DT Transparent300

Appointing a Designer #2

Our “Appointing a Designer” guide continues from the ‘Initial meeting’ and now focuses on fee proposals.

Following your initial meetings you’ll receive fee proposals for each designer’s involvement on the stages you discussed during your meeting.

Having seen many different proposals from many different designers over the years, we can say with a high degree of certainty that each proposal will vary in the level & clarity of information provided, what’s is and isn’t included and of course the fees – the costs, how they’re calculated and how they’re bundled together.

There is no industry standard for this, so each practice does it in their own way.  Often it takes the form of a letter or email, which outlines the costs which may be an estimate of hours vs rates, a fixed rate or a percentage of an estimated construction value.

We would agree that it is sometimes difficult to compare like for like due to these different formats, but also because of the way stages are sometimes bundled together.  In addition, different practices will have different overheads and this will be reflected in the costs.  Some practice’s fees will also be subject to VAT, while others won’t.  All of this adds up to a relatively confusing picture.

Here’s our tips on comparing proposals:

·         Are the proposals quoting for the same stages? If not, why not?

·         How are the stages broken down?

·         At what stage(s) will you be invoiced?

·         Is VAT chargeable, and if so has this been included?

·         Are application fees included or in addition? It is common for these to be paid directly by you, the client.

·         Don’t be afraid to go back and ask questions.

·         Does the practice carry Professional Indemnity insurance?

If you find you are struggling to compare or make a decision it can sometimes be worth requesting sample drawings for each stage in order for you to compare the quality of the information produced at each stage.

Remember that it’s not always best to opt for the cheapest fee.  As a creative service industry, you are essentially paying for ideas, guidance through the process and quality of information, which can take considerable time and therefore cost.

We find that many domestic clients are only planning on carrying out a project once to create something special for them to live in for a considerable period of time and so these clients are often comfortable making the investment (in terms of time, quality of information and cost) to achieve the desired outcome.

At Daintree we try to keep things as clear, fair and flexible as possible.  We approach each stage individually and don’t bundle together unnecessary stages.

We always price initially to obtain consents – these are the necessary stages to ensure that what you are doing is all above board.  For a typical domestic project this will usually involve 4 main stages:

1.       Measured Survey/Site Survey

2.       Design Development

3.       Planning Application

4.       Building Regulations Application

For small/medium scale domestic projects this is quite frequently enough information for the contractor to get going.

That said, we do also offer optional later stages to clients. This can include full working drawings packages & specifications through to running a tender with a selection of builders and administering the contract between you and the contractor.  We offer these later stages on a ‘pick & mix’ basis to keep our involvement as flexible as possible and to offer you the best value for money.

We appreciate that every project and each client is different. Because of this we don’t have set designs/templates and we don’t have set fees.  We approach each project with a blank sheet and, most importantly, your specific client brief, your wants, needs, aims, objectives, budget etc – as well as things to avoid.

If you would like to book a free initial meeting please contact us to discuss your project on 01273 286 683.

Don’t forget to find us on social media:

Don’t forget to find us on social media: