Design & Construct

Liveable Authentic Bespoke (LAB) Design is a local design company that is collaborating closely with Build by the Sea to provide a premium Design/Construct service. The synergetic relationship between these two companies was born through shared values and means that clients have the benefit of having a Designer and Builder who consult throughout the entire Design/Construct process to deliver a superior product within budget.


Build by the Sea and LAB Design are very flexible and can adjust their services as required by the client and their project. Any or all of the below services can be offered to our clients:

  • Design Brief – produced from meeting with clients and questionnaires,
  • 3D concepts,
  • 3D realistic renderings (produced for each concept),
  • 3D panoramas,
  • DA level drawings,
  • Construction level drawings,
  • Construction Documentation,
  • Assistance with interior finishes selection,
  • Passive House thermal modelling and design (see below for more information).

Design Vision

The vision is to improve the quality of Australian homes through smarter design. A passion for quality is one of the shared values between our two companies. They are passionate about producing designs using Passive House Design principles for residential buildings that have superior performance with respect to Liveability without costing significantly more. They define a liveable house as one that is comfortable to live in; costs little to run; is low maintenance, is healthy to live in and is aesthetically pleasing.

We believe that the Liveability of a home can be improved in the design phase of a build regardless of the budget. The thinking of your budget extends beyond the purchase cost of the home and considers the ongoing costs in terms of energy and water usage and maintenance of the home.

Additionally, Build by the Sea and LAB Design feel that it is important that your Liveable Home should also be beautiful, innovative and unique to you and the climate and location you live.

Design Methods

LAB Design use Passive House Design principles for the full spectrum of low energy homes, that is, those which just meet the minimum standard as required by the Australian Building Code through to meeting the gold plated standard of Liveability: Certified Passive House (Passivhaus). Where your house is on the spectrum, is determined by your choice, desired indoor climate and budget.

Scott, from LAB Design, trained in London to become a Certified Passivhaus Designer, and is currently the only Certified Passive House Designer located between Sydney and Brisbane. Passive House is a German designed performance based method of designing homes so that certified homes use very little energy (potentially 90% less) to keep the home comfortable. It is the only internationally recognised, performance-based energy standard in construction and is spreading across the globe as a proven and effective method of design in all climates.

Passive House Design involves orientating your home with reference to the sun and shade accordingly, insulating the home for the specific climate, eliminating as much as possible air leaks using breathable membranes, and utilizing natural breezes for cross ventilation and where required mechanical ventilation (fans, air conditioning, heat recovery ventilation). Water harvesting and storage and hot and cold water usage are assessed during the design phase. The benefits of this type of design not only include the potential for vastly reduced energy bills but also for your health. Windows and doors are opened to enjoy our fantastic climate on the Coffs Coast, however, when homes are shut up due to cold, hot or wet weather, air is constantly changed and filtered which has proven benefits for allergy sufferers or those with respiratory illnesses (mould prevention is also a plus). LAB Design recommend using double glazed windows and a ducted heat recovery ventilation system for the most cost beneficial solution for your comfort.

LAB Design use a combination of Passivhaus software (PHPP, Flixo) and REVIT (architectural 3D modeling software) and their knowledge to assess the performance of your house and adjust as required and according to your budget. It has been shown that fully Certified Passive Houses can be achieved within 5-10% more than the cost of a house built to minimum standard.