Do you need a designer’s drawings to build a home?
Well, this builder told their homeowner they didn’t. And if the homeowner had believed them, they would have made a big mistake.
Fortunately, they asked this question instead. Read more here.
When we first launched the mini-course, Happy Home Design, we had a fantastic live Q & A session.
I’m always blown away by the quality of questions I receive from the UA Community, and how you’re thinking about your project, the future home you’re creating, and the way you’re going to make that happen. It’s awesome.
I want to take a minute in this blog post, to talk about one of the questions I received during the Q & A.
Because, for me, it speaks VOLUMES about what can go wrong when building or renovating – but maybe not for the reasons you think.
This was the question:
“One of the builders I’ve spoken to has said that I shouldn’t need to spend a lot on designers’ plans and drawings as they are not used once the external walls are built. Is this true if the builder has experience in interior design?
Now, in the moment, when I first read that question out loud on the Q & A, my reaction was this: “Oh.My.Gosh” and I laughed.
I wasn’t laughing at the person asking the question. Not at all!
In fact – I was actually really shocked.
Shocked that the builder even expressed that point of view so brazenly (and are running their business and projects that way).
I want to talk more about that in a minute, but first, let me share the answer to that question. It’s this:
Good quality drawings are an asset in any project.
When things are not drawn or described in your contract documentation, they are assumed in your contract.
And when something is assumed, it means it is subject to change and variation – which translates to money and time in your project.
Drawings are the most significant way to control outcomes on your project. Creating drawings for your home’s interiors (especially for your kitchen and bathroom areas) means:
- You’ll bring forward your decision-making about those areas (rather than leaving it until during construction)
- You can achieve accurate pricing (pre-contract) based on what you actually want
- Limiting the number of PC items and Provisional sums
- Which reduces the number of variations during the build
If instead, you do what this builder suggests, what will most likely happen is this:
- You’ll get a contract sum that includes a large range of allowances (Provisional Sums and PC Items)
- During construction, the builder will send you to meet with suppliers and subcontractors to make selections and finalise the design on areas (tiling, kitchen joinery, lighting, etc)
- And then you can discover that what has been allowed does not match what you envisaged, and you’ll be charged a variation (with a higher margin) to have it included
The challenge with this scenario is:
- The builder gets paid for the cost of the build regardless (including the variations)
- You may not get what you want because it’s not in your budget (because you started the contract with incorrect assumptions) or because you find out too late what you’re actually getting
- Construction is a more stressful experience due to having to make decisions under time and cost pressure
- Even if the builder is great at interior design, if it’s not drawn before you sign the contract, you have no way of knowing what you’re actually getting – or holding them accountable to it
- And your floor plans only say so much. For example, a wall hung vanity looks the same as a floor mounted one in a floor plan – but will require different construction, different plumbing and have a different cost.
However, what has really been mulling over in my mind since last night, however, is this:
What if this homeowner believed this builder?
What if they didn’t ask me that question?
What if they just trusted the builder was right, dived into their project, and then dealt with the consequences.
What would have happened then??
So, thank you Daniel, for asking this question. And I thank you for forgiving me for laughing too – I was so worried I had offended you, but I was just so shocked a builder would actually say this!!
When you’re silent and not asking the questions, or being worried about looking silly about something you think you should know …
That’s what enables the industry to get away with sub-standard project experiences, and sub-standard homes.
Many homeowners on the other side of a terrible situation have said to me “we were just too naive and trusting”.
So don’t be silent.
Keep asking questions until the people you’re working with have demonstrated the authority, expertise, and respect to earn your trust.
And to learn more about the drawings you do need for your new build or renovation project, I’ve got these resources:
- What drawings do I need to build or renovate? >>> READ THIS BLOG
- How to check your design drawings >>> PODCAST EPISODE 212
- How to check your construction drawings >>> PODCAST EPISODE 213
The Q & A session inside Happy Home Design is epic. If you’d like to jump into Happy Home Design, and access all the awesome info in there (including the recording of the Q & A session) you can do so here.
And if you’d like to learn how to choose the right builder, and learn how the specific checks to do, and questions to ask, when interviewing builders for your project >>> CHOOSE YOUR BUILDER