“People often skip ahead to their dream of what the project’s going to look like but have little understanding about the process of how to get there.”

Planning and designing your own interiors on a construction project as a non-professional should come with a health warning.

Dan Grimshaw says proceeding without detailed drawings that specify how a building is to be constructed can lead to frayed tempers and out of control budgets.

“Too often to save on costs or because they have simply failed to understand the whole construction process, clients opt to do without them,” said Dan, from Beam Development.

“’Spec’ing-as-you-go’ can be overwhelming, with the whole construction timespan involving making thousands of decisions – from flooring choices to bedroom storage, to picture lights – on the hoof.

“This will also, inevitably, involve frequent consultations with the site manager which is a drain on resources and diverts funds from the efficient running of the site.

“Almost always disputes, misunderstandings and problems could have been avoided had detailed drawings been in place.”

Dan, who works on premium residential projects in London, says many people are influenced by TV shows and aspirational images on social media sites like Instagram.

“People often have a picture in their mind of the home they want and assume the process will be as simple as going into a shop and walking out with a product.

“However, the reason these properties look amazing is because someone has spent a lot of time, effort, skill, and money – and probably quite a lot of styling – creating that image.

“People often skip ahead to their dream of what the project’s going to look like but have little understanding about the process of how to get there.

“They don’t really understand what architects or interior designers do and why should they.

“As an industry we must do more to help people to understand the process, how to engage in it and to respect it and value it.”

Dan says he would like to see more construction companies raising the issue at the tender stage and either provide costings should they wish to carry out that work themselves, or else volunteer their own recommended architect or interior designer.

“The key is to identify the gap in the first place. If the client is unwilling to pay for that work, then maybe they are not prepared to pay for your time, in which case it might be better to pass on the work. It’s about finding the right fit in both directions.”

Dan Grimshaw is a design and construction specialist based in Bath and London. He is a mentor to the British Library’s prestigious Innovating for Growth programme.

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Latest Issue

BDC 309 : Oct 2023