General Contractor or Interior Designer? Who do I hire first?
When I first meet a potential new client it is not uncommon for homeowners to “know a contractor” they like, or have had one recommended to them by a friend.
Your General Contractor is typically your project manager. Many general contractors have not worked with, or are not currently working with interior design consultants and underestimate the role and value of the design consultant.
When a project moves too fast, details are missed. When decisions are made without communicating design details and client desires, the outcome is less than expected.
Some facts; Before the entire design is determined, it isn’t fair to expect the contractor to know the final price of your project. There are simply too many variables. You can significantly change the project by the layout, labor, or the cost of the materials you select. These things need specified and documented! This is the interior designers role – or, if an interior designer isn’t included in the project it becomes the homeowners responsibility.
From my experience, projects that go well beyond budget could have been avoided by doing the design work BEFORE the construction starts. As well, delaying design decisions after construction starts leads to decisions that cost time and money that couldn’t have been foreseen.
A few words about teamwork. I have built relationships with different contractors over the years and I continue to build on the concept of great planning being the key to successful projects. This requires working efficiently through communication, knowing where our skill sets start and stop, and allow the other team members to do what they do best.
A design consultant can help you spend the same amount of money, but net a better finished product. Our role can extend from redesigning your floor plan, to designing a new kitchen with detailed elevations and assisting with product and material selections, but that’s just the half of it. Another real value is to provide specifications and details of product/material installation so that all of your desires are executed to a plan.