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6 Factors You Should Know When Hiring Interior Designers and Contractors

It may be a real nightmare if you hire the wrong people for the job because the last thing you need is an overnight contractor who will add to delays.

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Home renovations are stressful enough. We’ve all heard of horror stories about dealing with unresponsive project managers, sloppy time frames, and bad outcomes even after the project has been delayed for months. Even the worst companies have appealing images to deceive you. Here are some methods for vetting interior designers in Singapore you’re considering hiring: 

What to Look for in an Interior Design Company in Singapore

Before we start, it’s crucial to clarify that interior designers and contractors are not the same thing. In theory, interior designers are responsible for creating the complete remodelling plans, whereas contractors are just accountable for carrying out those plans. 

It’s common for interior designers to claim that they aren’t responsible for poor implementation because it is the contractor’s responsibility, since they may have no control on who the contractor hires as subcontractors (electricians, carpenters, painters, and so on). Similarly, the contractor should not be held responsible for poor design decisions because they are simply following instructions. 

However, there is a lot of overlap between interior design firms and contractors in practice. Contractors, for example, may have interior designers on staff, and vice versa. Some larger companies can and do play both roles (design and build, basically). Before hiring, make sure you understand these specifics and who is responsible for what.

Factors to Consider When Hiring Interior Designers and Contractors

Keep in mind that if you’re doing the design yourself and hiring a contractor to complete the work, you’ll have a lot of work ahead of you. The time and effort required to handle projects can be a lot more than you initially realise, from being on-site to accept materials to communicating and arranging deliveries and timetables. Things don’t always go as planned, and navigating a project effectively occasionally necessitates the expertise of a seasoned professional.

That aside, here are some factors to consider when looking for a contractor or designer in Singapore:

  1. Accreditation

The Singapore Interior Design Accreditation Scheme has three categories for interior designers. Designers in Class 1 have a recognised degree in interior design or interior architecture and have worked for at least 24 months. Those in Class 2 have at least 18 months of experience and a work-study or diploma in interior design or interior architecture. Class 3 interior designers hold a Nitec in Spatial Design and have worked for at least 12 months. Make sure the designers you hire have accreditation from at least one of these classes, and choose one that suits your needs best.

  1. Warranties and Insurance

Inquire about any warranties or guarantees the firm can offer. For specific sorts of work, such as carpentry or custom furniture, reputable companies will provide these.

  1. Third Party or In-House Sub-Contracting

Some renovation companies use in-house carpenters, electricians, and other tradespeople. Others may enlist the help of private subcontractors. Understand the pros and cons of each based on your specific requirements and financial constraints.

Photo by Karl Solano
  1. Previous Work Experience

If you’re renovating a HDB flat, request examples that are appropriate for the type and size of your unit. These examples can give you a clearer picture of the designer or contractor’s experience if you’re refurbishing a terrace house. Don’t fall for the designer images that most of them project at meetings.

  1. Read and Understand Reviews

With a fast Google search, you can find these quickly. We’re not saying you should trust online reviews blindly, but it’s unlikely that people would go through the hassle of creating empty accounts just to complain about a firm unless there’s been a major issue. Reviews are valuable in their own right and they’ll likely have a bigger influence on your decision than you might think.

  1. Payment and Contract Terms

Regardless of how trustworthy the organisation appears, paying huge amounts (or the entire amount) upfront is a risky move. An excellent idea is to make sure you and your contractor settle on a payment schedule that is agreeable for both of you.
Completing your interior design can be as strenuous as home-building. Be cautious when choosing your interior designer in Singapore. Keep these tips in mind when  screening to choose the most apt interior design company from Singapore for your renovation works.