4 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Hire Your Designer
We love what we do here, at Shakespeare MnD and we take our work very seriously! We often get the opportunity to maximize people's biggest investments: whether that be their place of business or their home. So we know how important it is that we get things right.
We have created retail spaces that sell, we have designed from scratch new home builds, we've worked on restaurants large & small, we have moved walls & added windows in substantial renovations and we have even played an integral role in the design of a retractable roof on an ice-skating rink! To say that we understand building codes, structural design and permit applications would be an understatement.
Enough about us. The point is, we think it's important that you know your designer. Whether it's a family friend, referral, or Shakespeare MnD. Here are some key questions we think you should be asking any designer you are considering partnering with.
1. What is your previous experience & list of past projects?
Investing in a professional designer, is just that: an investment. Make sure you're investing in a partner that has done what you need support with before. A past project list can help you understand the depth and breadth of experience a designer is bringing to the table. If you are considering dealing with an independent consultant (someone who is not in a large firm) we also recommend asking specifically what their role was in those projects, or what their personal accountabilities were. It's important that you understand the individual's scope, so that you can better grasp what they are capable of doing.
2. Have you done permit applications before?
Permit applications have very specific requirements that vary slightly depending on jurisdiction. Permitting offices need to know things like the energy efficiency of the build, they need to see any structural changes and new additions involving structural, even placement of the home on the lot can play a vital role when changing things like windows. A designer who is well versed in building permit applications will help to mitigate back-and-forth-ing at the permit office as their drawings will include all the required elements from the get-go. Ask this question to be clear, and save yourself some time and money later.
3. Are you familiar with national, provincial & local building codes?
We know, this one may seem obvious, but it's worth asking. Someone who is technically fluent in the design aspect (using tools like AutoCAD or Revit) may not necessarily be intimately familiar with building codes. If you're looking for a space designer, this is not necessarily relevant. But the second you're making changes that impact structure, you'll need someone who understands the building code. We're sensing a theme here: ask this question to avoid permit hiccups or work stoppage...or more expensive oversights.
4. Are you insured?
If you are considering such a hefty investment, make sure your designer is insured! If anything goes wrong (and we really hope it doesn't if you've asked the above questions), you're gonna want to know your designer is covered. A professional designer will be carry their own General Liability and Errors & Omissions insurance. Ask the question.
We want your architectural & structural designs and your permit applications to go swimmingly! Take the time. Ask the questions. Make the investment.
Considering a sizeable renovation and needing some architectural or structural design support? With over a decade of experience in engineering consulting and architectural design we have supported projects across the country including residential, retail, and commercial projects with engineers, architects, interior designers, contractors and homeowners alike. Our dedication to delivering the very finest possible service has earned us a reputation for going above and beyond to satisfy the needs of our clients. We currently support clients throughout BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.