How do you find the right design build firm to plan your home addition? The photo (left) shows progress on a two-story addition to a home in Chevy Chase Maryland. As you can see, this type of project involves major structural changes to the home. It is a huge emotional investment and logistical challenge. You do not want to be worrying whether you've chosen the right company once the project is underway because, at that point, it's too late to change. Choosing the right design build firm is the most important decision you will make in the entire process. How do you ensure you align with the best?
Here is the ideal scenario. A few days ago, I stopped by the conference room during a break in a design meeting to introduce myself to a new client. I asked how she'd found out about us. She told me that she was "so relieved" to have gotten our name from a trusted friend. Why relieved? I asked. Because she'd never done a complicated home remodeling project and was absolutely terrified of the process of trying to find a remodeler. What if she picked the wrong company?
It turns out the friend who gave our name is interior designer Sue Burgess. Sue is a top-notch Washington designer and we have collaborated on many projects together. So a recommendation from Sue sealed the deal. Our new client knew there was no need to look further. She could trust us with her project.
If you are considering a major renovation to your home, the first thing you do is talk to someone you trust. That could be a friend, neighbor, colleague, real estate agent or a friend of a friend. Tell them the type of project you are planning. Ask if they have ever done that type of project or know someone who has. Then ask the following ten questions:
- How many firms did you consult?
- How did you decide to choose one?
- Was the project worth the expense?
- Was the process smooth and orderly?
- Did you feel completely comfortable with the construction team?
- Was your property protected and respected?
- Did you feel design and planning prepared you 100% for the construction phase of the project?
- Were all relevant options considered and fully explored to deliver your vision?
- Is the design and craftsmanship everything you hoped it would be?
- Would you hire this company again?
You can ask some of these questions or all of them. The point is that you need to speak to someone you trust who can recommend you to a design build firm that they trust based on personal experience. Good luck!