Should you get a second opinion on your home design?
Here’s 3 ways to know, as well as mistakes to avoid, and key tips to help you audit your own design.
Listen to the episode now.
Hello! This is Episode 282. In it, I’m going to talk about getting a second opinion on your design, and whether it’s something you should consider in your project.
I’ll share the main reasons I see homeowners seek them, and the mistakes to avoid in sourcing second opinions on your home design and project.
And, I’ll also share some quick tips to help you audit your home design yourself.
This will be super helpful if you’ve been trying to decide whether you need a second opinion on your home design or something else happening in your project, or if it’s going to be a useful thing to access at some point in your project journey.
Now, let’s dive in!
When I began Undercover Architect in mid 2014, I had a range of design services I offered online. They ranged from designing a new home, or designing a renovation and extension for clients, through to something I called “Fix a Floor Plan”.
This service was where a client had had a design done by someone else, and wanted help with changing it or improving it. I would design alternatives to the existing floor plan that didn’t change the external wall positions, but would reconfigure how the internal plan was working, to make it more efficient, more functional, and feel better overall. The changes could be small tweaks right through to more considerable changes.
And then those clients would take those designs back to their team to continue the process, or they’d find new teams to move forward on their project. I didn’t enforce copyright, so they were free to do with the designs what they wished. However, because the designs were fairly resolved, designed with constructability in mind, and suited the client and the site, there’s loads of those projects out there now that were completed as built and finished homes fairly unchanged.
However, not all designers enjoy having a client that’s sought a second opinion from another professional. And to be honest, that was why some clients went elsewhere after they worked with me, so they could have a fresh start with someone else, and use the design I’d done as their launchpad.
Or, I even had clients who re-drew my drawings as sketches or navigated the changes through feedback, comments and review in working with their team. They kept my involvement a secret, and just pretended it was their own personal feedback about the design. They were worried about offending their designer, or their designer being angry they’d gone outside the relationship, and got another opinion. They thought it would be gentler if they presented it as their own feedback.
I always say Undercover Architect is your secret ally, and in this case, I was REALLY secret!
I also had loads of UA Community who got in touch with me because they’d asked their design professional about getting a second opinion on the design for a range of reasons, and been talked out of it by their architect or designer. Designers had said it would confuse the process, potentially derail things, slow things down, and be too difficult to incorporate.
I always find it interesting to see how homeowners and design professionals handle the idea of getting a second opinion. And the resistance that can exist around this idea of seeking one, and potentially putting the designer off side. Or the designer being annoyed that the homeowner has sought out one.
Initially it really shocked me, but I think that’s because collaboration and input from other design professionals has always been such a big part of the design process in the places I’ve worked.
One place I worked that did this in a BIG way, was Mirvac Design, the inhouse architectural business of Mirvac, which at the time, was the largest property developer in Australia. And Mirvac Design was the largest architectural practice in Australia as well. I started working at Mirvac Design in Queensland when I was 29, and I was there for 7 years, working as a Project Architect in their senior design team.
Mirvac had a super rigorous design review process, so I got very used to sharing my design with others, collaborating in its improvement and taking on feedback and input from others.
Every week, we held a design meeting where we, as the architects, had to present to the full project team, which included representatives from development, sales and marketing, estimating, construction and customer relations.
Everyone got to provide their input in the design outcome based on their area of expertise.
As the design progressed through different stages, every project also had to go to State Product Review, where you would present to other project team in the business and get their input. And then we also had to participate in National Product Reviews at particular milestones, where project teams from all Mirvac state offices attended and provided input on the design.
And at the time, Mirvac had a goal that 1 in 5 sales in every development would be to someone who had previously bought from Mirvac. So, that meant that the customer’s feedback was sought out and informed the design process as well, generally via Customer Relations’ input into the design process.
It may seem like a cast of thousands informing the design process, and sometimes it was hard to juggle and incorporate all the ideas and feedback. However, the guiding force in all of it was that everyone operated from the same agenda, and that was this: The project is king (or queen, if you like to put it that way!)
What this meant is that everything was about serving the project, and the goals and criteria that really underpinned that were set as part of the positioning, goals and vision for each project. It didn’t come down to any individual’s wishes or wants. The focus was on the best outcome for the project, which was ultimately the best outcome for the end occupant or owner of the project, and the business overall.
In an individual project for a homeowner, I believe that it’s you, as the client and owner of the future home, that establishes your vision as the priority and driving force. And the team you pull together are adding their expertise to help you deliver that vision, as well as guiding, informing, and filling the gaps on your vision to enable it to become a reality.
My experience in working in an environment where all this collaboration and review was part of the process was that it improved the design, and the outcome for the project.
However, I will add a caveat here: it’s because the feedback and review was being given by people who had expertise and experience, who understood the goals of the project and what we were seeking to achieve, and who were operating from the shared agenda of the project being king.
In a minute, I’ll dive more into why this matters when seeking a second opinion, when I share some of the mistakes I see people experiencing.
Now, I no longer provide these 1:1 design services inside Undercover Architect. I got to the point in the business where I was unable to do both: provide 1:1 services AND help people through my online courses and programs. At the time, I reviewed whether to hire staff and scale the architectural services side of the business, or stop doing the work altogether, and focus on educating homeowners.
It wasn’t an easy decision, because I LOVE working with clients and designing their homes, and seeing them become real buildings that they then live in and make their own.
However, I knew, and still know, that I could, and can, have a more significant impact through educating you more about home design, and how to choose and work with people who are local to you, and also craft a fantastic project experience for yourself.
So, I stopped doing the design services altogether, and now solely focus on Undercover Architect’s online courses and flagship program, HOME Method. And of course, since then, I’ve also started Live Life Build with my business partner, Duayne Pearce.
Inside HOME Method, members are still able to purchase Zoom consultations and Design Reviews with me though, so even though I’m not designing projects from scratch, it’s still great to be able to help homeowners with that impartial second opinion and input as they’re navigating their project.
And it’s me providing 1:1 feedback on their questions inside HOME Method Q & A sessions as well – so there’s still that opportunity to get my personalised help and feedback in your project via HOME Method. And as a result, I’m regularly providing that impartial second opinion on the experience homeowners are having and the decisions they’re making as they work with their teams and bring their home to reality.
Now, of course, this idea of a second opinion is not an unfamiliar one in many other industries. Many seek second opinions for big financial and health decisions. So it’s totally reasonable to want to do the same thing when making big and impactful choices about your future new build or renovation as well.
So how do you work out whether you actually need a second opinion when you’re working through the design of your new home or renovation?
Or when you’re challenged by something specific on your project, and just not sure if you’re getting the right advice, or if you’re making the best decisions for yourself?
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE NOW.
Who should you use? Architect, building designer or draftsperson [Part 1] >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-who-should-you-use-home-design-part-1/
Who should you use? Architect, building designer or draftsperson [Part 2] >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-who-should-you-use-home-design-part-2/
How to choose the right designer for you >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-how-to-choose-a-designer/
Remotely interviewing and selecting a designer >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/interview-designer-architect-remotely/
Architect / Building Designer / Draftsperson – What’s the difference? >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/architect-vs-draftsperson-vs-building-designer-whats-the-difference/
Bad service? Bad designer? Here’s what to do >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/how-to-leave-your-designer-or-builder/
What should be in a designer’s fee proposal >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-should-be-in-architect-quote/
What to know before you sign a building contract with lawyer, Despina Priala >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-building-contract-lawyer-advice-myb/
How to set your building or renovation budget >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/setting-project-budget/
How to check your construction drawings >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-how-to-check-construction-drawings/
Access the support and guidance you need to be confident and empowered when renovating and building your family home inside my flagship online program, HOME METHOD >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/the-home-method/
Learn more about how to get started with your home design with the Happy Home Design mini-course >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/happy-home-design
Access my free online workshop “Your Project Plan” >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/projectplan