It is true in many of life’s situations, it is often wise to plan for more than you may need. Take pizza for example. You may plan to have five friends join you for dinner, or you may end up having ten friends show up. It’s best to order enough for ten people and have leftovers than it is to plan for five and not have enough food. You wouldn’t want hungry guests. Plus, who doesn’t like extra pizza?

In the design and construction world though, it’s typically best to not have leftovers when it comes to classrooms, study areas, or office space. You also certainly don’t want to come up short. As your designer and trusted advisor, we are here to help you plan for the exact space you will need in your new construction or renovation projects.

So how does one ensure that their project ends up hitting that happy balance of meeting all the needs without going over the top and ending up with leftovers? It begins with planning, thinking ahead, and anticipating issues. We often notice that our Owners can easily run into the conundrum of waiting too long during the design process to speak up about their space needs or issues that arise. Unfortunately, while we are very experienced in what we do and can anticipate a great number of issues and guide an owner through them, we are not mind readers. Often an owner either doesn’t really know how much space they are going to need, they push it off because they are afraid to overestimate based on preliminary numbers and growth projections, or any other reason that may table the discussion until a later date. If you are adding on to your existing building to accommodate for predicted growth, it is important to let us know those numbers well before design is underway, even if it is only a very rough estimate at the time.

We follow the great Mark Twain saying here around the Schmidt offices to “eat your frog first”. If you have a daunting task to accomplish or a mistake to own up to (the frog), do it right away. Don’t let the frog sit on your plate and just stare at it – get it over with. You may not want to commit to something with incomplete information, but take a best (conservative) guess. Avoiding the frog for too long will only allow issues to grow, making it even more difficult to face once you are forced to.

As an owner, waiting too long to tell the design team about your space needs could impact:

  • Timeline – an already-tight schedule wasn’t created with late design changes in mind. Reworking plans to fit in more space than originally discussed will take some time to get it right.
  • Budget – it is easier to design for more than you need, knowing you may need to back space out of the project, than it is to add things later in the process when the budget is tight.
  • Quality of work – if a job is rushed, the quality is always at risk. Allowing the design team to take the time necessary for your changes will balance out that risk.

To set a realistic timeline, maximize your dollars, and assure high quality of work, you may need to begin working with a designer before your concrete idea exists. Getting us involved during the planning process will help to ensure you are on the right path, maximizing your resources, and finishing with a project you love!