Building design in Harare, Zimbabwe

Building design is the process of interpreting the client's requirements for a new building and translating them into drawings that a contractor can subsequently construct.

Design Brief

The client's requirements given to the design team can be very detailed or quite vague, but should generally include:
- functional and operational requirements of the proposed development
- strategic goals
- economic operating parameters


As the building by-laws are becoming ever more complex and technical requirements on clients more detailed, so the design process has become more demanding. As a consequence, even the smallest of building projects involve a number of different designers and consultants.
Generally, the designers most commonly required would involve:
- Architect
- Structural engineer
- Services engineer
Depending on the complexity of the projects, a quantity surveyor to manage cost, an interior designer to address the final internal finishes and look, a landscaper designer to address the gardens and exteriors, and many more could be necessary as well.

Developing the Design

The design process goes through a series of iterations, progressing through several stages through which the client's brief is reexamined, options weighed out, and complexity added to the design. Typically the stages are the following:
- Schematic design
- Design development
- Construction drawings
More detailed information about the various stages can be found at Harare architectural design.

Planning permission and Building By-laws

Once completed all design work must undergo approval from the local planning authority in order to be built in Zimbabwe. Clients are keen to secure planning permission as soon as possible in order to minimise abortive design costs. Typically the design team lead will submit all the design drawings to the local council for approval before the construction works are carried out.
The Harare local city council building inspectors go through the design documentation and certify that it complies with local planning guidelines and abides by the Zimbabwe Building By-Laws. A Building permit will be granted through an approved stamp on the submitted design drawings, and these can then be used for construction purposes
Currently, the local city councils require drawings to be submitted in hard copies, but there is some consideration to move to an electronic format, more in line with the remainder of the world.


Building developments are complex and present a host of opportunities to implement sustainable approaches and the impact on the environment can be significant. The various aspects of design that can impact sustainability range from:
- waste management
- water management
- energy use and source
- embodied energy
- use of harmful materials
- material sources
- travel and transport
- pollution
See Sustainability for more details.


17125 Teign Rd
Harare, Zimbabwe


Phone: +263 (24) 2870 232