Working With A Commercial Interior Designer
Hiring a designer is not an easy decision to make. Your wishes must be turned into build-able form. They must address compliance with state and town regulations and the designer’s role is to serve as your advocate. You and your designer will need to feel comfortable with each other as you will be interacting frequently over the course of the design. Your designer should:
- Be responsive to your phone calls
- Be a good listener
- Be interested in your needs; and able to communicate with you in clear, everyday language
- Solving space problems
- Recommending appropriate consultants and coordinating the drawings
- Producing permit drawings according to state and local regulations
- Specifying fixtures, millwork and building materials
- Overseeing the work of the builder, and coordinating all technical and aesthetic aspects of your project
Having a single, complete set of architectural drawings allows you to control cost, avoid delays and changes during construction. Construction documents are a form of communication between the owner, the designer, the contractor and your local building department.
Your responsibilities as client:
- Decide on your budget at the outset. Determine both the ideal and the maximum you are willing to spend, and communicate it clearly.
- Make decisions in a timely manner. Try not to revisit or reverse decisions you already have made because it is likely your designer has already acted on them. If you do change your mind, tell your designer immediately.
- Carefully review the drawings and materials. Return them promptly with questions, comments, and changes.
Design Fee Overview
Design fees overview
- Define the scope of service carefully, including possible cost savings and extras
- Use of consulting engineers and work by others such as landscape, security, sound-system, and interior-design consultants
- During construction, your designer can provide “construction administration” (not “inspection” or “supervision”), helping to ensure the project is built according to plans and specifications. Your designer should visit the site periodically to observe construction, work out design issues and details, sort out conflicts between drawings and existing or developing conditions, review and approve your builder’s requests for payment, and keep you informed of your project’s progress.
- The fee can be established on one of the following forms:1. as a percentage of the total construction costs, which varies in proportion to the project’s size and complexity2. on an hourly-fee basis plus expenses3. as a “lump-sum” fee agreed upon in a written contract that includes the fee method, condition and pricing parameters
Every project starts with a written agreement or contract that details your expectations, your designer’s services, fees, and schedule, and all other parameters you and your architect consider important. A thorough, clear written agreement will help prevent misunderstandings or disappointments.
Ask and check references or online testimonials.