How Interior Designers Fit Into Construction Projects
Full service / turnkey / whatever you’re calling it, you’re in it. Your concepts are on point, your selections are approved, you’re ready, they're ready, so can we skip to the good part? Ah, ah-ah-ah… No, you can’t just skip to the good part. Now you, the client and the whole entire team must live through a renovation and work together as a team.
So, what is the role of the Interior Designer then?
So much. SO MUCH. You oversee the whole vision of the project, incorporating your client’s lifestyle needs and aesthetic. The architect is focused on one design aspect, the contractor is focused on another aspect, and an electrician and plumber will be focused on another. But you the designer are the one keeping the bigger picture in mind to ensure the space is completed with the correct design intent, is functional for your client and enjoyable to live in. I’m a big advocate of having the designer join the team as soon as possible. When a designer enters the chat early, they can then collaborate with an architect, builder, and /or construction team, and create practical construction and design plans. Intentional design = cost savings.
How do you keep yourself in the game yet stay in your lane?
- Clearly define the services you offer during the construction phase *(*see also: this is your project management services and fee).
- Don’t take on too much, if you’re not a GC, and don’t have the proper license than watch it. There is no need to expose yourself to risk.
- Make friends with the contractor and/or builder, but also be sure to establish the communication plan before the project even kicks off.
- Get a schedule from the contractor’s team. Then work your milestones into theirs.
- Kick the project off. Set the tone for weekly reports and walk the contractor through how you would like to receive field updates.
- Before you schedule your install day, be sure you’ve punched the project. Any open items should be corrected and completed to your design intent.
- Without you acting as the GC there is still so many things you can do to ensure the project runs smoothly. You’re providing the team with the finish schedule, lighting schedule, being onsite ensuring installation is correct, etc. I recommend having a partner on your side that has a deep understanding of the construction process *(*see also: Kasher is this for you) that way they can speak contactor and bridge the gap between the design team and the construction team, allowing for a smoother more successful project.