The thought of starting an interior project can overwhelming if you lack the experience. But with some strategic planning, a project can be started smoothly and effectively. There are 4 basic elements you must always take into account. The project site, the program, the schedule and the budget. These are hardly ever determined exclusively by the client or the designer, but usually by both in collaboration. You have to work closely with your clients if you want to achieve the best results.
The Project Site
Your job is to analyze the space to ensure that it will meet the client’s needs. The client may not have a single space in mind, but rather a few option that you will explore to determine which one would best suit the client’s desires. On occasions the physical space generates the program. In this case, the task is to decide the best layout for the space and design a program within the constraints.
This is a critical process, it is where you define the needs and desires of those who will use the space, in advance of creating the design. There are 3 central types of activities here: gathering, analyzing, and documenting information. You should evaluate the functional performance, opportunities, and constraints of the existing space. You should also prompt what spaces, features or attributes must be added to improve functionality and give an appropriate and compelling character to a space. The goals of your project should be accurately qualified in a brief. Good communication is key to articulating the program and managing expectations for the design phase.
Project management involves creating and maintaining your project’s schedule. Developing a project schedule requires the combination of activities, resources, and activity-performance sequences that gives you the greatest chance of meeting your client’s expectations with the least amount of risk. After programing the space you should identify the immediate predecessor for all activities, then determine the resources required for all those activities, estimate durations, set dates, and also identify and take into account any factor that could likely affect your project’s activities. If the completion date is acceptable to your client, you’re done with your scheduling.
This is where the scope of the work and the level of finishes are communicated. There are Hard and Soft Costs. Hard Costs cover the construction and fixture, furniture and equipment. These costs are usually around 10% of the overall construction costs. Construction costs can be very volatile so include contingencies and have some reserves of around 5-15%. Soft Costs include, designer’s fees, consultant’s fees, project management fees, permitting fees, insurance, project contingencies, and so on. Your concern is to meet the budget for Hard Costs.
After this you can then move on to the actual project management.