My first step with any client is to establish our shared brief.
If I am “shopping” for you, I need to know what matters to you. Everyone has different priorities. Some clients will be deeply concerned about indoor air quality; others care passionately about where their timber is sourced. Some people want to do their own research on some products; others will just want me to recommend one or two of everything. And everyone has a budget they need to work within.
I start with a three-hour consultation. From this you can expect to:
- get a sense of the range of issues that might need to be taken into account during your build, and
- develop clarity about your priorities and values when it comes to selecting building materials, products and services.
After our meeting, I write these up into a 'values overview' that you can take to builders or designers.
Please note that this is a different process to a design brief. While I like to check that you are on the right track in terms of things like passive solar design, we won’t otherwise talk about issues like spatial design in this meeting.
When thinking about environmentally responsible building, people often think of things like recycled timber or mud brick. But there are many other (often cheaper) ways to minimise the impact of your build – from plasterboard to recycled polyester.
I can provide your builder with suggestions about products for all phases of your build – from footings to fitout. If they want, I can also link them with sources. This can be especially helpful if they are feeling worried that building “green” is going to be more work.
Product recommendations can be as detailed or generic as you like. Especially when it comes to interiors, I am happy to narrow down to a couple of products and let you choose which you prefer – based on your own aesthetics.
Here are some examples of the kinds of products I can suggest.
Cladding, roofing, floors, insulation, external doors and windows, external trims, decks and pergolas
Taps, baths, showers and shower heads, kitchen / bathroom joinery and bench tops, robes and timber joinery
Architraves and trims, tiles, carpets, paints and timber finishes, sealants and treatments
For each item I suggest, I provide you with:
- The make and model of the item
- Product URL
- My own comments on the product’s environmental credibility (not the marketing guff)
- Contact details for at least one supplier
- Information about the price point of the item (relative to competitors who are not or less environmentally preferred)
specialty searches & shopping
I have an extensive database of basic products; but sometimes a custom build requires a custom response. I can dig deep to find specialty products or services and evaluate them against your criteria.
I can also:
- Critically appraise your design in terms of materials, functionality and thermal performance
- Assess your builder's standard product list and point to areas for improvement
- Assist you to develop and document a detailed design brief for your architect/building designer/builder
- Assist you to develop a 'mood board' or materials palette
- Manage or assist your expressions of interest and tender processes
- Meet with, brief and liaise with your builder during design and contract negotiation processes
- Liaise with your architect/building designer/builder about items you want to use in your build.