Why Internal Elevations are Critical for your Home

“The key to a good project is a good design”.

Internal elevations and joinery design drawings are critical to the success of your home design, and its overall outcome. Not having them is instructing your builder to navigate without a map. Ultimately it can lead to expensive mistakes and design disappointments that could have been avoided.

Internal elevations show detailed joinery design, placement of taps, basins, accessories, shower niches, handle details, and anything else that is visible front on (opposed to a floorplan showing an aerial view).

It’s an area that homeowners often feel they don’t need, as they feel they can easily instruct the cabinet maker or builder in this area, which can lead to lots of issues on site, and ultimately lead to miscommunication and a less than ideal outcome.

So, what exactly are internal elevations anyway?

Internal Elevations are drawings that show the detail of a wall as if you are facing it front on. Typically you would have four internal elevations for each room showing each wall and what you can see on that wall as if you are facing it. They detail the size, placement, and design and construction notes, which can include the following (depending on the room);-

  • Joinery design – location, benchtop thickness, handle detail and location, shadow lines and other details, floating height, size of cabinetry fronts and profile, shelf backing detail, appliance location, cabinetry type (pull out, retractable, push to close, bi-fold etc), opening mechanism
  • Shower niche location, size and edging finish
  • Tile layout – the extent of tiling, start and finish lines, and tile sizes.
  • Shaver cabinets and mirrors – size and exact placement, recessed, opening mechanism
  • Tapwear, mixes and showers – type, location (eg, wall or surface mounted).
  • Location of power points
  • Recessed details or fixing type
  • Location of any noggings
  • Drain location, size, and type
  • Towel rails and toilet rails height, size, and location
  • Location of any heating or cooling ducts
  • Skirting tile extent
  • Fireplace details, finish, and placement.
  • Plus so much more depending on the design

Here is an example of a Kitchen Design showing internal elevations and joinery design;

Can you image going to build and not having these drawings?

Why are Internal Elevations so important?

Internal elevations allow you to have an understanding of how the proposed spaces and rooms will look. They can really help you visualise and assist you in making decisions on the location of cupboards, windows, doors and power points.

By knowing the position of all the critical items in the room, it means that other dependant decisions can also be made, such as the appropriate wall finishes to be used in the correct locations, and the extent of tiling around a bath, sink or window.

Fair too often we see people with only floorplans showing the aerial view of their cabinetry layout, or internal elevations with minimal design detail which opens up so much room for error, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding about expectations on the final outcome. Or we see cabinetry plugged into space without any design consideration or thinking about the functionality of the space, or what the owner’s actually need. It’s a costly exercise to get wrong.

Although the minimum may be enough to generally build your home, the lack of good internal elevations leads to unnecessary guesswork on site for the builder, owner, and contractors, as everyone is looking for answers on how to build and detail certain elements of your home.

If plans are issued with little or no specific detailing, it leaves it up to the builder and the owner to sort out on-site what is needed or required with the process stressful, time-consuming, and overwhelming, with the results likely to be disappointing and requiring a costly rework.

Some homeowners believe that they can instruct the builder and cabinet maker on all the joinery details. Some homeowners believe that they can instruct the builder and cabinet maker on all the joinery details, which often happens at the build stage, with the frame already completed. The knock on effect of joinery design on others areas such as windows, or doors are generally too late to change at this stage.

Ultimately internal elevations with well detailed joinery design removes the guesswork for everyone working on your home – including you!

They allow you to manage, assess, tweak and finalise exactly what is being built before it is built. This offers a huge advantage in many respects;-

  1. Fixed price quoting – the builder knows what they are quoting on
  2. Build accuracy – the builder knows exactly what he needs to build and what is expected of him. He can see the detail and not have to guess or assume anything.
  3. Less stress – all details are finalised at plan stage so you’re not being rushed to make decisions and being asked things you don’t know enough about.
  4. Minimise overwhelm – It’s all been decided well before the builder starts.
  5. Manage costs – able to make changes if needed, before building starts.
  6. Mitigate mistakes – everything is detailed on the drawings so all parties know what the is required of them. And you’ve had time to explore options with your designer to make the right decisions.
  7. Time – minimise the amount of calls from the builder to seek clarification.
  8. Holistic – when done well, internal elevations may show impacts on spaces or other rooms and being able to have conversations up front to make tweaks and changes for the best overall outcome.

An example of Bathroom Elevations, with lots of detail on where everything is to go. As you can see there is no guesswork here.

How do we do Internal Elevations at White Pebble Interiors?

First, we start with a detailed briefing session to understand the design direction we need to take. What’s important to you, what functionality requirements you have, along with the look and feel. This becomes the foundation of what we deliver for you.

For kitchens, we have a detailed document we call a ‘Kitchen Deep Dive’ that allows us to understand your lifestyle, how you use your kitchen, what you need to access frequently, what you need to store, and spaces you need for food preparation, cooking and whatever else that will enables your kitchen to work for you, just as you need it.

After carefully analysing the details of the brief, and the consideration of the space, we set about designing with functionality and flow in mind, and how that will meet your needs.

We think, collaborate and consult with you so we design something that will fulfil your functionality requirements and your vision. It’s easy to fill a space with cabinetry, but it’s the thinking behind the design that sets homes apart and make them function in the best way possible.

We discuss our Design Rationale with you, highlighting why the design is the way it is, what factors were considered in our approach, and how certain aspects may work better in some layouts than others.

This arms you with the information you need to make informed decisions. The right decisions for you and your lifestyle.

All our internal elevations are presented with detailed dimensions and notes so they are easy to understand, for you and the builder. We add extra notes, to highlight and clarify certain details, so there is no room for misunderstanding along the way.

We offer fixed price Internal Elevations and Joinery Designs Packages for bathrooms, kitchens or laundries, right through to a whole home including wardrobes, outdoor kitchens, studies, living areas and fireplaces.

Don’t leave it to chance. Internal elevations one of the most critical investments you’ll make for your Forever Home.

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