide other required input for the building permit.

We ensure that the work of the consultants is consistent with the architectural design and is cost-effective. Structural engineer input in particular must be checked for consistency with the architectural design.

We regularly work with a number of soil tester and structural engineers, building surveyors and other consultants: ones that we have found provide excellent service for a competitive fee.

As part of your construction project we’re happy to recommend professionals for your consideration: they are hired by you rather than us.

In addition, we work closely with structural consultants to ensure that the structural aspects of the building meet all required standards at the same time as reflecting the design objectives and project budget.

To provide superior construction results we provide design details beyond the minimum required, like box gutter and window details, identification of specific building materials and mortar colours, and so on.


Detailed plans / tender documents

Once you have obtained your building permit you are then authorised to build. However, we encourage you to create detailed plans for accurate costings (so you can compare apples with apples when you obtain quotes) and to inform the construction project. We strongly recommend that all details are spelled out in the building contract with your builder. Failing to do so up front only leads to disputes and difficulties later on.

We provide a range of detailed planning services and you can select the ones you need:

  • Interior and exterior colour schemes
  • Kitchen and bathroom designs, with details including the selection of appliances and fittings
  • Details of stairs
  • Lighting design and layout
  • Selection of flooring materials and finishes
  • A harmonised storyboard of the desired finishings for your approval
  • Full documentation of details

Armed with the appropriate details documentation you may then approach several builders to provide quotes for construction. The details documentation also serves as a point of checking to ensure that what the builder has constructed for you is what you contracted for.


Cheng & John discuss a client-finishings storyboard
Cheng & John discuss a client-finishings storyboard


Once you have your building permit, and preferably your detailed plans, it’s time to obtain quotes from builders. You may obtain quotes yourself, or engage Teo + Perperis to obtain them on your behalf.

We maintain a register of preferred builders we know from experience do quality and timely work, and recommend that a minimum of four quotes are obtained. Should you have a builder you would like to include in the tender list, we are happy to do so after a due diligence check including references.

We also discuss the project with the builder on your behalf, and insist that each tenderer visit the site to ensure that they are comfortable with both site and neighbouring conditions and that their quote will be realistic and accurate.

Interior design

Teo + Perperis is one of the few truly integrated architecture and interior design firms in Melbourne. Our experts work directly together, in-house, on client projects to help deliver you a brilliant rather than a half-hearted result. We ensure that the structural architecture and the interior design work in harmony to create and enhance living and working spaces.

Nevertheless, if you require only interior design services without architectural design, we’re delighted to accommodate just these specific needs, too. Interior design needs are common not only in homes, but in office, shop and hospitality fit-outs.

In addition to light (both natural and artificial), space, fittings and finishes, we can develop an integrated design plan including a selection of furniture (and its placement), appliances (such as heating), fabric and window furnishings for maximum interior comfort and style.

Whether your tastes are for a gracious heritage interior at home, an eclectic retail space, or a cutting-edge lobby or workspace, we have the experience and expertise to bring your dreams to life.

Contract administration

If you are not entirely comfortable with or don’t have the substantial time required to administer your building contract, you can engage Teo + Perperis to administer it professionally for you. We look after your interests at all times.

Our services include:

  • Working closely with your builder to monitor project progress
  • Periodic site inspections to ensure that work is being completed according to the design details specified in the contract
  • Actively partnering with you and your builder to resolve any queries or small issues that arise during construction, including answering technical questions
  • Assessing contractor work and requests fairly (unlike some architects who seem to be combative towards builders, which itself creates problems)
  • Advising you when we believe a project milestone has been successfully completed and progress payment is warranted

Contract administration is not to be confused with project management, which is the responsibility of your builder.

Many of our clients find peace of mind in engaging us to attend to the technical and relationship issues that are so paramount to a successful and timely construction project. Part of this assurance is that the contract you sign when engaging Teo + Perperis for contract administration is ABIC. This contract can provide greater clarity and protections to you than other contracts you may be asked to sign directly by a builder.