“No human masterpiece has been created without great labour” – Andre Gide , French Author
Before you begin this journey of finding the right team to do your home, office or interiors for any commercial use, it is very critical that you understand that you are going be a part of a onetime process, an ongoing process and that it is not an over the counter sale.
As you have an understanding of this, you also acknowledge that you are going to build relationships along this process with people including your contractors, vendors, designers and also labours.
For the masterpiece that you are going to be creating (feelings that you are going to experience) at the end of this process is intangible and for some of you it may be a home of dreams or an office that you always wanted to have a café that everyone must know about, so the key is to be patient while you follow the process and make the right decision.
Let us look at the technical aspect of this process now. In India there are many traditional and modern ways of doing this job, however I am only listing down the professional ways of doing it. I will be talking about:
- Ways to go about doing the job right
- Importance or role of a contractor
- Setting your expectations
- Things to know – Do’s & Dont’s
WAYS TO GO ABOUT DOING THE JOB RIGHT
1. Turnkey solution- This is the best case scenario, where you hire services of one team who does both design and execution of work for you which includes design, drawings, co-ordination with all the teams and delivers the project within the committed deadline. Work against a plan of action and keep your contact with a single person to avoid any confusion.
2. Designer + Contractor – This is another way of going about this process where you have one expert designer and their team with whom you interact, share your thoughts and feelings about the house and your requirements. Indulge in this process to an extent that even your wardrobe’s drawers and shelves should be planned. As the market for home interiors is so dynamic, there are new products being introduced every now and then, these guys are the ones who are updated with the latest materials in the market. After this you find a professional team who can execute the design that your designer has made and a BOQ (Bill of quantities or estimate of work) that co-relates to the design.
IMPORTANCE OR THE ROLE OF A CONTRACTOR
It is very important that you hire the services of a contractor. This individual is your one point contact between various other teams like civil, plumber, electrician, carpenter, false ceiling, painter and such others that may be involved in the process. The contractor is the person who knows the sequence of works to be done as most of these are inter – related. He/She has knowledge in all these fields and is the one who can guide you right through this process.
A contractor or his/her representative (site supervisor) is responsible of the progress of work and keeping all the parties in loop and keeping them updated with the latest progress at site. A contractor can suggest places in the market from where you can source the right material at the right price.
Believe in your contractor as you may be doing this for the first and last time, but this contractor is doing it on a daily basis. They come with tricks to handle labours too!
SETTING YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Remember that communication is the key.
Before you start, communicate what your expectations are from each other in terms of following the 2D and 3D drawings, ensuring the finishes are acceptable, timeline and deadlines, pricing or any other aspect that may be relevant in your case.
Since the process of home interiors is a team effort of various people from different fields of work, you may not understand everything at once, but if you wish to know and understand, ask your contractor or designer. This will avoid last minute surprises.
PRICING OR RATES
Here we are going to be talking about the various methods in which you can finalize the estimate or work order.
1. On square feet basis – This is widely used and most common way of calculation. This is also a great way if you want to compare rates between 2 or more different contracting companies.
Eg- you wish to build a wardrobe where the dimensions are – width – 3 feet, height – 7 feet and the depth of the wardrobe is 2 feet. For square feet calc you will multiply 3×7 = 21 sft.
Understand that the material used to construct the depth of the wardrobe is included in the rate quoted.
2. On percentage basis – A contractor will charge you a certain percentage of all the material procured. This percentage covers the labour cost and the profits. Material bill will be clearly shown to the client and he/she can verify if they wish to. You must clear in the beginning the percentage rate and on which items will it be calculated on.
Eg – The agreed percentage is 35% on material. Material is procured by the contractor.
Plywood worth – Rs 2 lakhs ; Hardware worth – Rs 20 thousand ; Laminates worth – Rs 35 thousand ; Miscellaneous items like fevicol , screw , tape etc worth – Rs 7 thousand – Total Rs 2,62,000/-
Project value – Rs 2,62,000/- + total payable to contractor – Rs 91700/- = Rs 3,53,700
(35% of 2,62,000 i.e. Rs 91,700)
3. A fixed amount – Once you have the designs and a BOQ ready go through them thoroughly with your contractor discussing each and every item in detail and then at the end you may agree to close it a certain fixed price mutually convenient.
Remember – extra work other than agreement = extra payment.
Above are professionally accepted methods of pricing or rates in this market, and we recommend you stick to one of these.
THINGS TO KNOW – DO’s AND DONT’s
1. Hire services of a professional interior designer – everyone who knows how to use CAD software are not interior designers.
2.Do not work with individual teams – a contractor is a must who can co-ordinate between teams so you can go to work without worrying about site conditions. Follow this tip and save yourself from the trouble of blame game and co –ordination between teams. Please understand that you are at the losing end in this never ending blame game.
3.If possible, meet the heads of various teams like carpenters, false ceiling etc so you can establish a human connection with them and they also feel a sense of acknowledgement and respect.
4.Gain some knowledge about the material and its behavior before you decide you use them. You may want to consider factors like your geographical location, your style, your taste and preferences, and do not go by anything and everything you see on the internet. For e.g. – if you live in a cold place, you do not want to choose marble as a flooring material, you may choose wood or other material with good insulation properties.
5.Visit places, look at the internet or any other medium so that you know your style. Every individual has a style. Try to identify yours. I like floral walls you may like a city skyline or a superhero!
6.Ensure that you work with a registered vendor/contractor.
Note – Above thoughts are keeping in mind Indian market for home interiors and my experience in the last 6 years. We are – Abode & Beyond based out of Bangalore. Please visit our website for more details.