How to Choose the Right Consultant
Designing and procuring an interior is a team effort and choosing the right interior professional is key to achieving a success solution.
Interior professionals can differ on three levels, firstly by their design style, secondly by how they execute the project and thirdly by scope of what they design.
What about Personal Style?
Most interior professionals have a distinctive style that is evident in their portfolio but to get the best idea of what you prefer you should try and see the work of few designers before making your selection.
Process of Design?
With regard to the process of design, an interior architect / designer should be able to walk you through their design process and explain exactly what will be achieved at each stage. The standard stages for a project are as follows and you can choose to engage your interior professional for some or all of them:
- Fee Proposal and Appointment
- Briefing Stage, when we establish what exists and what is required
- Outline Design, when we establish a direction for the design
- Scheme Design, when we flesh out the design proposal agreed at design stage
- Planning (New Build, Large Extensions, Change of Use for commercial buildings)
- Fire Certificate (Commercial Buildings Only)
- Detail Design Stage, when construction information is provided for the builder
- Tender Stage, when the job is costed and trades people are sourced
- Project Management Stage, when the project is on site
The title of an interior professional should held clarify the area of expertise but there are always variations so don’t assume ask them to explain.
In addition to the items above, here are a few questions to ask when interviewing an interior professional
- Have done a similar project in the past?
- Have any written references or can i speak to an existing client?
- Have you Professional Indemnity Insurance (PI)? PI insures the designer against any non malicious errors or omissions.
- Who will be running the project on a day to day basis?
- How will expenses be charged?
- How is your fee structured?
Design only interior professionals tend to charge an hourly rate and pass all trade discounts / commissions onto the client whereas design and build interior professionals tend to add a mark-up to the build cost to cover their services along with a nominal design fee or hourly rate.
- Do you offer design and build services or simply design services?
Design only professionals may offer project management services, which involves monitor the status and quality of the work on site and reporting back to you or your project manager for your action. However design and build consultants will provide contract management services, which is the day-to-day running of a site work.
- When does you expect payment?
- What other, if any, consultants will be needed on the project?