Building your home can be one of the most fulfilling events of your life, but it can also be one of the most stressful periods. Therefore it is important to understand the definition of “expectation” before we start building. So how do we define expectation when it comes to building your home?
First is to define the different roles each individual plays, and what you expect from everyone. Next is to balance what you expect versus what you will receive in terms of what will be built. Finally, you need to determine the final goal and how to get there.
Before we start, it is always important to define the roles for each individual. For example, in any typical project, there will always be the Client, the Architect and the Engineer as the base team. The Architect is typically involved in all statutory and submission activities, the Engineer ensures the building will function to its designed specification and the Client plays the vital role as the paymaster and final decision maker.
We may then add more parties into the mix, by introducing the Interior Designer, Project Manager and secondary consultants, such as Landscape, Lighting and Acoustics. At this moment, there will be a mix in responsibilities, so it is important to define what you expect out of each individual so there no conflict between scopes and respect among the team.
The Project Manager usually acts as team leader who works on behalf of the client to ensure the project runs on time and within the stipulated budget. The Interior Designer works mainly on final finishes and concepts with the Client, but the base building shell and core would still be under the Architect, as any deviation from the building shell and core may affect statutory approvals. Therefore, it is important to define clearly the scope of these two main consultants to ensure a smooth delivery in the project.
The secondary consultant team will add value to the project and usually serve to compliment the lead designer. More often than not, secondary consultants may step out of their boundary by working beyond their scope, encroaching into the lead designer’s territory. Such as a Landscape Designer who starts to change the building concept to suit his work, or a Lighting Consultant who starts to work as if the whole project should be based on nothing by lighting.
Therefore, before we begin engaging the team, it is important to define the roles of each person clearly, and what you expect out of them. Always ensure roles are never crossed and to respect each other.
EXPECTATION VS REALITY
Everyone sees a space differently and has a different opinion as to how the space will turn out. So it is important to understand what we expect out of the space. The Designer may have a particular interpretation of how the space should be used and what it should end up looking like. The Client will in turn have his/her own ideas of how the space should designed. Mind you, the Client is usually not a single voice but can also be a committee of different individuals.
Before any work is done, the Client being the end-user and financier needs to prepare the Brief of what they want to do with the space, with a list of expectations. The design team will then digest this information, and through a series of conversations, start to understand the requirements of the Client, and evolve the Brief to a working concept.
Once the working concept has been agreed by all parties, this forms the basis of all design, and any deferment from this base concept will affect the outcome of the space. In this base concept, we address issues such as budget, use of space, size of the space and final expectations.
The client should set a budget from the start, so that designers will be able to describe what you get for the budget. Don’t expect a palatial design based on a shoestring budget; neither should you get a mediocre feel for a lavish budget. When it comes to use of space, we need to define the best use of the space to meet the Client’s needs.
THE FINAL GOAL
In every project, there will be some disagreements, so it is important to remind everyone of the final goal. The goal is not about who is right or wrong, but more “what do we want to achieve at the end of the day?”
The process of building your home is a long and arduous task which involves time, money and effort, so when there are changes, or if work is not done right, there can be conflict. And sometimes patience is required when we deal with individuals who are not team players, and in such instances, a change in attitude is required.
Remember, the process of building is a journey. It should be enjoyable, as we are building a home for the client. If we get a builder who doesn’t care, we will be left with a building filled with faults. Each team member should work with a certain level of commitment and to work as a team, as the final goal is not who is right or wrong, but to finish the project.
Advice I give many budding designers – they may know more than the Client, but at the end of the day, remember who is going to live in the house and who is paying for the job, so ultimately, the Client is always right.