We get it. Your office is a part of you. It’s the home of your business, apple of your eye, blessed keeper of the air conditioning. As we’ve explained previously, finding the perfect office interior design contractor in London involves placing your pride and joy in someone else’s hands, with all the risk that entails.
Here’s our tips on what to look out for:
A portfolio of good design
This goes without saying. A portfolio is where your office design and build contractor shoes you that they’ve done it all before. Bonus points if it was for a client in a similar industry, or with a brand voice like yours, or if they have strong experience carrying out office interior design in London. The local touch is critical.
Pick a portfolio that speaks your language. You might like the contractor’s tendency to create open meeting areas with beanbags, but if your colleagues all wear suits, it’s just not going to work out.
Of course your list of contractors are all going to tell you that they’re the very best in London, no fibbing. But if they can support that with a long list of references and testimonials (not their mum), then they might be onto something.
Even better if they can put you in touch with one of their clients. They’re the ones who used to face all the same challenges you have and have come out the other side. They can also tell you of any issues in confidence. It’s like talking to yourself in the future, only future you has a banging office already.
BTW, here’s what one of our recent clients has to say about working with us:
You know what’s worse than a badly designed office? A half-finished badly designed office.
Your contractor needs to be solvent all the way through the project programme, so you’d best check that credit rating. Checking is cheap and quick, and definitely worth raiding the petty cash for some peace of mind.
Health & Safety Record
If your contractor has a RIDDOR report with more injury numbers than a world cup knock out round at extra time, it’s time to make your excuses and leave. Your staff are your business, and exposing them to unnecessary risk is a big no no. Make sure they show you their records.
Insurance in place – public liability (PL) and professional indemnity (PI)
You know we were just talking about risk? Well, a contractor without the proper insurances is as much protection against risk as a chocolate fireguard. Without PI, any mistake they make, whether bad advice or breaching confidentiality or forgetting to design something important, like, a floor – well, you’re going to have to take them to court to claw back some recompense.
Same with PL. You don’t want to be held liable if a member of the contractor’s team injures themselves or your staff in your place of business.
Call us experts (our mums do), but we reckon staff won’t be able to work effectively if people keep falling through the massive hole in front of the reception desk. No, not even if your office interior design contractor insists on calling it “dilapidation chic”.
Good, clear communications
Have you ever dealt with a mechanic who tries to tell you that your car needs its jumpspocket doodangle realigned? Have you ever come home to find one of your walls demolished and your trusty builder apparently taking up a new career as an International Man of Mystery?
You can tell a great office interior design contractor from the chaff at the very start of your journey. If they’re quick off the mark in responding to your enquiries, if they answer all your questions without using jargon, and especially if they can talk fees without whistling backwards through their teeth – you’ve got yourself a company you can do business with. No faffing about.
You’ll find plenty of plain of ideas and advice on office design in plain English right here on our blog. Take a look around, see what you think.
Specialised contractor, not a jack of all trades
“We’ve got loads of experience!” they say. “Here’s a 500-page portfolio detailing a couple of chairs we threw into a café, and the installation of electrical systems in a crocodile enclosure, and some flooring we put down in the Duchess of Kent’s powder room-”
“But have you actually got any office interior design experience in London?”
“Well, no, but we built an office on the moon, once.”
Offers a fixed price fixed timeline guarantee
And no, fixed price does not mean lump sum. Lump sums can be riddled with provisional sums that only get defined much later in the programme, and can leave you thousands in the red.
A fixed price and a fixed timeline are exactly what they sound like – a guaranteed cost to you of the works, to a set timeline, and full transfer of any overrunning cost risk onto the contractor. On the surface, a fixed cost can be pricier than a lump sum, but at least it’s not hiding any nasty surprises.
So what does all that lead to?
The best damn office interior design contractor in London, that’s what! And while we’re humble people, you can take a sneaky look here at what our clients are saying about us. Or maybe give us a call and we can arrange for you to meet them too.