Starting a Design Project
Once you have identified a design project that you would like to undertake, it could be from redecorating a room to the full renovation of a house. Always look before you leap. Don’t just jump in there and start the project because unless it is planned and every stage considered then problems that could have been avoided will occur.
Building work requires careful planning and supervision, as you are aware there are many trades involved within the building industry and each trade has to have its scope of work identified and coordinated.
Planning the project is the first step to gaining the tools that are needed for running the project. Note that the design stages and documents develop and define the project; these are the working drawings (blueprints) and specifications. They develop and define the actual work that is to be done and dictate which trades will be involved in the project.
Sketch plan – the initial concept plan used to identify practicality, legal and cost estimation parameters.
Detailed design – refining the design to ensure the aesthetic qualities are included and re-establish the costs.
Working drawings, construction drawings, blueprints – the detail of methods of construction, materials and sizes, shows all the services on plans and the drawn scope of work.
Written scope of work and/or specification – the documentation that establishes all the legal standards and local body authorities that the tradesmen are required to work and comply to. They are used to construct and accurately price from.
Once these documents have been produced they can then be used to define the quotations, timing, and form a contract with the main contractor or all the individual contractors. Every step of the project must be considered and planned to ensure that nothing is missed, even having a contingency (an additional sum of money set aside in case of unforeseen events) in place for those areas such as rotten framing that may raise its ugly head.
Never rely on others without their written assurance in the form of a contract and even then the work has to be supervised and monitored so that you are aware of each and every detail that is taking place.
Above all never rely on a verbal agreement or handshake even with friends or recommended contractors.
An option if you don’t want to manage the project or you feel that it is too large or complicated, then get a professional to oversee it for you, and have them report back to you with the progress.
At the end of the day you may well find it easier as a designer to have a project manager or main contractor to do this for you, as your main skill will be design. Running people is very stressful and it is much more practical to get all the answers and hold accountable one person than 20. However, you should still be able to run a simple construction project.