Unit of competency details

CUESET501A - Conceive, develop and realise set designs (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by CUASET501 - Design setsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Element 6 of CUESET501A removed and incorporated into CUADES502 Realise production designs. 20/Nov/2013

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 11/Nov/2010


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100103 Drama And Theatre Studies  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100103 Drama And Theatre Studies  28/Apr/2009 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to interpret the creative brief and develop/implement set designs for any production within the cultural industries.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to undertake the complete set design process, from initial conception of ideas to the final realisation of the design. As such the unit brings together the wide range of creative, technical and business skills required by a set designer.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Interpret the creative brief

1.1. Analyse the performance outline/script to determine overall production concepts

1.2. Participate in preliminary concept meetings with relevant personnel  to discuss the set requirements of the production 

1.3. Identify all relevant factors  which may determine and affect the design

1.4. Discuss and agree upon the role of the designer in the production process

2. Conduct and evaluate research

2.1. Identify and source references  which may inform the design process

2.2. Critically analyse sources and references in the context of the current design project

2.3. Consider the impacts and potential of new and emerging technologies to inform the design

2.4. Collect, collate and adapt materials to develop initial design concepts

3. Generate and assess ideas

3.1. Generate a range of ideas for the design which respond sympathetically to the brief and provide creative solutions to technical issues

3.2. Discuss ideas and collaborate with relevant personnel to ensure contribution of ideas to the initial concept

3.3. Continuously reflect on and appraise ideas for implications on cost and time, technical feasibility, and suitability to meet the brief

4. Develop and document the design

4.1. Hold ongoing discussions with relevant personnel so that additional or changed requirements and new ideas are considered and incorporated during the development of the design

4.2. Ensure that agreement is reached with relevant personnel in relation to consistent artistic interpretation

4.3. Evaluate initial concepts and select the most appropriate approach, giving consideration to budget, research findings and ongoing reflection/discussion

4.4. Develop the set designs  from the initial concepts ensuring: consistency with the style requirements of the script/production; research findings are incorporated; ideas are technically feasible and demonstrate awareness of parameters/resource constraints; and ideas demonstrate effective use of materials

4.5. Organise or undertake testing and experimentation with selected set designs

4.6. Develop an accurate record of the design , including all relevant information

5. Communicate design ideas and make amendments

5.1. Present draft set plans and specifications  to relevant colleagues in an appropriate format

5.2. Participate in the initial and ongoing evaluation of the presented designs

5.3. Negotiate and agree to modifications to the design and undertake any necessary amendments

5.4. Agree to the final designs and produce accurate and comprehensive documentation to support implementation

5.5. Present final designs, plans and specifications to all relevant personnel and confirm that all production requirements  have been met

6. Liaise with others to implement set construction

6.1. Liaise with relevant personnel to ensure that all set production requirements are met, quality standards are adhered to and work is undertaken within item, budget and technical constraints

6.2. Participate in meetings with performers to consult on designs

6.3. Participate in ongoing production meetings and evaluation of the set designs

6.4. Ensure that any design modifications are agreed, noted and acted upon

6.5. Inform relevant personnel of design changes

6.6. Update any required documentation and record and file in accordance with enterprise requirements

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills sufficient to:
  • collect and interpret creative information, scripts and images
  • negotiate with and lead teams
  • prepare/present reports and design briefs
  • visualise and interpret creative concepts
  • initiative and enterprise skills sufficient to:
  • exercise a high level of creativity and ingenuity
  • maintain design integrity
  • literacy skills sufficient to interpret and develop construction specifications
  • numeracy skills sufficient to cost and budget for set design
  • technical skills sufficient to:
  • draw, paint, make models or use other representation techniques either manually or with CAD (including perspective and technical drawing)
  • work with specialised materials
  • planning and organising skill sufficient to:
  • access raw, part-processed and processed materials and components from a range of sources and suppliers and ascertaining their suitability
  • manage information
  • manage projects and budgets
  • undertake production scheduling and human resource management
  • undertake research in relation to production design, including creative interpretation and adaptation
  • work under pressure, work to deadlines and manage time.

Required knowledge 

  • behaviour of materials, finishes, painting techniques and colours under lighting
  • construction/manufacturing methods and implementation issues associated with the realisation of sets designs
  • copyright, moral rights and intellectual property legislation in relation to production design
  • current and emerging technologies relevant to set design
  • ethical standards and protocols for designers working in the cultural industries
  • principles and elements of design and their relevance to set design
  • principles and techniques of design and script breakdown
  • production scheduling process and its interrelationship with the design process
  • properties, applications and durability of materials used in set construction
  • relationship between design elements (costume, sets, lighting, props, sound)
  • role of set design within the overall artistic direction of a production
  • role of the set designerand relationship with other production personnel
  • sources and availability of materials/equipment for set design and construction

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • ability to communicate and negotiate with a production team
  • ability to develop and realise creative set design concepts which meet production requirements and constraints
  • ability to project manage the design process
  • ability to research, interpret and adapt design concepts.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • access to a range of equipment as listed in the Range Statement
  • access to production scripts/performance outlines on which designs can be based
  • access to resources for the development and realisation of designs (including equipment, materials, financial and human resources)
  • access to suitable venues for the realisation of productions
  • access to appropriate learning and assessment support when required
  • the use of culturally appropriate processes, and techniques appropriate to the oracy, language and literacy capacity of the assessee and the work being performed.

Method of assessment 

The following assessment methods are appropriate for this unit:

  • evaluation of set designs for which candidate has been responsible in terms of meeting creative brief and resource practicality
  • evaluation of reports produced by candidate which demonstrate processes used in developing and realising creative concept
  • oral or written questioning aimed at evaluating the processes used by candidate in developing and realising the creative concept
  • review of portfolios of evidence and third party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate.

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • BSBCMM401A Make a presentation
  • CUEDES04B Establish and refine a brief
  • CUEDES05B Manage design realisation
  • CUEFIN01C Develop a budget
  • CUEFIN02C Manage a budget
  • CUEIND02BResearch and evaluate theatrical references to inform industry practice
  • CUESET07C Use research, innovation and experimentation to create sets
  • CUESET10B Construct mechanical sets
  • CUETEM01C Coordinate production operations
  • CUVCOR09B Select and apply drawing techniques and media to represent andcommunicate the concept
  • FNSICGEN402B Participate in negotiations.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Relevant personnel  may include:

  • choreographer
  • designer
  • director (art, photography, technical)
  • floor manager
  • performer
  • producer
  • production designer/manager
  • set construction/production personnel
  • set supervisor/manager
  • specialist/technical staff

Production  may include:

  • animated productions
  • commercials
  • documentaries
  • feature films
  • filmed events or performances
  • live or pre-recorded television productions
  • music video
  • short films
  • television productions of any type (e.g. music, drama, comedy, variety, sport)

Factors  may include:

  • available expertise
  • available resources (human, financial, physical)
  • available technology
  • budget
  • director's approach/instructions
  • level of assistance available during implementation and construction
  • needs of other production areas
  • regulations
  • space/venue specifications or restrictions
  • style/period/nature/scale of production
  • timelines

References  may include:

  • collages
  • computer databases
  • contact with historical associations
  • digital images
  • libraries
  • manual files
  • models
  • musical scores
  • newspapers, reference books, journals, texts
  • paintings and illustrations
  • photographs
  • scripts (adapted or original)
  • sketches
  • talking and listening to experts
  • technical production drawings
  • use of the internet
  • watching documentary films and videos
  • writings of the period

Set designs  may include:

  • automated and animatronic devices
  • back drops
  • cycloramas
  • drops
  • electrical and mechanical winches
  • flats
  • flooring and floor cladding
  • flown pieces
  • hydraulics
  • large props (e.g. furniture)
  • lifts
  • pneumatics
  • rakes
  • revolves
  • road cases, boxes, crates for storage/transportation
  • rostra
  • scaffolding
  • soft drapes
  • special effects sets
  • stairs
  • traps
  • treads
  • trucks

Accurate record of the design  may include:

  • collages
  • colour illustrations
  • fabrics
  • material swatches
  • mock-ups
  • models
  • photographs
  • plans (computer or manually generated)
  • samples
  • scale models of sets
  • sketches
  • specifications
  • technical drawings

Set plans and specifications  may include:

  • construction materials:
  • adhesives
  • cloths (canvas, gauze, nessle, wool, silk, velour, synthetic fabric)
  • fabrics
  • fasteners
  • fibreglass
  • leather
  • masonite
  • metal products (e.g. bars, tubes, sheets)
  • mouldable materials
  • moulded or cast metal
  • paper products
  • plaster
  • plastic
  • polystyrene
  • thermoplastic
  • timber/timber products
  • construction techniques:
  • ageing
  • fabrication
  • gluing
  • metalwork (e.g. cutting, welding, brazing)
  • moulding
  • painting
  • sculpting (and other shaping methods)
  • timber construction
  • woodworking

Production requirements  may include:

  • occupational, public health & safety requirements:
  • commonwealth, state and territory OHS regulations
  • local government construction legislation and regulation
  • national and international standards, guidelines and codes of practice
  • production environments:
  • on location (interior, exterior)
  • outside broadcast
  • stage/theatre/venue
  • studio

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

Competency field

Competency field 

Visual communication - sets

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units