HOW TO GET THE MOST VALUE FROM YOUR DESIGNER

Employing a designer requires careful consideration along with a leap of faith! If you decide to employ a designer, there are a few suggestions I would like to make to help facilitate the most satisfactory result:

Planning

Whether building a new home or renovating your existing home, it is best to employ a designer early (at the preliminary drawing stage with an architect, prior to Council consent issue). This is to enable the final concept layouts to be incorporated into the Council consent drawings (showing placement of plumbing fittings), so that when you receive your building consent, there is no need to make amendments and potentially cost additional money in consent fees and time delays.
Your project manager/builder and substrades are able to do their jobs quicker and efficiently when they have a clear path and accurate communication with final drawings to work from, without having to shift or alter plumbing or electrical later. The sooner you get a headstart with your designer, the better (if there is no major structural work required then your designer can draw up and plan the spaces/layout without the need for Council consent).

Budget

One of the best value related aspects of employing a designer is being able to benefit from their connections within the industry and taking advantage of designer discounts. This enables clients to be able to have higher spec. fittings and finishes which may not have been possible otherwise. You will also benefit from good designer/supplier relationships which help to facilitate the best outcome with quoting/ordering and distribution of product when required. My relationships with suppliers are based on their level of service and expertise and past successful projects together.
The projects that flow the best and are always within budget (design fees) are the ones in which the client makes firm decisions at each stage of the design process. Having a vision, eg. kitchen: whether you want wall ovens or underbench for example, impact the shape and layout of the space. If you do the initial legwork and know which appliances you prefer, then there will be a clear direction and less need for additional layouts and redraws later. It also keeps the design progressing at a good pace.

Construction phase

I would recommend always work with the very best builder/tradespeople that your budget will allow. There is a great deal of value in working with professionals who have a proven track record (with a designer) rather than relying on a friend or relative’s recommendation on a lesser quality tradesperson/professional who will naturally come at a cheaper rate. Renovating or building always comes wth its stresses but working with incredible professionals who take pride in their work and deliver the very best is always the preferred approach. Often these professionals are thorough in their costing of a project and therefore there are less hidden or unexpected costs later. I like to deal with builders/tradespeople who are service orientated and clear on timelines and of course reliable. I love my work and take pride in all aspects of the design and construction of a project.

Products and Materials

There are so many products and materials on the market and an almost overwhelming selection available when trying to make the best decision for key areas such as your kitchen benchtop. An experienced designer is the best person to help you make these decisions, having access to new products and up to date materials and ranges and first hand experience of a product’s pros and cons. Having been through many design installations and subsequent client feedback on various finishes, allows your designer to give you expert help, whilst considering the value, quality and price point for different finishes. Half an hour with an experienced kitchen designer will help immensely when trying to make these types of decisions.

Working drawings

Always use a joiner/builder/tradespeople that suit the level of design that has been provided for in your working drawings. When you have a well thought out, carefully considered and comprehensive set of working drawings and specifications drawn up, it is best to seek out professionals who are able to provide the level of quality/service/workmanship that the design requires.

If possible, allow your designer to facilitate the joinery construction process, then you have a seamless process from design through to build and installation. This is the most satisfactory way to work.