Developing the Design Contract
Gathering of the information needed to develop a design contract begins at the time of the initial meeting with the client. Only rarely will you be able to offer a complete contract to the client at this initial meeting. You should also not be overeager to quote specific design fees at the initial meeting. You should consider your fees after you have the information you need to make that determination. The initial meeting is to get to know the client and the project, and for the client(s) to get to know you. What is critical here is to gather the information you need to write your design contract. The initial client meeting is discussed further in Chapter 10.
The table below lists some of the questions that must be answered before a design contract is drafted. The answers to these questions will enhance the quality of the contract. There are no incorrect answers, but please try to be as realistic as possible. It is also important to be consistent. If you say that the project is new construction, then clearly a building permit is required. If you say it is a bathroom remodel, then you will not need office systems furniture evaluations.
Image that you are going to undertake a new design job. Use the table below and develop answers for the questions. Use actual information when you can. For example question 18 asks, if it is new construction, who is the architect. Google actual architects and list their information.
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1.Who are the owners?
2.What is the exact location of project?
3.What spaces will be involved in the project?
4.Is the project new construction or a remodeling project?
5.What is the square footage of the project?
6.Does the occupant own or lease the building?
7.Will designer/client CAD networking be required?
8.What is the budget? Is it realistic for the proposed project?
9.Has a credit check been initiated?
10.What is the targeted completion date? Is it realistic?
11.Are architectural floor plans available, or will the space need to be site‐measured?
12.Have you worked with this client before?
13.Has the client worked with a designer before?
14.Will presentation graphics, such as perspectives, be required? What media is appropriate?
15.Does the current design staff have the time and experience to do this project?
16.Will consultants or additional staff be required in order to do this project?
17.If it is a remodeling project, what code requirements must be researched and met?
18.If it is new construction, who is the architect?
19.Does the designer have the certifications required to perform remodeling design work?
20.Who and how will the contractors be selected?
21.What kind of presentation will be required at preliminary and final meetings?
22.Will sample and image presentation boards be required? Are digital drawings required?
23.What code requirements must be researched and met?
24.Who will obtain permits?
25.How much demolition is expected?
26.How much supervision must be done on site?
27.Will the project go out to bid, or has a purchasing agreement already been established?
28.Will the project be completed all at once or be done in stages?
29.What portion of the construction or interiors project will be handled by the client?
30.Does the client require moving services, or will the client take care of this himself or herself?
31.How much existing furniture will be used?
32.Who is responsible for production of construction documents?
33.What styles of new furniture are preferred?
34.Are new architectural finishes to be selected?
35.Are custom cabinets, custom furniture items, or treatments expected?
36.Are office systems furniture (or other furniture) evaluations required prior to specifications?
37.Will art, graphics, accessories, and interior plantscaping be required?