We have been working alongside many of our clients for almost six years now and one question that always comes up early in the process is “how we can make this process run as smoothly and successfully as possible”?
Some of our clients come to us feeling apprehensive about taking the plunge and investing in a refurbishment or a new fit out and usually the main reasons around their apprehension are cost, business downtime, stress and a fear of the unknown.
So, I decided that it would be good idea to put together my Five Top Tips which are a result of my experiences across the many fit outs, refurbishments and projects we have been involved in since the studio launched back in 2013. I hope that this will help shed some light on the process, alleviate some fears and give you some confidence to take the plunge and invest in a new look for your hospitality venue, retail space, workplace or your home in 2019.
1. Choose a Good Designer to work with.
Selecting a good team to work with is the key to how your project will run. A great place to start is to do some research on what Interior Designers or Architects are local to you. It’s so important to select a designer that you feel comfortable with, love their work and trust.
Selecting an experienced designer will also open up doors to working with other reputable and talented people such as a great project manager, excellent engineers, talented trades and even artists and artisans who can really make a big difference to the overall end result of your project.
I am on the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) council and if you click on this link, it will take you to a list of accredited professionals within the design industry.
2. Have a Strategic Plan and Timeline
Having a strategic plan around execution and timeline is paramount when embarking on a new fitout or renovation. Without this, the project will run into all sorts of issues including increased length of the project and ’downtime”, budget blowouts and more.
An experienced designer, project manager and builder, or shopfitter who have proven track record within the industry are the key people that will be able to formulate, execute and maintain your program which will lead to the overall success of the project.
Most finishes, fixtures, furniture and fittings will have lead-times, some as long as 12 weeks if coming from Europe so you need to be working with a designer who will be on top of the specification of these early on in the project.
Each project will also have an approvals process which needs to be met for example development applications and complying development certificates. Again, selecting a team with the right contacts and who have experience in these processes will assist with your project flow.
3. Be Realistic about Budget
Often, when I meet a client to discuss a new project, when I ask them what their budget is, they tell they either have not thought about it in enough detail, or they don’t have one.
This scares me a lot. Through experience, I have learned not to ignore this response but to use it as an opportunity to explore budget with the client.
Every project has a budget. It needs to be defined and set out very clearly from the beginning of the process. If you are unsure of how much the refurbishment or renovation you are aiming for will cost, ask the question. A knowledgeable and experienced designer will be able to easily give you an estimate based on the size of the space and your expectations around finishes.
Being clear about your financial capability and your expectations upfront is going to make the entire process much less stressful for everyone involved.
4. Be Prepared for Ups and Downs
Being part of the design and building industry, I have learnt that in each project no matter how large or small, challenges will always arise. I also learnt that if you have a great team to work with, there is a solution to EVERYTHING.
In construction, there are surprises that pop up more often than not, which need to be resolved. Working with an experienced builder and consultants will put you in a much better position for a cost effective, timeline friendly solution which maintains the integrity of the design to be implemented.
5. Engaging Experience.
I always encourage my clients to make the experience an engaging one.
If you are in hospitality, engage your staff and patrons. Use it as an opportunity to talk about your business. Take progress photos along the way to build up the excitement around your new launch. Interior design and decoration is hot right now due to the rise of Instagram as a social media platform.
If you are creating a new workspace for your team, engage them right from the start. Run a survey on what they want out of their new space. What would make them excited?
There are so many articles around workspace design and why an innovative approach is directly linked to productivity and happiness. The article link here will give you some insight into how important workplace design innovation is and how some companies are innovating their offices.
If you are renovating your home, engage your family and friends. Take progress photographs to document the journey because at the end of the project you will have a record of the experience. This will make you appreciate the end result even more.
Images via Leanna Maione