A FOCUS ON INTERIOR DESIGN PROJECT MANAGEMENT
As a creative person, I went into interior design knowing I wanted to work with beautiful things and make spaces look amazing. All I thought about was how much fun I was going to have and what an exciting career lay ahead of me!
I knew there would be challenges but it took just one project for me to realise that to ensure I was successful in the long term; I would have to face up to the amount of administrative work this industry demands and learn the fine art of interior design project management.
Project management is a wide term used to cover all the elements of interior design that come together to deliver the project on budget, on time. Making the design a reality involves a lot of hard work in the background and being clear to the client about the amount of work entailed is imperative. This enables us to demonstrate our worth and allows us to clearly set out our fees from the outset.
From taking the enquiry, fixing the brief and setting out the project’s scope of works, processes must be in place from the get-go to ensure nothing is missed or overlooked.
A full “specification of works” seems rudimentary but I have worked with designers that don’t list their tasks, have no timescale to work to on a daily or weekly basis and can’t communicate requests to their team in a clear and concise manner. The project becomes chaotic, the team demotivated, and mistakes are made. Having structure in place allows creativity to run free, and the design to flourish.
Poor management filters through to the client who then feels unsure about the design process. The last thing we want is a client who feels they need to chase for updates and ultimately doesn’t enjoy the experience of working with a designer.
At Matthews Rea we are passionate about the design process, something I never thought I would say! The successful management of a project is only as good as the structure behind it. Setting out responsibilities to all involved, including the design team and contractors, issuing full drawing packs and detailed specifications, working with a programme and ensuring the design is complete before you start is fundamental but so often skipped over.
Never assume someone else will know what you want! At Matthews Rea we like to ensure every detail is covered, every element quoted for and understood. This follows on to good communication to all involved, with meetings documented and decisions made quickly so nothing is delayed.
We factor in contingency as there will always be issues that nobody would have predicted. Not letting problems throw you off track, keeping calm and dealing with it quickly and decisively makes you a good project manager as well as a designer. Not being afraid to ask for advice from the experts around you is also key; contractors know their trade, so use them to come to the right decision!
This all takes the right sort of person, calm and organised, with confidence to take control. Many interior designers find that they enjoy the organisation side of a project, overseeing the day to day management process. However, if you do not, or if you are too busy running your company, consider hiring someone who can take care of everything for you. Of course, there is a fee for that hire, but ultimately it will save you both time and money and you will know your project is in safe hands.