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Ask an Designer: What Makes a Perfect Client?

Hiring a top-notch architect isn’t enough to make a project successful. You, the client, need to contribute and make this partnership work.
Tips for working with an architect

Truth is, hiring a top-notch building designer isn’t enough to make a project successful. Designing and building a home is a partnership. It’s a two-way street. Your chosen designer can only fulfil your dream home when you participate. So, we gathered everything that we love most with our clients. You can use these as tips for working with an designer and to ensure you two have a sound working relationship.

A great client cooks up a vision

Designing and building a home is an exciting journey. You probably have planned for it before you meet the designer. They would love to hear the things and ideas you've come up in the first meeting. It will give your designer an idea of how you want your home to look and feel like.

If you don’t have a solid vision of concept yet, showing us photos or sketches that you find inspirational will help. It will help us learn about your goals and style. It is the key to develop the perfect design.

The role of preliminary design consultation is to know your requirements, particularly your vision, budget, and timeline. Discuss these three factors early and keep these clear at all times. If anything changes, inform your designer immediately so he/she can adjust.

The preliminary design consultation is also the time to talk about the possible site and council restrictions. It sets everyone’s expectation from the beginning and as the project progresses.

Superdraft tip: Generally, design consultations are the time to let your designer know about your likes and dislikes. When you have to co-decide with someone (your partner, housemate, parents etc.), consider figuring out each other’s tastes before meeting your chosen designer. When he/she arrives, try to present your case in an unbiased way. This way, the designer can produce a design that’s acceptable to everyone.

Building designers have the magic. They are trained to create stunning spaces even when clients have contrasting design styles.

Extra Superdraft tip: It also helps when you know about the designer you’re dealing with. Consider looking at their portfolio to get an idea of your chosen style. Being able to see their previous work gives you a clue about their specialisation too.

A great client stays patient and committed — from the design to the construction phase

To be honest, the design phase can last as long (or longer) than the construction stage. Planning and producing the planning drawings are time-consuming in nature. It helps when you can wait patiently for your designer to finish the output.

In return, your designer should update you about their progress. A weekly email would suffice. This helps avoid panic, stress, and anxiety.

After the design and planning stage is the construction stage. It will be great if you help the builders understand the intent of the design. It took a lot of time for you and your designer to figure this out. A lot of work and effort was put in those drawings. Your designer will be happy to see this home erected from the ground in the near future.

A great client trusts the designer

Here in Superdraft, we believe that your trust has so much power. We believe in clichés like “trust is earned”.

But, we also believe that trust is given. You have the ability to choose how you want to feel. When you want to trust a designer, you will. When you don’t want to, you won’t.

One reason to trust the designer is their education and experience. Trust that they know what will and will not work. Believe them when they say that they know what will look better or last longer. Put your faith in them when they said that they can put all your design ideas together to create a stunning and practical home that you’ll love.

For us, trust is an empowered choice and it will help if you established that trust at the beginning of the project. Put confidence in your designer's skill during the planning stage. More importantly, share the design advice when dealing with the contractors during the construction phase. It makes a huge impact when you, your designer, and your builder are on the same page.

A great client allows the designer to know one's taste and style

As mentioned earlier, it is critical for your designer to know your likes and dislikes. He/she must familiarise himself/herself to your tastes.

In some instances, showing inspirational photos and sketches aren’t enough. When this happens, the designer starts asking about your first-hand experiences in life. He/she might ask about your old home, your friend’s house, or a memorable accommodation during a vacation. Your designer might pick bits and pieces of the things you like and find useful or sentimental in these life events. Stories and memories unlock a person’s goals and aspirations in life.

Your designer will also appreciate it when he/she meets the other people who will live with you. The extra details about your partner, housemate, parents, kids, and pets are valuable too. The getting-to-know-you process isn’t limited to one person. It’s for everyone living under the same roof.

When your designer knows you and everyone else living with you well, the more information he/she can use to create a space that’s uniquely yours. By the end of construction, you’ll feel very much at home — and that’s money well spent.

A great client communicates with the designer

You and your designer won't meet a lot during the planning and design development stage. Your designer will be off-site, especially when drawing the plans. At this stage, it is imperative that both of you are always available by phone or email. (We personally prefer email because it’s written). Keep the lines of communication open.

You can also personally meet with your designer. Set quick meetings in their office, on-site, or in a nearby coffee shop. Of course, the topics of these meetings must be of high importance. It may not be wise to meet personally when the subject can be settled via call or email.

More importantly, don’t be hesitant when asking questions. Are you having a hard time reading the complex drawings? Ask questions. Confused with the jargons used on paper or during a meeting? Ask questions.

A great client immerses themselves in the process

There are clients who entrust the job to their designer completely. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, your designer will like it too when you check out his/her work sometimes. He/she will appreciate it when you give feedback on their design. They need to feel sure they’re on the right track.

When you’re the hands-on type of client, we suggest collating your important notes, material samples, supplier contacts, and photos. Show your choice of tile, paint, furniture, and fixture in a catalogue. Your designer will appreciate your organised approach and enthusiasm. 

A great client prepares a contingency budget

Ensuring that your project fits within your construction budget is a challenge. Changes and delays are inevitable. There are costly problems that even we, designers, can’t predict. This is why every homeowner must have a contingency budget. This amount will keep the project rolling despite an unexpected problem. This is your Plan B. You don’t want to stop your project because a problem blew out their budget, right?

A great client is optimistic

The process of planning and building your dream home is stressful. But, don’t let it get into you. Don’t let the stress burn you out. Wear a smile on your face. Smiles and good vibes are contagious. Stay positive, alert, and mentally present. Make sure that you are well-rested after a tiring day. Do not overwhelm yourself with work because all of it will eventually go away. At the end of this process, you have a new house to enjoy. 

A great client shows gratitude

When you’re happy with your designer's work, show it. Trust us, they feel fulfilled when they see you happy and delighted with their work. You can give them compliments or write them a good online review. There was one time when a client in NSW invited their designer to their housewarming party. The homeowner invited the builders as well. Everyone who helped make their dream house happen was there — and it was a lovely experience for our designer.

A great client is a joy to work with

To build a home, you need to have a successful and professional relationship with the people around you. We hope this article has provided enough tips for working with a designer. We hope you find this useful in your next home project. When you do, we bet you’re a joy to work with. Building your home will be a great pleasure.

Hire a Superdraft building designer today.

Living in Tasmania? We have Hobard-based building designers at your service.

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