...there’s nothing like banking on the experience of a designer
By Kelli Berry
You know what you like, and that’s great. However, what you like may not perform as you expected because you didn’t hire the right professional for the job.
I recently met with a potential client who was frazzled and desperate to get some professional advice about how to turn her Class C property into a Class B property without breaking the bank. I walked her project with her, observing some of the upgrades already performed and commented on a few of them.
For starters, the elevator lobby has porcelain tile installed on the floor, with … white grout. The porcelain tile did not have metal-edge strips along the perimeter to protect the leading edge from rolling carts, the UPS guy, and other office pitfalls. In three months the tile will be cracked and need replacing. Therein lies the rub: clients don’t know what they don't know. And what you don't will cost you big bucks in lost revenue.
Next up was the carpet for the elevator lobby. In this case, it was yellow. Really? There is no other color in flooring that is more difficult to maintain appearance retention than yellow. On top of that, the base was installed incorrectly and the stairs were not to code.
In short, the quality of installation was sub-par and the design decisions were wrong. Wrong from the standpoints of performance, budget, maintenance, and impact on the ability for the asset to attract and retain tenants.
Commercial design has little to do with a matter of taste and everything to do with proven best practice methods. This allows the designer to choose the products that will perform, provide safety and ease of maintenance, and promote the asset so there is always a healthy revenue stream.
The property owner does not understand that you can’t take a property manager and turn them into a designer and general contractor. The owner will waste money every time, delay revenue recognition, and expend funds on external costs, creating profit loss. They need to be aware of the value a professional designer and general contractor can bring to the overall success of the project.
An architect once inquired what I do for a living. When I explained, I then proudly said: “It doesn't take a rocket scientist. It just takes an experienced designer.”
Now that’s something a client can take to the bank.