Design Dream Team: Four Obvious Things to Consider When Planning your Residence

This blog posting describes four important things to keep in mind prior to hiring an architect or any other building professional.

Design is not a contact sport, but teamwork requires moving together in the right direction. Hiring your design team can be simple or complex, depending on the requirements you have. But, the guiding consideration should be the end product. Does your team have the experience and knowledge base to be able to compete the work you want to have done, in a timely way and for the budget you have determined?

It is critical that you assess each individual in light of your three primary objectives (above). So, let’s get started with these 4 tips to building your Residential Design Team:

  1. Make a master list of people you are considering; get references, try to see examples of their work, and talk to others who have used their services in the past. Now is not the time to be timid about your job, because the team that you assemble can either make or break your project. Insure that each of the players on your team have the appropriate licenses (and that those licenses have not expired) and that there are no judgments pending against them from the state board of their respective professions.
  2. Examine websites and other references that may be available related to the work they have performed. If the designer is new, and you are willing to ‘go along for the ride’ of their gaining more experience with your work, insure that they cut you a deal on the price of their work. After all, you wouldn’t want an inexperienced surgeon performing brain surgery on you, right? It may be a helpful experience for the person you hire, but if the person is a novice, the experience may be more harrowing for you. It is our conviction that you shouldn’t hire someone fresh out of design school. You need to assemble a team of professionals who have the experience to pull off your work with the least frustrations possible. Because of the amount of money that is possibly involved, it is easy for frustrations to occur. You want to spend as little time as possible on the incompetence of others, and you therefore need to assess their competency from the start. After all, it is your project.
  3. Your team will most likely consist of at least the following persons: Architect, Interior Designer, Engineers as necessary, Landscape Architect, General Contractor, the general contractor’s supervisor or foreman for the job, and the General Contractor’s subs. There are some companies who have a ‘one stop shop’ – called ‘design – build’ – and although there is one point of responsibility, if the ‘one stop’ is inaccessible when there is a problem, then the problems can be magnified. Check out the company as much as possible in advance so that all of your bases are covered.
  4. Does the Architect communicate the design intent to you in a way that you understand? I have heard it many times, where a client expresses frustration because he or she doesn’t understand the floorplans and detail drawings that the architect has created, so it becomes impossible for them to be able to offer feedback until it is too late. You should insure that the Architect you go with has the latest in 3D imagery available for your work so that you can clearly understand what you will be getting prior to the first shovel of dirt being moved from the job site. If the Architect is up with the latest and greatest tools of the trade, he will be able to show you interior and exterior renderings of each of the rooms, and each of the rooms will meet your design criteria.

The above are four critical components in the consideration of you design team, so that you have the best possible chance of success with your project.

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