The decision to build initiates the development process. After taking account of all the factors it represents a decision to embark on a built solution to satisfy the organisation’s strategic objectives. It is a decision that senior managers and members of the design team should be aware of, reflect on and consider why the decision to build was made in the first place. By understanding the history of the strategic decision the design team may be better able to respond to client requirements and opportunities by providing the most appropriate building. In practice, most participants in the design process are often divorced from the decision within the client organisation and may lack the necessary background information that informed, guided or forced the choice of a building solution. There is a dearth of well‐documented material and literature on this key decision in the development process. The literature is sparse and that which does exist often ignores or only includes as a secondary issue the decision to build. The attitude is often one where the decision is generally accepted as a given, not to be revisited or amended by later players. Presents some key findings from the research into the project inception and the decision to build process, with particular emphasis on the environmental factors that influence the process and the product.