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Contents of a functional brief

The following is a general description of the content, which should be included in a functional brief. As each capital project will be unique, additional project specific information may be required.

In some instances, a generic brief may be available for a particular facility, e.g. community care units. For such projects the functional brief should be based on the generic brief.

In some projects, the functional brief may provide similar information to a blanning brief. However, the information provided should be in far greater detail. The functional brief should enclose all topics below.

Functional brief overview
Functional brief overview

The feasibility study is based on the functional brief findings and outcomes.

A feasibility study should undertake the following activities:

Step 1: Review of master plan findings

The master plan study is to be reviewed and recommendations confirmed. This is particularly relevant if the following has occurred:

  • there has been a considerable delay between the completion of the master plan study and commencement of the feasibility study
  • significant change in government policy
  • change in service needs / demographics
  • change in site, conditions and / or changes to the health services’ / agency’s service and / or business plans
  • ff any amendments to the master plan study are to be incorporated into the feasibility study they must be clearly identified, including reasons for the changes endorsed by the project control group (PCG) and approved by the department.

Step 2: Analysis of functional brief

The consultant analyses the functional brief, refer to the master plan studies guideline to ensure that the services to be provided and the manner in which they are to be delivered is completely understood.

The analysis will require a comprehensive appreciation of the functional requirements and relationships of the various programs and activities, functional relationship diagrams and identification of key functional needs. The functional brief should be the source of this information.

Should the consultant require additional information or clarification, the PCG should be notified immediately and requested to provide the appropriate response.

The functional brief may need to be refined / confirmed following this analysis phase and the final form should be endorsed by the PCG prior to proceeding to the next phase.

Step 3: Area allocation model

An area allocation model incorporating the space utilisation analysis should be undertaken, including frequency of use and potential for multiple uses between programs. Refer to the table, ‘Example of an area allocation model.’

Step 4: Confirmation of site influences

The consultant should investigate and confirm relevant information on site and location issues, which may impact on development options. These include:

  • access
  • public transportation services
  • topography
  • site services
  • authority requirements
  • planning schemes and requirements
  • existing buildings
  • orientation
  • views
  • adjoining developments
  • easements.

Where the selection of a new site is required, the feasibility study will need to confirm the preferred site as identified in the master plan process.

Example of area allocation model

Functional areaActivity / spaceNumber of peopleProposed area M²Comments
Community health workers Office 12 84 Includes counsellors, community development worker, community nurse, home withdrawal nurse.
  Speech pathology 4 15 Treatment room with sound proofing/isolation.
  Interview room 6 36 3 No. at 12m² each.
  Intake room 3 10 Near main entrance with supervision.
  Store room - 25 Can be two rooms.
  Telephone room 4 12 4 phones / desks / sound booths accessible from main work room.
  Office 4 12 Nurse manager not near main waiting area.
  Office 3 15 Liaison / continence / palliative care nurses
  Staff work room 13 65 District nurses 5m² each.
  Sub Total   274  
  Circulation (25%)   68  
  TOTAL   342  
Clinical Physiotherapy / massage 4 3 Share includes exercise area.
  Podiatry 1 24 1 chair and work bench.
  Occupational therapy 2 24 Includes small training room.
  Office 4 28 4 staff at any one time.
  Treatment room 3 15 Shared by all.
  Consulting room 4 14 Shared by visiting medical specialists.
  Store room - 20 Locate near external access for staff to move equipment to and from vehicles.
  Sub total   155  
  Circulation (35%)   54
  TOTAL   209  

Step 5: Identification of viable development options

A number of viable operational and detailed physical planning options should be identified. These options should be based on the master plan study outcomes and other information.

The options should be developed to such a level of detail to enable a full comparison. The level of information for each option should include:

  • concept site and floor plans
  • impact statement on site and engineering services
  • site conditions and existing buildings
  • if appropriate, the potential to incorporate existing buildings giving due consideration to the existing building condition/fabric survey recommendations
  • construction implications
  • staged works.

Step 6: Evaluation of options

An evaluation of each option is to be undertaken, including a full assessment of:

  • operational efficiencies
  • physical planning benefits
  • capital costs
  • life cycle costs
  • recurrent costs
  • future developments
  • asset maintenance and disposal potential
  • accessibility
  • quality of service delivery
  • construction implications
  • implementation program
  • staging of works/disruption to services
  • risks associated with the project.

The option evaluation recommends the preferred option(s) and also provides a detailed justification. PCG approval is required prior to the refinement of the preferred option(s).

Step 7: The report

A feasibility study report is to be prepared which documents the finding and outcomes of Steps 1 to 6 and also incorporates the following information:

  • Executive summary - summation of the project objectives, key issues and recommendations on a maximum of 2-3 pages.
  • Conditions brief and design summary - Summary of existing building conditions, Functional and design brief requirements and the design philosophy.
  • Confirmation of preferred site.
  • Options - drawings and statements on all options identified clearly outlining the preferred option.
  • Full scope of works - describe all additional works which may be associated with the development of the preferred option(s) including:
    • major works
    • site and engineering services
    • landscaping
    • construction staging costs
    • temporary accommodation
    • hazardous material (e.g. Asbestos) removal
    • demolition
    • soil contamination removal
    • fire safety
    • impact on support services
    • equipment
    • heritage issues.
  • Capital costs - a cost plan B must be developed for the preferred option. It will be prepared on an elemental basis by a quantity surveyor. It should comprise all costs associated with the project including:
    • asset acquisition
    • building works
    • external works and services
    • building services
    • construction staging costs
    • ESD and infrastructure costs
    • furniture/equipment
    • special equipment
    • fees
    • contingency allowances
    • special factors
    • locality allowance
    • delay allowance for escalation and rise and fall
    • asset realisation
    • commissioning costs.
  • Recurrent costs - a statement of the recurrent cost implications of the preferred option, including both operational and asset costs:
    • Operational
      • staffing
      • vehicles
      • support services
      • other ancillary operating costs.
    • Assets
      • temporary accommodation/services
      • energy
      • maintenance
      • commissioning costs.
  • Drawings - development plans of all options being considered and refinement of the preferred option(s) to concept plan level. (On small simple projects scale 1:100, on other projects scale 1:200. Drawings should clearly identify the scope of new and refurbished works, future expansion, surplus assets and staging of works).
  • Implementation program - develop a proposed timetable for implementation of the project including staging of works, and associated cash flow projection that incorporates any time constraints, which may be imposed by associated works or other relevant factors such as approval processes. (Note: the approval process varies for projects procured under Partnerships Victoria).
  • Procurement method - provide a preliminary statement of the preferred procurement methods considered applicable for the project (e.g. traditional lump sum, construction management, design and construct).
  • Analysis and evaluation – The report should provide an analysis and assessment of all viable options. The evaluation process should outline the criteria for assessment and the justification for the preferred option should be clearly articulated.
  • Strategic business case - The feasibility study report will provide a summary of the outcomes of The strategic business case.
  • Preliminary business case - Undertaken following the completion of the schematic design. However, there may be circumstances necessitating the preparation of this report following the completion of the feasibility study phase. The requirements of the preliminary business case report are as outlined in the Department of Treasury & Finance website under the gateway heading.

Report format requirements

The complete feasibility study report format requirements are detailed in the consultant’s checklist, which is supplied in a word format and is to be included in the feasibility study report.

Quality assurance

The report is to be reviewed and quality assurance checked by the project manager prior to submission. The document is to be completed, certified and signed by the principal consultant and endorsed and signed by the consultant project manager.

Functional relationship diagram
Functional relationship diagram

General design considerations

The health service / agency should provide a general description of the design issues they believe reflect the agency’s philosophy and community expectations. The description may include:

  • design approach (residential, commercial)
  • preferred aesthetics / built environment (traditional, modern, historic)
  • materials / colours
  • use of external areas / landscaping
  • orientation
  • degree of privacy required.

Equipment needs

A description of any special equipment required should be provided in addition to the general equipment information provided in the functional brief. Such equipment includes CAT scanners, MRIs, etc.

Recurrent cost statement

A statement on both current and proposed operational budgets and recurrent expenditure is to be provided. This is to include funding sources such as Casemix, CAM SAM, unit based, and other funds.

Life cycle costs

A statement of the extent of life cycle costing analysis required should be identified. This will vary depending on the size and complexity of the project.

Life cycle costs for the operation and maintenance of the assets will include items such as energy, cleaning, repairs and replacement.