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A Consumers Guide to an Interior Designers’ domestic design process

Many people incorrectly believe an Interior Designer is a single specialism. In fact interior design covers multiple specialisms, each have their own forms of regulations and requirements. Due to popular demand and in order to gain more understanding into the breadth of the interior design industry, SBID have championed and clarified the twelve category disciplines for interior design © to better assist consumers when sourcing a designer for a specialist activity and ensure the correct skills are appropriately matched to the projects requirement. Commercial design is driven by a structured and regulated set of principles, however we serve the profession across ALL categories, locations and price points.

Whilst it is generally understood that a designer enhances the visual impact of a space, it is not understood that a designer is a generic term and much more knowledge is required in the process and outcome of professionally designed space by a specialist SBID Accredited Designer.

Finding the right designer for your project

To help you choose the right designer for your project, define what you require the designer to do…

Define the project category as Commercial or Residential:

The purpose is to determine the product specification legalities. Building Regulations differ entirely for products suitable for public space and the home. Simply put, products are specified for fire and a variety of other compliance’s for different use and performance.

Define the designer’s role in 7 easy steps for residential interior design:

SBID advise to use their 7 easy steps in helping you to define a designer’s role, which will in turn make the project brief clearer for the designer but also help you establish exactly what type of designer you should require for your project. For commercial design, please visit SBIDPro.

1. Create a Scheme and Surfaces Schedule

Defining what a client wants, when often the client doesn’t know themselves is a dilemma designers are used to assessing. However when the client does not know what they want, it is a challenge. Be clear on the outcome required along with the use and performance of the space. Create a Brief that clarifies how long you would expect the products to last, their purpose and frequency of use and create a list of ‘do’s and dont’s’ as a designer guide. The designer will then have sufficient information to present a image, drawing, CGI as agreed.

2. Presentation

The designer will assemble a presentation and adjust agreed changes so as to generate a product scheme and present the purpose of each product performance, material and the plan layout for client consideration. Be clear on what you do not like or want changed at this juncture so that your Project Budget can be generated accurately. Every change and addition will impact on the budget by product fees and designer’s fees.

3. At this stage you will have an idea if the direction of the project matches the Interior Designer’s skills

The specialisms each project requires are varied so be clear on the skills you require. An Interior Designer is divided into the SBID twelve categories. To meet the different legal and compliant issues of the project ensure you commission a designer with experience to define and determine the legal, compliant and aesthetic requirements of your Brief. Define your projects core skill needs to avoid pitfalls.

4. Specification and Sourcing

Designers source trade only supply products so consumers will not be able to find these items themselves unless sourcing ‘residential retail’ products. Trade items are strictly for trade professionals as they have acquired the skills to correctly install these items and do so in a cost effective efficient way. A commercial client can purchase directly but a home owner may not. Contract wallcovering is approximately two thirds wider than residential wallcovering. Strict criteria for mixed fabric specification and upholstery must also be complied with for fire regulations. Contract design is almost an entirely different skill and procurement process. An SBID Accredited designer has acquired skills pioneered by SBID now adopted industry-wide to define contract (known also as commercial) design and residential design.

 5. Procurement

A designer works in one of three ways;

1. Design Only – this entitles the client to a schedule of recommended products and a layout plan. Often the designer will work alongside an Architect on internal layout drawings in a new development.

2. Design and Supply – This includes step one but will incur an additional fee for the designer to supply the specified products to the client. The product sourcing, ordering, checking on accuracy and condition only. It does not include managing client returns, delivery error, manufacture delay or damage although these items are usually carried out as negotiated for a fee.

3. Design, Supply and Manage – This complete package includes installation fees for decoration items. It includes overseeing procurement processes and is charged at an agreed day rate additional fee to the Design Fee.

6. Stylising

On completion of works a designer is usually commissioned to complete the project by returning to layout the ’installation’. This is an additional fee but it will add that final touch and provide the professional image intended. Sometimes just changing the angle of a piece of furniture or the relocation of an item makes all the difference and so this step is very much recommended. An install of a commercial project is usually a team project.

7. Handover

SBID recommend that a client handover is carried out on completion. The designer should walk through the project with the client to ‘snag’ any items that need addressing. This provides the client opportunity to raise any issues outstanding or unsatisfactory. The terms of the contract will often define the time limit to raise any issues.

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