home building design planning in action

It’s a daunting scenario, embarking upon building or remodeling your home.  There are so many components, it might seem difficult to know where to start.  So like anything, a great strategy is to ask questions…. but what questions?  What should you ask your designer team to ensure everyone is one the same page?  


To begin with, your first “question” shouldn’t be a question at all, but a determination of your budget and time frames.  Certainly, this can be phrased as a question, but  you must keep first and foremost in your mind that this is YOUR project and the team will have to work within your reasonable constraints.  If they cannot, you know right off they aren’t the best choice for you.  If this happens with multiple agents, it’s time to restructure your expectations.


So the questions themselves: where to begin? One thing you want to secure before you get things started is to confirm your team is licensed and respected.  Recommendations from trusted sources go a long way, but from a technical standpoint, you want to make sure who you’re hiring is insured and offers a solid warranty for the work they perform.  Don’t feel timid about this: a firm should be proud of their capabilities and enthusiastic about proving accreditation.


Another great and very telling inquiry is to ask about potential hiccups that might occur during the construction process.  Unexpected snares or circumstantial issues are never wholly inevitable.  How your pro handles the question is very telling, and can go great lengths to elucidate compatibility.  It also gives little peephole-glimpse into any challenges that may lie ahead from the eyes of the people who will be doing the work, things that might not be immediately visible to you as the client, especially if you have never done this before.  


In that same vein, it is smart to ask about the the potentiality of pivots in your game plan, either due to personal prerogative or a necessary deviation due to technical or structural reasons.  Addressing these types of issues preemptively will not only troubleshoot their eventuality (and potentially avoid it), it will let you know that your pro is adaptable and resourceful, showing how nimble they are to handle unforeseeable snags (a very helpful attribute!).


Speaking of showing: they don’t say “a picture is worth a thousand words” for nothing.  This is not so much a question but a request, but definitely ask your pro for images of prior projects… in fact, ask for a a few.  If one picture is worth a thousand words, then ten is worth ten thousand: a brief novella illustrating what you’re getting yourself into.  This should provide a clear visualization of your designer’s competence and style, two things that are crucial when you’re in the planning phase of your build out.


Lastly, ask why they think they will be the best choice for your job.  Never forget that this is going to be a group project, and a lot of teamwork may be involved.  And the more hands-on your plan to be, the more you want to know that the firm you are working with are happy to be working with you, and that your goals are all in sync.  Posing this question will give an interviewee the opportunity to display their enthusiasm for the work ahead, and ensure that they are as invested in the project as you are.
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