- The first question to ask your building designers is an obvious but necessary one: Do you design homes in my suburb? Lots of designers will say they service all of Melbourne but all suburbs have their own unique character. Designing a home in the inner-city area requires different considerations than designing a home in the outer suburbs. Property sizes vary, so car parking in may not be an issue on a larger block but requires thoughtful design on an inner-city property. Council requirements can vary significantly so knowing your building designers is experienced dealing with your local Council is reassuring.
- Secondly, ask for their experience in designing what you want. Even though each design project has a similar design process, it is all about the building designers expertise. Depending on what you are proposing, you should find a designer that specialises in that field. You don’t want a designer who spreads their services across all built environments, for example, retail, commercial and residential. Each of these categories requires a lot of knowledge and experience and I would prefer someone that specialises in one field.
- The third question is around ascertaining whether your chosen building designer has experience in the style of the home you want to live in. If your building designers specialise in Hamptons style contemporary homes and you just want to bring life back into your cherished but tired California Bungalow home they might not deliver the best bang for your buck. Jump onto their website, review their photo gallery or social pages but also ask your building designers to provide a couple of client references. A previous happy client will be very proud to share their experience. It’s your home and it should reflect your style and the way you live.
- The next question may not seem important compared to decisions about walk in wardrobes or where the study nook should go, but it is crucial to understand the process and the steps your designer takes to fulfill the brief. What’s their design process? They need to articulate step by step their process including: pre-design, concept design, design development, planning permit (if required), working drawings, builders’ quotes and finally a building permit. These design stages need time to develop and evolve into a design solution that suits you. Various external consultants need to be engaged and incorporated into the design drawings and it is important that your designer communicates how this is managed and who engages them.
- The last question is about design fees. This can be the hard for clients to compare when some designers may have a different process. It all depends on the scope of the work you want and whether you require a full design service. It pays in the end for prospective clients to prepare a thorough design brief with a realistic build budget. Building designers should be able to steer you to think about a number of things so that they can provide an accurate fee proposal.
There are also many more questions that can be asked but I think this is a great start and a broad range of questions to help you decide who is the best building designer for your project.
If you require further information, please contact one of our Building Designers as we would be happy to help with your enquiry. Mesh Design Projects Pty Ltd, www.meshdesignprojects.com.au or 1300 811 867