Top 6 Questions to Ask Your Home Designer Before Hiring Them

So, you want to build a log or timber frame home. You’ve been fantasizing about your dream home for years, ever since you set eyes on your first timber home, and now you’re at a place in life where you can finally see your dream come to life. You know every detail, the style, the space, the functionality. Now, you just need help designing it to your specifications. But finding the right designer for the job can be so confusing these days.

So, how do you know which designer to trust out of the growing selection? Start by asking any potential designer these 6 simple questions in order to avoid costly mistakes, and you’ll have a good understanding if they’ll be the right fit for you.

#1 Do you provide a contract and what does it include?

All designers should provide a detailed contract and you need to be sure that you understand your contract inside and out. If there is anything you don’t understand, be sure to ask your designer for clarification – and keep asking until you’re sure you understand completely. If any changes are made to the work being done after the contract is signed, this should be agreed upon between you and the designer, amended in your contract and signed by both parties. Be diligent about writing it all down. Every conversation. Every suggestion. Every change.

#2 Do you provide plans and specifications with the help of an engineer?

A well-designed and detailed plan can provide construction savings by avoiding costly delays and last minute changes to your home. Before you choose your designer, make sure they take you through their process from start to finish. This process should include detailed plans and specifications, as well as the valuable consultation of a certified structural engineer.

#3 Who is responsible overall for the design of my home and who do I talk to if there is a problem? What are the lines of communication?

As the saying goes, too many chefs in the kitchen spoils the whole broth; but this doesn’t just apply to your kitchen. Before you hire a designer, you need to be sure you know who is in charge and who makes the final decisions when it comes to your home. Is the person handing you your contract the same person you’ll be communicating with throughout the design and build of your home? Have a clear understanding of each person’s role in the design of your home and who you need to speak with if issues come up or you want to change part of your design.

#4 What is included with the design of my home? Interior design? Landscaping?

There’s a wide array of services that a designer can offer that go beyond drawings and floor plans. Make sure you ask your designer what options they can provide in designing your home. Will they just be providing the basics – concepts, floor plans and 3D renderings? Or will they include an interior design package, landscaping and sustainable practices, and will they collaborate with engineers and your building team throughout the build of your dream home?

#5 What steps do you take to ensure my home meets Green and LEED standards?

With the ever increasing growth and development of the world’s communities, home design plays an important role in our impact on the natural environment. Modern designers should be well trained in sustainable practices that increase each home’s energy efficiency, while also reducing waste and building impacts on human health and the environment throughout the entire life-cycle of the home. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system that is recognized as the international mark of excellence for green building in 150 countries, and certification is an important indication of the type of designer you want working for you.

#6 How do you work with the builder and if I don’t have one can you help me find one?

Many of the clients that we work with already have a builder in mind. If you already have a builder for your project, it’s important to find a designer that can help provide the specs and details that your builder will require. Some locations have specific code requirements that need to be followed. It’s also important for the designer to speak with your builder and understand their style of building. Some builders have a particular look, feel and design that they build and you want to ensure that the design aligns with that look you’re searching for.

Additionally, it’s important to work with a designer that has contacts within the industry. Finding a designer that can put your project out to tender to few of builders will help ensure you get the right builder and the right price. We have worked with numerous builders over the years specializing in specific styles, and locations for both commercial and residential.

Finding the right designer to help you with your plans is a critical part in the process for building your home. With the proper design team you can ensure that your home will be exactly like you imagined.

If you would like to contact us about a design or idea you have feel free to email us at: