Understanding Your Role in the Design-Build Process
You’re going to undertake a home remodeling project and you’ve settled on a Design-Build Firm to execute the work and turn your dream into reality. How do you help to ensure the project goes well and the finished product is everything you hoped for? Hiring a reputable, established firm is the most important first step. But, understanding your role in the design-build process is also vital to a successful outcome. Following are some simple ways to help you to achieve the most out of your design team and ultimately, your finished project!
- First, read your agreement, retainer, or contract thoroughly. Then, read it again! Know it. Keep it handy, referring to it often during the process to make sure you completely understand the specifics of what is being provided, what you can expect, and what you will need to make decisions for. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often we are asked questions that have already been answered in the agreement or how often we hear about client expectations that are covered clearly in the agreement as “not included”.
When speaking specifically about the design process, it is especially important to read the fine print, because many clients simply don’t understand what designers do. They have an idea or image from watching HGTV or looking through Houzz. However, there is so much more to the design process than simply picking out materials and colors and/or laying out plans and making things pretty. Once clients have a better idea of the myriad of tasks designers undertake for a typical project, they will have a better understanding of what the team is doing behind the scenes.
- Have trust! Remember that your designer (and the firm) has years of education, training, and experience with projects very much like yours. Try to embrace the fact that you might not possess the same level of knowledge as the professionals do. Whatever you do, do not micromanage or project your thoughts about what the process should look like. This will effectively diminish creativity as well as enthusiasm for your project. If you have an open mind and allow the design team to provide you with their vision of your space, you will be tapping into that experience and aesthetic, which will always serve you well and get your project off to a better start.
- Be decisive. Your project will come with a limited amount of design time allocated to it, so try to make decisions quickly (after all, you are getting ideas and recommendations from professionals) and stick with them. Do not waffle and change your mind often; this will delay the project and cost money. Too many changes also get confusing and most often result in errors, sometimes costly!
- Learn to let go! This again relates back to trust, but if a client can avoid over analyzing every little detail, your project will progress more smoothly and efficiently. Requiring too much explanation, analysis and discussion breaks down the momentum of the project flow and needlessly depletes the allocated design time and forward progress of your project.
Designers and other team members always respect their clients, their business, their vision and their budget. When clients understand their project scope and agreement details, trust the team and are decisive, the project has a much higher success rate and clients are almost always happier with the results!