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Three Golden Nuggets of Advice for Prospective Clients

FAQs:     WHAT      WHEN       HOW

As the client, what do I need to know about initiating the project?

Initiating a project (aside from all the legislative criteria, i.e. Zoning information etc.) my advice to client’s is, write a detailed descriptive brief of your needs & expand upon this by adding into the narrative everything you believe you’d like. Be adventurous but be realistic too. Also, collect a few pictures of what you like (interiors & exteriors): use books, obtain magazine cuttings, images of what you like, detail off the internet, photos etc. to include into the description you are creating for your architect/ designer to read, assess & give you feed back upon.

This is your ‘Brief’, the very foundation of the design process, (think of your budget too), but don’t let this limit your ideas; a good architect/ designer must pioneer ‘new’ methods to deliver upon your ‘dreams/ vision’ into a ‘sculptured building or development’ that you are satisfied with!

  • The more pics you have to show, of what you envisage your project/ home should look like, the easier it should be working through the design stage with your architect.
  • Also, make sure you know what your ‘design professional’ is prepared to do for you (& not)? What do I MEAN? time!
  • TIME, everyone’s time is precious, AND how much time is your architect or designer is willing to put into the whole project, is a vital question you need ask them?
  • A good standard of the TIME they are prepared to offer you is (as a ‘commitment’) would be to agree, to have design meetings twice in a week, & the very same for project site supervision (as a minimum).
  • Also, know if you can call them in the evening/ or weekends to discuss any issue pertaining the project?
  • The thing about residential design over ‘commercial’ works – ‘by outcome’ is that a home, is very personal (by nature); make sure you have an open relationship with your architect/ designer, (to be able to express yourself freely & receive their feedback openly) relating to any matter re: project.

When (as the client) will I know I'm choosing the right pearl of a 'designer' or architect's firm to execute my project?

Architects & designers are a unique bunch of ‘professionals’ in that they ordinarily design your home with their ‘personal flair’, have a few meetings with them in the preliminary stages, to get to know them a bit better, afore you ‘commission’ them to your project. Also consider the below;

  • Their ‘Portfolio’ of work (if On-Line) is evidence of what you can expect. By design outcome, and not negating…
  • If you feel a web page of an individual or a firm is untidy, you’d be right to assume, they operate untidily …

(and that leaves much to question regards to how they’d see & potentially utilize your budget, to keeping the controls on your project during construction phase, the site/ project management etc).

  • Word of mouth…

How, in 'commissioning' an architect or a designer, am I (as the client) to expect they can run the project from start to finish?

Some architects & designers specialize in design only. Others in the delivery of construction documentation & drawings. Yet others prefer to hand over site supervision to another or a project manager.

  • Speak to them: in truth, it’s not unique to find an architectural professional who knows how all three areas of a project are synchronized, (but how efficient are they in all spheres, is a question, you need an answer to)!
  • Ask for references, go see some of their works & speak to their prior client’s, have won any awards, (if being on National Television), that can also be a telltale sign, they’re good, they know what they on about. Experience, it all boils down to their experience.
  • Ask them if they are prepared to do a ‘project program’ and also, ask if they use ‘building contracts’? That’s essential, your budget is at stake if no ‘Contract’ is utilized.

Conclusion

With all the years of experience added to my portfolio, I must say, the ‘all-rounded’ expertise I gained, didn’t happen overnight.

In my twenty years plus as an architectural practitioner I’ve have managed to create ‘fit’ relationships with other professionals in the arena, Consultants, building contractor’s, engineers, trades specialist’s, material suppliers, shoplifter specialists for the finishing & know about most manufacturers specifications, when applying their products (i..e. tile adhesives, is just one, paint another, preparation is very important).

  • Consider all this goes hand in hand in hand to make a greater success of your project!

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