5 reasons to invest in construction-focused, coordinated design for home improvement projects
Nowadays, many people are choosing to remodel and extend their homes instead of moving house. When property improvements are approached in the right way, homeowners can end up with transformed spaces that don’t just look great but can help improve their lifestyle.
Homeowners will ideally be looking for a longer-term return on their investment, so it’s understandable they won’t want to spend over the odds. However, we believe the wisest step any owner can take is to invest in the design process for their home improvement project.
A well-designed space does more than just look good
Poorly planned homes can have an adverse effect on wellbeing; conversely a well-designed space can enhance the lives of those inhabiting it.
A designer worth their salt will ask lots of questions to understand how the new space(s) should work and feel. Then they’ll ideally use a combination of creativity and technical know-how to produce designs that are attractive, functional, comfortable and energy efficient (= lower running costs).
This takes more than architectural input – it also requires structural, mechanical and electrical engineering design.
Being clear about what you want ultimately achieves a better result
Some practices like Cityzen offer a first steps review to kick start the entire project – it can be helpful for homeowners who aren’t 100% sure of:
- What they need in their home – not just now but in the future
- The possible options
- Their legal responsibilities
- What’s needed at each design and construction stage (to get their project completed on time and on budget)
- Whether available finances will enable them to achieve their needs
The review leads to a clear design brief, which the practice or any other design professional can use to take the project forward.
Upfront design avoids delays / build cost creep
Design doesn’t just cover the layout and aesthetics. Good design includes how the space works; this is what “building services design” means, and includes lighting, heating, ventilation, electrical outlets and any technical gadgetry e.g. AV, data, security and home automation.
All too often these ‘building services’ are left to electricians and plumbers to work out on site, well after construction work has started on site. But design decisions that have to be made on site are rushed to avoid delays (and subsequent costs), and usually involve compromise on the homeowner’s part. Sometimes, re-work is even needed to accommodate certain requirements, adding to the build cost.
So to get the very best outcome, all aspects of design should be incorporated into the overall scheme prior to the tender process. The scheme can then be fully costed, and once work begins on site, the builder and sub-contractors know exactly what needs to be installed and where.
Design input throughout a project keeps everyone on the same page
We’re frequently approached by homeowners looking for help to secure planning permission, and to keep costs down, this is all they want to pay for.
But there’s a huge gulf between drawings for a planning application and how a builder might end up interpreting those designs.
One of our current clients is an international award-winning concept architect. Their focus is the big picture, so they need someone to make that vision “buildable”.
Our role is to take their planning drawings and create the “blueprint” for the builders to construct the architect’s vision.
The following design services are key to achieving the end result that reflects what was originally envisioned:
- Concept designs;
- Design drawings and documents for planning or permitted development applications;
- Technical drawings and structural calculations for building regulations approval;
- Construction drawings for contractors to accurately price against and work from – without these it is down to the builder to figure it out on site, needing a lot of daily decision making from the homeowner;
- Design input during the build stage – there are many elements that won’t even be visible when your project is finished yet are critical to its success, and a construction-focused architectural designer can work with the builder and homeowner to realise the initial designs.
Image credit: Simon Callaghan
A well-designed space will deliver the wow factor
Homeowners may not think their budget can stretch to the full suite of professional design services. However, prioritising fixtures and fittings can be another example of false economy if the space that houses them doesn’t deliver on layout, light, comfort, etc.
Investing in professional design services may eat up a chunk of the overall budget (~10-15%), but it’s worth remembering what those services combined with good workmanship can achieve. Choosing a skilled builder to fit an inexpensive kitchen, for example, can result in that kitchen looking deceptively expensive if it has been thoughtfully laid out and installed to a high-level finish. You don’t need to have pricey fixtures and fittings to achieve the wow factor, but you do need good, coordinated design.
Image credit: Simon Callaghan
It’s easy to view design input as a nice-to-have if the budget allows, but it’s essential to a successful home improvement project.
If you’re a homeowner and have a project in mind, please take a look at our what we offer and see if Cityzen’s construction-focused, coordinated design might be the right option for you.
Author: Charlotte Smith, Director @ Cityzen Limited
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal, belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Plus Accounting. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.