Part 1 | Laying the Groundwork and Setting Pre-Design Expectations
Almost every conversation we have with new design clients start with “Where do I begin?”. We totally get it… the design process can be a bit overwhelming for someone who has never done it before. That’s why we are here to help!
In this three-part blog series, we will discuss the main questions and concerns clients have when starting the design process.
Now let’s get started by laying the groundwork and setting realistic pre-design expectations, timelines, and budgets!
Picking your Dream Team
Choosing the right “team” to work with is one of the most important decisions you will face throughout the design and build process. You want to make sure you pick a team that sees your vision and helps you accomplish your goals, while still being able to have the “tough” conversations when your ideas might not be the best course of action.
Your dream team should consist of a banking institution for financing, a design and manufacturing team, and a general contractor. For more advice on picking the right team visit our Wanting to Create a New Space? blog post.
Solidifying Financing and Creating a Budget
Your banking institution will solidify your financing and help you come up with a realistic budget for your build out. Not having a proper budget is the single biggest mistake that anyone can make when starting the design process. The second biggest mistake is thinking you can do it cheaper than people that do it professionally all the time. After 40+ years of manufacturing and construction experience, we have seen there are too many variables to define for someone to effectively work to an unrealistically low budget. Banks that do practice loans are a great source of “logical” information for construction and fixture budgets. They see the original budgets that loans were granted for and then have the data for the actual payments made. (more in our Answers to your FAQs blog post).
Unfortunately, we don’t have a one size fits all budget calculator but there are some industry averages you can work off to give yourself an idea of ranges.
- Design Fees: $1.50/sq foot
- Permitting Services: $2.00 – $4.00/sq foot (Permits are not always required)
- Display Fixtures & Casework: $30.00 – $40.00/sq foot
- Construction (includes lighting & flooring): $105 – $130 per square foot
Overall you are looking at $140-$180/sq foot, but keep in mind you will want to allow for some extra wiggle room in budget. There are always costs that you don’t expect (i.e. permit submittal fees, printing fees, etc.). Again, these are just averages so do not base your entire budget off this. You will want to get estimates from each of the trades to get a better idea of budget.
Creating an Initial Timeline for your Project
Make sure your give yourself PLENTY of time to complete your project. Rushed projects are usually never done as cost effectively or as thoroughly as they could be. Throughout the project your timelines may change, but it is imperative that you have an initial timeline to work from.
Here is an example of an estimated timeline we give our clients. Just as with the budget discussion, these are just estimations and your specific project timeline may vary.
- Initial Design: 3 – 6 weeks (dependent on your speed of approvals)
- Permit drafting: 1 – 2 weeks
- Permit approvals (depends on the city): 4 – 6 weeks
- Production & Construction (typically done simultaneously)
- Production of fixtures and casework: 6 – 8 weeks
- Construction (depends on the complexity of the build out): 8 – 10 weeks
- Shipping/Pick Up: 2 – 5 business days
- Installation: 1 week (depending on the complexity of installation)
Overall you are looking at about 5-7 months and that doesn’t include any of the time needed for discussions with the landlord about the lease or waiting on financing from your lender. Again, it is very important that you give yourself enough time to complete your project. Taking time up front and being involved through the design process will give you comfort knowing that when construction starts, you can stay focused on what you do best- eye health and fashion! (more in our Your New Office (Part 3) blog post)
Stay tuned for part two in our three-part series on Effective Space Planning!