Archinect
anchor

Layman needs answers on interior design

GoldCoast_Sekondi

I have a contract with a design-build company to design a new construction home for me. In the preliminary stages before the contract was signed, we discussed the interior design, upon which the principal of the company invited me to have access to his Dropbox account to upload all inspirational photos. He also recommended a Houzz account to create an Ideasbook. Long story short, he's trying to ditch his obligations, and he claims that interior design was not specified.

My question is, would you consider interior design as part of the deal since the contract stipulates that the company is responsible for "the selection of all elements going into the project, such as materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, and appearance, using plans, elevations, and specifications? 

Thank you in advance!

 
Feb 4, 24 4:27 pm
bowling_ball

What does your contract say? Should be spelled out there. If you don't have a contract, it's your word against theirs and this is what they do for a living, so....

Feb 4, 24 5:15 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thanks for your response and input. Yes, I do have a contract and this is what was stated in the contract:

Feb 4, 24 6:49 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thanks for your response and input. Yes, I do have a contract and this is what was stated in the contract:
"The selection of all elements going into the project, such as materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, and appearance, using plans, elevations, and specifications."

Feb 4, 24 6:51 pm  · 
 · 

This is a contractual messy issue. In the profession, there is elevations (usually short hand to mean exterior elevations) and then there is interior elevation. Given the context of words such as texture, fixtures, and material, this would likely imply interior elevations. However, if this was in the contract under a section regarding interior design and that the words "interior design" have been included in the language as indicated without appearing in any section of the contract that pertains to exclusions or under "additional services" which usually means it would be billed in addition to. You should consult an attorney familiar with contract laws and can make that defense in court if it goes to court. I can not speak to whether it is included in the contract or can be effectively argued. I don't have the whole contract text. In addition, this is something that gets really close to giving legal advice if we were. I suggest consulting an attorney (lawyer) as I said earlier. This is not something to consult us for legal advice. We are not lawyers so do not take it as legal advice. I am suspecting it is possible the designer (might not be a registered/licensed architect) is not wanting to do more because they already used up the hours they had alotted for the amount they are charging for the service. Likely, a flat fee or something on the order of a fixed fee amount and if you were too fickle over design and had the designer redo things multiple times ad naseum, that the designer is feeling exhausted working for you and further for the amount you are paying them. As a general rule, the less you pay someone, the less you should expect them to do or be in the scope. However, some designers suck at contractual writing and stating the scope of work clearly. So this can be the fault of the designer not doing the proper due diligence in writing the contract clearly outlining what is within the scope and what is not for the particular work. Including even limitations on number of times the design is materially altered by the client changing their idea in significant ways. I would have employed better terms in the contract to protect my interest as a designer if I were doing this project. If I was already being on the low side, then I would also have significant limits in the contract so you aren't wasting my time as a client and discourage non-sense clients tend to do to make me redo my work over and over and over. There would be cost surcharges of such that will be an incentive to not waste my time. I'm not going to play around with a design for 250,000 HOURS for just $25,000. No damn way any client is worth it to subjugate myself to effectively slave labor. The numbers of hours in relation to pay, is not a claim with regards to this project but there had been experiences that are in line with those kind figures. Lessons learned, don't let contract be so open ended for sub market rate pay. I can understand where the designer may feel and likely what happened throughout the project. However, the designer is responsible for drafting the terms of the contract for the services he or she is providing to a client.

Feb 5, 24 4:04 am  · 
1  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thank you for your response, it's much appreciated. You're right, I should have made sure that the term "Interior Design" is clearly stated in the contract. I felt that once interior design was discussed initially before signing the contract, and then seeing interior elevations as part of the deliverables, plus the statement that clearly states "All the elements going into the project (i.e. materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, etc)... I was going to get the whole 9 yards as promised. Mind you, I was uploading inspirational photos to a Dropbox account he created for the project. Oh, and the interior elevations are missing from the deliverables and he was paid a good amount of money

Feb 5, 24 2:55 pm  · 
 · 

was the words "interior elevations" used or just "elevations". It might be semantics but can be a semantical argument that might be argued by the designer to not mean interior. I agree where you arrived at your point. Your defense and cru of your understanding could lead you to believe that elevations meant BOTH exterior and interior because there was enough ambiguity in the terms that actually work in your favor especially if there is verbal and other written communications that supports your argument. This is a clear lesson for any aspiring building design professional and architects that if you want to exclude a service in the contract to be explicitly clear about it and great attention to detail in contract terms. This is where I do advise YOU to seek an attorney because this is likely to go to court. The attorney should be well experienced with contracts and advocate in court. You have enough grounds to build a convincing argument. Most trials like this would be a bench trial (no jury... and decided by a judge) but can be a jury. As to what will be entirely included in interior elevations and stuff like cabinet details may be limited somewhat in the plans but there usually would be some sort of example of the finishes in some fashion. I see a lot of the examples used in design reviews for exterior but I can see the service include some design and documents that would include stuff like an image of the product that is specified be it finish material, cabinets, etc. Custom-made cabinets, furniture, doors, etc. are a little different because it is not clear what they will look like at photographic quality level because it isn't mass-produced products that they would have already photographed one for marketing that can be used by designers/architects to convey what the product looks like especially in today's practice where the deliverables may be in color and printed compared to days of old when blueprints were made and the processes involved just wouldn't involve communicating in colors and all. Elevations are technical drawings even interior elevations so they wouldn't necessarily be of any sort of rendering. I can see the design-builder (designer) trying to balk out delivering everything their contract entails and obligates them to do because they were lazy and sloppy on the contract terms. They feel they exceeded their budget on designing and trying to wiggle out of it. I can see where and how they are at where they are at and why they are trying to wiggle out. This is not to say I condone what they are doing but then I am only hearing your side of the matter, obviously. In any case, this is more of a legal case (contractual dispute) between you and them and should consult an attorney because it would likely result in court proceedings and this is where we on this forum can not provide legal advice as lawyers or determine if you will be successful in the legal dispute. I see some potential grounds for you to make an argument that the elevations in the terms means both interior and exterior elevations as in any and all elevations as needed to communicate the design through construction. Do keep in mind that the level of technical documentation details in a design-build contractor where the designer and builder is the same entity may not necessarily have all the same information on the technical drawings as it may be needed when a designer is preparing technical drawings for permits and to be used by a contractor that is not within their own entity. This is because some information in a design-build, the designer and builder in the same entity can just internally communicate without spelling it all out in a typical set. They would just have to communicate enough for obtaining permits. In a typical scenario where the architect and builder are separate and therefore not a design-build contract, would need to spell things out more. I can see a situation where they might not have detailed interior elevations but they should have enough detail to indicate the locations of the cabinets, stoves, shelves, sinks, etc., and the size. It is still so the info can be communicated properly for laborers doing the work and any sub-contractor. They won't need photo rendering but they usually would have some documentation of what the products are and such. So to exactly what your dispute is, there are a few things I am a little unclear on. However, it isn't so much us that you need to go over this with. It is an attorney for legal advice. All we can say is interior elevation would be common but there may or may not have all the extra level of detail and information that a full comprehensive interior design set might have. Sometimes we can adequately convey interior design elements without all the detailed information and pretty colorful graphics. The more LOD (Level of Detail) you want out of the service, I would likely be charging more and the total cost for the design would increase with the labor in that stage of the project separate from construction labor. It is still time spent to do work. There is always some overlap as to what an architect/building designer does with regards to interior compared to say... a full interior design service as we have responsibilities of the design of the building which includes interior, structural, exterior, etc. Interior designers will usually provide more detail and attention on things regarding the interior than what an architect/building designer might. In my work, interior is something we do with regards to a lot of our work even when it isn't explicitly referred to as interior design. I see it as part of my professional responsibility as a whole to not be negligent in the services I render to a client.

Feb 5, 24 4:33 pm  · 
1  · 

You have repeated a bit but there are two people you need to talk to on this. 1) Your lawyer. 2) The design-builder for who you are in contract with to deliver the services. Keep that in mind. None of us are part of that.

Feb 5, 24 4:35 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

We often have int design written out of contract eventhough we're also an int design office.  It depends on how much $ the client is willing to spend on professional fees.


Feb 4, 24 5:22 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

Same

Feb 4, 24 6:24 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Yes, I bear the blame for not insisting that the term "interior design" is included in the contract. However, I felt once interior elevations were noted as part of the deliverables, then I was going to see the interior finishes once the design was completed. Again, interior design was discussed before the contract and I was uploading inspirational photos to a Dropbox account for the project. I was also convinced of interior design after seeing the statement "All elements going into the project (i.e. materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, and appearance) would be selected and delivered using plans and elevations." By the way, he was paid a good amount of money

Feb 5, 24 3:05 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

the term "interior design" is included in the contract. However, I felt once interior elevations were noted as part of the deliverables, then I was going to see the interior finishes once the design was completed. Again, interior design was discussed before the contract and I was uploading inspirational photos to a Dropbox account for the project. I was also convinced of interior design after seeing the statement "All elements going into the project (i.e. materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, and appearance) would be selected and delivered using plans and elevations." By the way, he was paid a good amount of money

Feb 5, 24 3:19 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

what's a good amount of money to you?

Feb 5, 24 3:32 pm  · 
1  ·  1
GoldCoast_Sekondi

It will be best if you can answer this question yourself. All I know is that I didn't pay
anything less than 30K

Feb 13, 24 1:28 pm  · 
 ·  2
Non Sequitur

30k? Yeah, that checks all our assumptions.

Feb 13, 24 4:47 pm  · 
1  ·  1
JLC-1

Hahahahaha Hahahahaha Meme Generator - Imgflip

Feb 13, 24 6:10 pm  · 
1  · 

GoldCoast_Sekondi - A little information for you. 

Let's assume that the house cost $1 million. Rather easy in todays market. A $30k design fee is only 3% of construction cost. 

For custom home design, including interior design the typical fee is around 8-10% of the construction cost. 

Feb 13, 24 6:28 pm  · 
3  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thanks for your response and input. Yes, I do have a contract. The contract states that the design-builder is responsible for: "The selection of all elements going into the project, such as materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, and appearance, using plans, elevations, and specifications." They are also responsible for the interior elevations which are missing from the deliverables.

Feb 4, 24 6:56 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

You should have hired a design office, not a contractor, if you wanted bespoke services. Nothing we can do here so best talk directly with whom ever you signed a contract with.

Feb 4, 24 7:20 pm  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Two things stand out to me: The first is the use of the word "all." This should never, ever appear in any contract. Based on this alone, you'd have a basis for an argument. But the other thing I notice is that the work is specifically based on the plans and specifications. Did you discuss the interior at any time? Where are you in construction? If this wasn't specifically discussed and signed off, you might be out of luck. Honestly none of us are lawyers, and I highly suggest you get in touch with one asap

Feb 4, 24 10:57 pm  · 
2  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Yes, interior design was discussed in the preliminary meeting before the contract was signed. He even invited me to Dropbox he created to upload inspirational photos, as well as a Houzz account to generate Ideasbook. Also, he promised interior elevations as part of the deliverables but did not provide those.

Feb 5, 24 12:34 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

^you keep repeating the same thing over and over. This is something you need to speak to the person you have a contract with.

Feb 5, 24 3:22 pm  · 
2  · 
luvu

The joinery /fitout and basebuild ( finish of wall , floor , ceiling) aren’t the same thing though, What did you mean by interior elevations are missing ?


 Were you given the wrong material? i.e plasterboard wall instead of timber veneer wall panel ?

Feb 5, 24 3:19 am  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Good question. My predicament is that the deliverables are missing information on materials, texture, equipment, fixtures, etc, and these were supposed to be delivered using plans and elevations. It's so funny that we were with the in-house interior designer to select appliances, and this took place in the early stages of the process but this information is missing from the schedules.
Also, interior elevations were noted in the contract but are missing from the deliverables.

Feb 5, 24 3:15 pm  · 
 · 

In a design-build, they may not necessarily have all that info on the plans. They may only have the info needed for permits and mostly the minimal amount of information they need on the set and some of the stuff, they would verbally instruct the laborers on-site and have other internal documents that indicates things like the materials and such. You might not see a window and door schedule as they may be using something like Excel in their office for that info. So they aren't doing that work twice... once on their spreadsheet software and another on the plans. It is usually put on the plans by designers in a design-bid-build process because the designer/architect will need to communicate that to multiple bidding contractors and ultimately used by whatever contractor is selected. This is something, that in a design-build is not on the building plans. They may have a spec sheet and may have a lot of this on some spreadsheet and would just communicate it on site as they would be directly giving direction and exercising control of the construction site and all. Do discuss with your design-builder about the omission of this info from the plans and whether or not they have this information on a spread sheet or something. Get an understanding of their processes. It might be that they use a process which renders those "schedules" on the plans as redundant.

Feb 5, 24 4:45 pm  · 
1  · 
joseffischer

I would advise you step back for a moment.  I assume your end goal is not to pay for a perfect set of drawings, but to have a beautiful home.  If you have problems with what they're building, you need to focus on those and ask them how they plan to rectify those problems.  If it is quality issues you are seeing in construction, demanding more drawings really isn't going to help.  If they're installing the wrong stuff or asking you to pick what you want, then you should request options to choose from in some coordinated/presented manner that you feel satisfied.  I get that the contract says they will select everything, but do you really want that?

Feb 5, 24 8:22 am  · 
3  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thanks for your response. We're not even in the construction phase yet. The design is missing all interior aspects of the project. For instance, the drawings don't even show wall finishes, ceiling, molding, etc.

Feb 5, 24 3:18 pm  · 
 · 

Since you are still in the design, inquire about the alternative processes that they may be using to that of spelling the stuff out on the drawings in the form of "schedules" and the stuff like wall finishes, ceiling, molding, etc. This can be incorporated ina "spec book" or something so they should provide that info to you in some fashion whether but they still need to have it documented in some fashion so it would be able to be communicated on the job site when construction commences. I think you want to have 1) opportunity to review these before commencing, and 2) the documentation on this is made so it would be communicated during construction. You should understand there may be alternative processes in the design-build process that may make some traditional practices redundant. I recommend that you should be mindful of that. I commend that you are making sure there isn't something missing because that can be a problem later.

Feb 5, 24 4:55 pm  · 
1  · 
JonathanLivingston

HA!  

You are getting exactly what you contracted. As you say:

The contract states that the design-builder is responsible for: "The selection of all elements going into the project, such as materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, and appearance, using plans, elevations, and specifications." They are also responsible for the interior elevations which are missing from the deliverables. 

THE DESIGN BUILDER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR: as in they are responsible for making the selections. Not designing with you, Not getting your approval. I hope they don't chose ugly art and gaudy paint colors.  

Your best bet here is to roll with it and be proactive about being involved with their selections. Have them give you allowances and make the selections yourself or with an interior designer you hire independently. Get ahead of them, and tell them what you want.  You are not going to get design services under this contract.  Further more, assuming you are using some kind of lump sum fee structure, you now have a condition where they are incentivized to make the cheapest most expedient decisions to maximize their own profit and schedule.  

This is why you don't design build. There is a reason to hire architects and designers and not go with the contractor for offers design-build saying you can get it all cheaper.  

You got cheaper. Now you have to do it yourself. Play nicely with them in an effort to get what you can now and except their good enough. Prepare to re-work, paint and finesse things after they are gone. 

Feb 5, 24 5:51 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

ah, come on dawg.... we were all enjoying toying with the cheap sap for a few before throwing out the obvious.

Feb 5, 24 7:09 pm  · 
2  ·  1
joseffischer

Thanks Jonathan, this was a way more direct and hopefully therefore helpful way to say what I was getting at.

So recapping, you've come to a professional forum to ask for feedback on what is typical and provided 1 excerpt of your contract (see Chad's comment below).  We're saying that line does not say what you think it says.

Feb 6, 24 8:26 am  · 
 ·  1

Jonathan, careful. It comes to how the whole contract is written and the exact words that came JUST before the excerpt in the contract. The excerpt doesn't necessarily say exactly what you said, either. It comes down to exact words of the contract when fully read in its entirety. What it says and means requires a full read of the contract. This is where the OP should consult an attorney to review the contract. Should have done so in the first place prior to signing the contract. Should do so now. What it means depends on the exact words including in the contract that the OP did not disclose. So I would hold off in guessing what it means exactly.

Feb 7, 24 3:12 pm  · 
1  · 
JonathanLivingston

Okay Ricky.

Feb 7, 24 3:36 pm  · 
1  · 

While I may agree with your hypothesis as potentially plausible, I just don't know or can completely arrive at that in the excerpt quoted versus what was the OP's words. Regarding your other points, I agree with you, and even more so especially if your hypothesis of the meaning of the contract terms is correct.

Feb 7, 24 9:07 pm  · 
 · 

GoldCoast_Sekondi - you keep repeating this line and only this line from your contract:

"The selection of all elements going into the project, such as materials, textures, equipment, fixtures, and appearance, using plans, elevations, and specifications."

This single line is worthless as contracts are taken as a whole.  Without seeing the entire contract no one here can make any type of educated opinion if interior design is included in your contract.  

Feb 5, 24 6:32 pm  · 
2  · 
proto

It's like when you go to an all-you-can-eat & management decides "that's all you can eat".

Feb 6, 24 7:09 pm  · 
2  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

How is that line worthless? What is your interpretation of that line? Maybe that will make more sense.

Feb 13, 24 1:21 pm  · 
 · 

It's worthless as you need to take the contract as a whole

How many times can a repeat this before you comprehend it.  

There may be sections that say interior design isn't included. There could be a line stating that selection of materials, textures, equip, ect is for general design intent only. The contract may say that that the owner is responsible for interior design. Ect.

Feb 13, 24 2:02 pm  · 
1  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

I decided not to respond to you anymore but I think this is your most valuable comment yet. The contract is about 10 pages, and it has the company's info on it which I didn't want to post online. By the way, I am seeking help in solving my problem and I wouldn't come here and post what will make me look good. Anyway, the contract didn't say interior design was not included. I posted what illustrated the inclusion of interior design (i.e. the statement " The company will help the client select all elements going into the project and illustrated with plans and elevations.") Anyway, thanks.

Feb 13, 24 4:41 pm  · 
 · 

Again, without seeing the contract we really can't make an informed opinion on this. Please understand I'm not asking you to post the contract.

 A ten page contract is rather common for this type of project. Just and FYI - just because the contract doesn't say that interior design isn't excluded doesn't mean it's included. 

Finally - we've been telling you need to read the entire contact as a whole since my first post here. Several other here, including myself, have told you this several times You simply didn't understand or choose to ignore the advice.  Either way I would suggest you hire a professional to review the contract so you can have a better understanding of what each party aggreged to.  

Good luck. 

Feb 13, 24 5:52 pm  · 
 · 

This sounds like your design-builder meant, "Hey, pick some finish colors," whereas you meant, "I want custom interior design." Then, neither of you bothered to clarify what the other meant. 

Nine times out of ten, it's a communication breakdown, and not the Led Zeppelin kind.

Feb 6, 24 4:44 pm  · 
3  · 
curtkram

let's take a step back here.      you're going to get a new house.  there will be carpet in the new house.  did you see that carpet in a model home?  did the contractor give you a few pattern to select from?  How is this process working for you, and how did you think it would work?

Feb 6, 24 8:41 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

is this in Ghana? 

Feb 7, 24 3:41 pm  · 
 · 
t a z

or Long Island?

Feb 7, 24 5:02 pm  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

I just googled "gold coast sekondi"

Feb 7, 24 5:06 pm  · 
 · 

An ex-pat the moved to Africa?

Feb 8, 24 2:04 pm  · 
 ·  1
t a z

Posting same question in a Maryland forum, and on Reddit too:

Layman/Design-builder - Who's right? - Maryland (MD) - City-Data Forum

Feb 8, 24 5:48 pm  · 
1  ·  1
t a z

Spoiler alert: s/he received the same answers!

Feb 8, 24 5:54 pm  · 
4  ·  1
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Is it a crime to seek people's opinions online?

Feb 13, 24 4:42 pm  · 
 · 
reallynotmyname

OP should simply hire an interior designer to improve upon what the builder gives them.   Residential design-build is often much less customized and bespoke than what clients think its going to be.

Feb 8, 24 1:13 pm  · 
1  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

What would you consider as "much less customized" in the design process? Also, can you lay out what I should expect for the interior elevations deliverables? Also, would you consider interior design as part of a design package when you see and discuss the following in a contract... "The design-build company will help the client select all elements that would go into the project using plans and elevations to illustrate the appearance"!

Feb 13, 24 10:57 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

^what does the other 95% year f your contract say? Start there and next time, pay for design professionals instead of going the cheap contractor “design” route.

Feb 13, 24 4:45 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Where and what kind of house is it? is it expensive high end custom? Or is it spec build with custom layout by GC with a draft team. There is a huge difference between how much effort they will put into it in terms of design and presentation. If it is super high end custom job, the designer will design and go over the interior elements such as counter material, cabinet material, furniture selection, wall finishes, special panels/trim, light fixtures, etc. Then present you with some interior renderings to get your feedback and approval. If it is spec build house, they will just pick some floor materials, wall paint colors, cabinets, appliances, have you sign off on it and call it a day. In terms of deliverable, it really depends.

Feb 8, 24 5:29 pm  · 
1  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thank you so much, Jay1122. The contract is for the design of a high-end custom home, and I was aware before signing the contract that all elements going into the project including fixtures, materials, equipment, textures, and all the things you stated in your response, would be delivered by the design-build company. The deliverables I was to expect included interior elevations, which I believe reflect what you laid out in your response (i.e. interior design). However, the interior elevations were not included in their deliverables. Funny enough, the in-house interior designer took me to an appliance warehouse to select the type and sizes of the appliances I wanted, and that was it.

Feb 9, 24 10:40 am  · 
 · 

Sounds like you got what you paid for GCS.

Feb 9, 24 10:59 am  · 
1  ·  1
Non Sequitur

"high end custom home" yet can't/won't pay for custom design or the correct design professionals...

Feb 9, 24 11:06 am  · 
4  ·  1
reallynotmyname

It does sound like the OP needs hire an architect for their next house rather than a design build company. They have learned the difference in delivery methods the hard way.

Feb 9, 24 11:26 am  · 
 ·  1
GoldCoast_Sekondi

I am not sure if you know anything about the design-build approach to undertaking either residential or commercial projects. I know I made the right decision. My only predicament is that I didn't choose the honest one to work with.

Feb 13, 24 10:49 am  · 
 ·  2
Non Sequitur

^ I don't think you know much about the design-build process either. It's not that you picked a dishonest group, it's because you hired a developer with an in-house "designer".

Feb 13, 24 11:11 am  · 
1  · 

GoldCoast_Sekondi - with all due respect - you don't understand design build on any type of projects. What you have with your general contractor isn't design build.

Feb 13, 24 12:40 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

No comment because it sounds like you don't know what you're talking about.

Feb 13, 24 1:35 pm  · 
 · 

Then describe to me what design build is in your view. I ask because if you're having this much trouble with your contract then you didn't have a design build agreement. You simply hired a contractor who said they would design your home. That's NOT design build.

Feb 13, 24 2:10 pm  · 
 · 
callmyguy

It's understandable to feel frustrated and confused when facing a situation like this. Based on the information provided, it seems that interior design was indeed discussed and implied as part of the overall project scope, despite not being explicitly mentioned in the contract.

The language in the contract, specifically regarding the company's responsibility for "the selection of all elements going into the project," suggests that interior design would fall within their purview. This would encompass not only materials and fixtures but also the overall aesthetic and appearance of the interior spaces.

Furthermore, the fact that the principal of the company invited you to contribute inspirational photos to their Dropbox account and recommended creating an Ideasbook on Houzz indicates a mutual understanding that interior design was an integral aspect of the project.

If the company is now attempting to backtrack on their obligations regarding interior design, it may be worth revisiting the contract and discussing the initial discussions and agreements that took place before signing. Providing documentation of your communications and any relevant exchanges, such as emails or messages discussing interior design concepts, could strengthen your case.

Ultimately, it may be necessary to seek legal advice to determine the best course of action moving forward. A lawyer specializing in construction contracts can help you navigate the situation and advocate for your rights as a client.

Feb 13, 24 2:01 am  · 
1  · 

Respectfully this may not be the case. You need to see the actual contract and not just the single line the OP keeps quoting.

Feb 13, 24 9:26 am  · 
 · 
t a z

Very sus AI chatbot-like new account first comment ever...

Feb 13, 24 10:29 am  · 
3  · 

Correct. Notice the OP likes it because it agrees with him/her.

Feb 13, 24 12:38 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

I bet s/he knows what they are doing regarding this profession thus their quality response. Their comment makes sense so why not agree with them? I can tell it didn't take them more than 6 years to obtain their undergrad degree. If you have nothing sensible to say then why comment? Any more comments from you and taz will
be disregarded.

Feb 13, 24 1:44 pm  · 
 ·  3

Looks like the OP is cyber stalking me. 

 FYI: A BArch takes at least five years.  I have a BArch and a MArch that took six years.   If you're going to try insult me at least get the facts right.

Feb 13, 24 2:11 pm  · 
 · 
t a z

Well, if it were up to me, new accounts wouldn't be able to create a post without a meeting a minimum comment threshold. You're lucky anyone is actually taking your apparent dilemma even half seriously.

P.S. Since you're new, under the flag drop down you can toggle the "Ignore User" feature for any and all. Enjoy your echo chamber!

Feb 13, 24 2:41 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thank you so much, Callmyguy, for this well-thought response. I appreciate your time in breaking down every piece of information I am looking for. I am already in talks with the principal and his interior design team. My plan B is to speak with a lawyer, as you suggested if our conversation doesn't get anywhere. 

Feb 13, 24 8:57 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

imagine if you had spent all this effort and a bit more cash upfront on a proper design team... you would be getting the house wanted. Instead, you cheaped out and went big-box defacto fake custom and are now crying victim.

Feb 13, 24 9:50 am  · 
 ·  1

To the OP - again, look at your entire contract. Unless you post the language of the entire contract no one here can actually give an informed opinion. I strongly advise you to not accept or dismiss comments here simply because they don't align with your opinions on this.

Feb 13, 24 10:17 am  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

this whole tread is really weird.

Feb 13, 24 11:33 am  · 
1  · 

The OP is really weird when you think about it. Instead of going to a lawyer he/she comes here to get 'free' advice about the contract as if our uninformed opinions matter.

Feb 13, 24 12:38 pm  · 
1  ·  1
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Common sense should tell you that you don't just get up and go to a lawyer if a situation can be resolved amicably. What's wrong with knowing peoples' opinions about a situation before you take the next step. Your attitude makes me believe that you're one of those shady people out there. Again, if you have nothing sensible to say don't say anything at all.

Feb 13, 24 1:50 pm  · 
 ·  4
JonathanLivingston

If they build something it WILL have an interior if you get to a finished product. There will by default be an interior that has been "designed". An architect or designer's contract has any language about approvals, iterations and the actual design process.

Feb 13, 24 1:51 pm  · 
2  · 

GoldCoast_Sekondi - as I've said from the beginning - you need to read the ENTIRE contract. You're only quoting one line from the contract. Contracts have to be taken as whole. 

If you're coming here for informed opinions on your contract then you need to provide the entire contract. Regardless, our opinions aren't going to be worth anything if your general contractor disputes your position. From your previous posts it sounds like the general contractor has disputed your opinion. Hence - show your contract to lawyer and get their informed opinion that matters. 

Feb 13, 24 1:57 pm  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

shady people come here all the time looking for free advice, and you're one of the shadiest mr sekondi.

Feb 13, 24 2:03 pm  · 
1  ·  1

Yeah he is. He's now trying to cyber stalk me and insult me for taking six years to get my B Arch and MArch. What a creep.

Feb 13, 24 2:14 pm  · 
2  · 
Wood Guy

The regulars here are giving you good advice. I worked for a long time at a residential design/build firm where I designed a lot of interiors, and now work on my own designing custom homes, often including interiors. I spell out clearly in my contract in multiple places that I do not automatically include design of interiors, other than basic elevations of kitchens, bathrooms and stairs. But you could extract one or two lines from my contract that would make it appear as if I was providing full interior design.

I do provide specifications for finishes, in the form of a boiler-plate template where I make guesses as to what I think you'll want for finishes at floors, walls, ceilings and elsewhere, and you and your contractor can make changes as you see fit.

Full interior design can be at least as expensive as the architectural design. I have a project like that now; we've literally spent about 30 hours of my time talking about the kitchen backsplash, billed hourly. There is no way I would include that in a fixed-price contract.

Feb 13, 24 3:09 pm  · 
7  · 

GoldCoast_Sekondi wrote: "Common sense should tell you that you don't just get up and go to a lawyer if a situation can be resolved amicably. What's wrong with knowing peoples' opinions about a situation before you take the next step. Your attitude makes me believe that you're one of those shady people out there. Again, if you have nothing sensible to say don't say anything at all." 

While that is true that is common practice not necessarily "common sense" unless you mean the common sense of the general public is that there isn't any sense for people to seek legal advice. The reason people don't seek lawyers when they probably should is the cost of a lawyer. You do realize in civil lawsuits you can either represent yourself or seek legal services from those offering services for those who don't have a lot of money and are basically subsidized. Regardless, we are not lawyers. We can not by law give you legal advice regarding specific terms of your contract with the intent that you be advised about the course of actions. I had to put some caveat that my comment is not intended as legal advice with the caveat that before acting on any suggestion I may have on your matter. Your issue is a contractual dispute issue. 

We can provide a general idea as to what is common practice in our profession and our knowledge of that. As for legal recourse, you need to seek a lawyer. It isn't an option. It is the law if you have to use the services of a lawyer/attorney for legal advice because we who are not lawyers can not and are not to provide that level of advice with the intent to provide advice on your legal options, even if we had the whole contract. Although we may have a better understanding of your contract if we had the whole contract text to look at, we still can't represent you in court or advise you on your legal recourse options. A few points in this thread, I'm dancing the razor's edge to provide some general insight on what is typically going to hold the strongest weight. In any legal case, there are norms and exceptions to the norm but customarily written contract terms hold the strongest weight. I mentioned that below. Verbal assurances are often problematic because it's one of those he said/she said kind of thing. Who's right? How do we determine who is more right than the other? 

The written contract is much closer to black & white subject to interpretation of the terms in the contract. To prove that a design-builder assured interior design and interior elevations were included and part of the deliverables, you need that assurance memorialized in written or some recorded fashion. This would help you prove and defend your case. 

Getting the design-builder on the record (like in email communications) indicating that interior design & interior elevations are included, would help you prove your case. Get it on the record, then maybe you have a case where these communications may be treated as an amendment or otherwise clarification on the contract terms that have been written and signed.

Feb 14, 24 4:54 pm  · 
 · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Wood guy, you're making an excellent point. As I've stated in my previous responses, interior design was discussed... I was assured that interior design was part of the deal, thus the inclusion of interior elevations in the deliverables, and also the statement I've repeated over and over on this thread (i.e. "the design-build company will help the client to select all the elements going onto the project and the appearance using plans and elevations.") Thanks once again for your input.



Feb 13, 24 4:56 pm  · 
 · 

You are completely missing that you have to consider the ENTIRE contract. Several people, Wood Guy included, have told you this. It doesn't matter if you've been assured over and over again. Unfortunately, unless the ENTIRE contract states that interior design was included you're not going to win this. Especially if the general contractor is as unethical as they appear to be.

Feb 13, 24 5:47 pm  · 
1  · 

To add to Chad's comment: NOTE TO GOLDCOAST_SEKONDI, THIS IS NOT MEANT AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR YOUR CASE AND THAT YOU SHOULD CONSULT LEGAL COUNSEL WITH REGARDS TO LEGAL MATTERS SUCH AS CONTRACT TERMS AND RELATED MATTERS TO CONTRACT DISPUTES. 

When there is a written contract, it is the terms of the written contract that take the most legal significance in contract-based lawsuits. That is what the courts will look to first. Second is any WRITTEN communication that is in some recorded form be it on paper or in email. You will need to furnish proof or evidence to support your arguments to have the strongest argument. In civil court, the burden of proof standard is the preponderance of the evidence and in general, it is the plaintiff (the person who launches the lawsuit) that has the burden at the start of the civil lawsuit proceeding. Unrecorded verbal communication is the weakest evidence you can have especially if you don't have witnesses but even witnesses are generally considered a weaker form of evidence compared to recordings or written communication. People are fallable. Their memory or recollection is recognized as not as reliable. Witnesses are often "bought" to say what they are "bought" to say. It has been known. When you are using a written contract, the legal standard is the written contract takes precedence. Verbal conversations or memorandums in verbal form are sometimes looked at as maybe a "we'll aspire but not legally binding". At other times, it may be to clarify ambiguity. However, if you don't have it recorded, it would likely fall into not being "legally binding" as "hearsay" without sufficient proof such ever occurred. A judge or jury will only be able to make their verdict on the case based on what is presented before them. 

REMINDER-NOTE TO GOLDCOAST_SEKONDI: THIS IS NOT MEANT AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR YOUR CASE, AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT LEGAL COUNSEL CONCERNING LEGAL MATTERS SUCH AS CONTRACT TERMS AND RELATED MATTERS TO CONTRACT DISPUTES.

Feb 13, 24 6:58 pm  · 
1  · 
Wood Guy

One rule I've learned many times, the hard way--if it's not in writing or in a drawing, it doesn't exist. You have repeatedly shared a single line from your contract. I bet there is other language in your contract that contradicts what you are saying here. If I'm wrong, prove it. Spoken words are less than useless, as they cause confusion.

I'm also curious whether your design contract is hourly or a fixed fee. Either way, I allocate a range of hours to a project and if a client uses up too much time on other things, by the time we get to interior stuff there may not be time left to do it. That may not seem fair, but it's also not fair to expect someone to work for free. Again, the contract language--all of it, not just selected sentences--spells out the rules of the game that you agreed to.

Feb 14, 24 5:37 pm  · 
1  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

I can send it to you privately if that is OK with you. I don't want to put the Company's information here.

Feb 15, 24 9:50 am  · 
1  · 
Wood Guy

Best would be through my website, maines dot design

Feb 15, 24 10:02 am  · 
1  · 
GoldCoast_Sekondi

Thank you, Wood Guy, I just did. It's very long though. The email is 2022project...

Feb 15, 24 12:00 pm  · 
 · 
Wood Guy

.

Feb 15, 24 12:42 pm  · 
 · 
Wood Guy

I see two relevant sections:

2.3 DESIGN DEVELOPMENT PHASE The Design Development Documents shall illustrate and describe the refinement of the design of the Project, establishing the colors, textures, materials, fixture selections, and appearance of the Project by means of plans and elevations and specifications. The Design Development Documents shall include:
1. Floor Finish Plans (Main Floor, Second Floor, Basement Floor)
3. Selection Schedule and Specifications for all Materials, Equipment, Fixtures and Components going into the Project.

2.4 CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS PHASE
5. Finish Plans First Floor Finish Plan Second Floor Finish Plan Gym Floor Finish Plan Basement Floor Finish Plan
6. Interior Elevations First Floor Interior Elevations Second Floor Interior Elevations
9. Schedules Exterior Window and Door Schedules Interior Door and Hardware Schedules Plumbing Trim Schedules Flooring Schedules STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING (Structural Engineering Drawings to be done by outside consultants.)

It appears to be a generally well-written contract, probably based on an AIA document, but if you’re not familiar with the design process or reading contracts it would be easy to misinterpret the language above, which admittedly is somewhat vague—perhaps intentionally. In the Design Development phase they use the terms “Illustrate, describe, establish…” They don’t say they will select materials or work with you to select materials; my contract is somewhat similar and in that phase I provide either boilerplate options or a blank schedule for my clients to fill out. There is other contract language, as is typical, that anything not specifically described is not included (or considered Additional Services.)

Under Construction Documents they promise to provide finish floor plans, which are literally floor plans with details removed and the different finishes indicated. Did they provide that? They should have provided interior elevations for the first and second floor; they don’t limit the locations so they should have provided you with interior elevations of every room or space. For schedules, they should have provided you with at minimum a blank matrix for decision-making, and more likely recommendations for things like doors, trim details and flooring types, but they promised schedules, not completed schedules, so that’s another gray area.

Nowhere do I see the sentence you quoted. I understand your frustration, especially if you were under the impression that full interior design was included. I’m not an attorney or practiced in litigation but I have read and written a lot of contracts and unfortunately I don’t see anything that fully commits them to what you seem to think they promised you.

Feb 15, 24 12:57 pm  · 
3  · 
Jay1122

OP, interior design is more of an effort rather than a separate deliverable item that you think the team is missing. You will have wall finish, floor finish, cabinets, light fixtures provided by the design build firm. It will be documented in the drawing. Probably standard ones they used before. 

So what is it that you expect from them? I don't think a few interior elevation line drawings will matter much. It is just ink on paper. Do you want rendering of the finished space? To get a visual illustration of what you are getting? 

Feb 15, 24 2:48 pm  · 
 · 
Wilma Buttfit

There’s only one way to know for sure. Does this design build company use stock images to sell their design skills? 

Feb 13, 24 7:24 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

OP, did the design build firm go over all the wall finishes, floor finishes,  cabinet/counter finishes, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures with you? If you already reviewed them and approved. I think your "interior design" is done. If not, I would say they still owe you the effort to go over those.

 As an architect I always kind of feel those interior designers are just finish pickers. How high end is your house? low slope roof? Roof top terraces? Large chandeliers and double height spaces? Large glazed storefronts? Super insulated performance wall? Acoustic isolated walls? Floor and wall finish choice would be way too low in my priority list.

Feb 15, 24 3:36 pm  · 
 · 

Block this user


Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: