How much does it cost to interior design a residential development and what to look out for?
DESIGN COST GUIDELINE FOR PROPERTY DEVELOPERS AND HOUSEBUILDERS
How much does it cost to interior design a residential development?
If you’re considering working with a B2B interior designer, the below guide will give you an idea of what to look for when discussing quotes and comparing offers from a number of designers.
At Ademchic, we work exclusively with housebuilders and residential property developers, therefore if you’re looking for a pricing guideline for interior design on your private home, the numbers mentioned below may not be that relevant.
Our pricing model is based on the number of hours we expect to spend on developing the concept and documentation for your interior design. Most of the time, a typical multi-unit development will require 450+ hours to complete to the Ademchic standard. Because we work on multiple-unit developments (typically 9 unit+), the cost of our package varies depending on the size of the scheme. In general, for a boutique scheme of up to 9 units, you should budget around £55,000 + VAT for your interior design scheme with documentation.
In our experience, that fee is often offset by:
Savings from working with Ademchic-recommended suppliers
Increase in price per foot that you’re able to achieve with improved internal layouts or more attractive internal specification
Interior design is often perceived as a luxury or an added cost, however in 2020, we’ve worked on projects where we were able to add an excess of £150,000 - £230,000 in value of small schemes through floorplan review. We've also had schemes where we save up to £80,000 + VAT by suggesting better-priced suppliers. The fee for our service is often much lower than the value we bring to the table.
Different companies spec and at which point the project is signed off. You don't want to purchase a fixed price package only to find out that you will now need to pay extra to get vital specification information included in your package.
What should be included in a typical interior design package on multi-unit residential development?
The scope of a typical project will vary greatly between different commercial interior designers. Over the last 4 years, we have tasted a number of packages and came up with one that, we believe, perfectly balances the cost of delivery and detail provided. It takes us an average of 550 hours to successfully complete a project of up to 9 units, creating a unique, differentiating scheme that will sell in a heartbeat. The typical scope of works on every scheme includes:
Review of project floorplans with suggested improvements to optimize scheme saleability
General Arrangement plans with indicative M&E layouts
Specification document outlining all interior finishes and details to residential units with sample 3d renders for each key area: general interior (living/bedroom), kitchen, bathroom, communal area
Design principles drawing for areas that require extra attention/design concept (communal area, indicative TV unit drawing, etc)
3x face to face meetings inc. travel
1x sample sign-off meeting
Ademchic specifications include 3D photo-realistic renders showing all interiors, which leave very little space for “interpretation” by the contractor and the fact that we specified every item from larger purchases such as kitchens, worktops, bathroom fit-out, down to handles, skirtings, etc, allows our clients to compare apples to apples when it comes to contractor costs and to avoid excruciating extras during the build phase. The cost of all small and large items is agreed with us and included in your documentation. Other companies may not go to such a level of detail and as a result, you may find that their design fees will be lower. That said, a high-level specification will often allow you to agree on the level of finish with the contractor before the agreement is signed saving you from potential renegotiation, conflict, or extras.
If you would prefer a more detailed package, including additional technical drawings of all sections, joinery pieces, kitchen layouts, bathrooms, intricate detail of stonework, etc, these can be added to the pack and will be subject to an additional fee depending on the scope.
How long does it take to deliver a residential developer multi-unit interior design scheme?
We are often asked if our fee is lower for developments smaller than 9 units and the answer is "no". We price our projects on the basis of the number of hours we'll require to design a differentiating specification that will appeal to your ideal buyer. It takes the same amount of hours to design a single-unit scheme as it does to design a larger project. That said, on schemes above 9 units, we add a modest amount per every extra unit over 9 to cater for an additional time required to review floorplans.
On average, the interior design scheme takes our team 3 months to deliver. This timeline can be longer or shorter depending on the input from other professionals; architect and structural engineer for discussion of floor plans, M&E designer for M&E scheme, a contractor for comments on value engineering, etc. Many of the 550 project hours we spend designing your development identity are spent coordinating details of the design and making sure nothing gets missed or lost in translation.
During the project delivery, Ademchic clients speak to us on a weekly basis, in a pre-agreed time slot, and for the rest of the week, they have an insight into where we are with the project via a link to the project timeline updated daily. All of the documents are stored in one place and you are communicating with one Ademchic contact person, even if the design team includes 2 or 3 members internally. As a client, you should speak to your designer at least on a bi-weekly basis, so make sure that whomever you work with can commit to regular review calls.
All of the Ademchic output is created in-house because we like to control quality and don’t like to be dependent on third parties when it comes to delivering for the client. This obsession with control over our designs and providing quality for our clients may mean that our fees are higher than those of our competitors, however, they allow us to serve our clients best and focus on your projects without distractions. This is why clients return and commission us again.
Could I get a discount for multi-project agreements?
The short answer is "yes" and that is also how we work with our most established clients. The more projects we agree on the same contract, the lower your average design fee is.
We are able to achieve lower design fees due to the efficiencies that we gain when working with the client on more than one site at the same time or on an ongoing basis - we have one weekly call for multiple projects, we understand the style we’re looking to achieve, and therefore our design concept stage takes less time on every following project. We establish an ongoing relationship with your typical contractor, who gets to know the suppliers we recommend and is on the same page about every new scheme.
From a workload point of view, our clients appreciate this increased efficiency, as well. Having one contact person for all things related to interior design, scheme’s marketing collateral, and show homes means that they don't need to hire administrative support to manage a number of suppliers that would normally come in to deliver all the various pieces of documentation. The client works with one company and one contact person that understands what they are looking to achieve, a company that will push the boundaries of design, one that acts in the client's best interest to align the messaging and facilitate faster sales.
Is there an option for a reduced scope and reduced fee support?
We understand that not every developer will have an interior budget of over £55,000 + VAT and not every client will require that detailed support as outlined above. For clients looking for more soft-touch support, we recommend Interiors Lab.
Interiors Lab was implemented for anyone looking for advice from our designers and access to our knowledge and suppliers, but whose budget can stretch to only £10,000 + VAT. The Lab is a one-day workshop where we agree on as many details of your development as possible within the time allowed. We may spend a few hours of floorplan review, a few hours looking at your kitchen options, bathroom scheme, or creating a wow-effect with your communal areas. The day is flexible and we can schedule it as we wish. The location is our office in Hackney.
While the Lab is planned as a day of full-on specification work, we prepare for it in advance to provide you value's worth on the day. We start the day by presenting a number of options that we think would work for the audience you’re looking to attract, the location of your project, and your interior budget. You may already have a typical specification that you have repeated on your projects, and which you want us to review. You may want to learn about products that are of better value than what you have been using, or may want to select a few new options for the future - the Lab will work great for you. The effectiveness of the work we can deliver in a day will rely on your efficient decision-making.
What's the difference between a commercial interior designer and a regular residential interior designer?
We understand the pressure on cost and how every purchase, small or large, has an impact on the project’s ROI because we work exclusively with developers. Residential interior designers don’t have the same supply chain pressure as commercial interior designers, because homeowners often stretch their budget to go for a nicer finish, even if it comes with a slightly higher price tag. Value engineering is built into our interior design package and we may advise you to go for a higher finish on one key item in the scheme and balance it out with a lower-priced item elsewhere. We use many value-engineering tricks that we tested on our past projects to achieve a luxury look on a developer budget.
What's the difference between Ademchic and another commercial interior designer?
While we design your scheme we think about its appeal in the sales and marketing process and we design or highlight unique selling points of your development. To interior-design your product we research the project’s location, buyer demographic, we look into what other schemes you’ll compete with at launch. This is the start of us forming a differentiating identity of your product that we then carry on to the branding and your marketing collateral, making sure that you are maximizing the potential of your marketing messaging. By the time we finish designing your interior specification and develop that unique look and feel of your interiors, we have a great idea of how we should brand the scheme to show the buyer what they would be getting if they secure a reservation or sale before practical completion. This holistic view of the sales strategy of your scheme differentiates us from companies that are just interior designers or just branding experts. We specialize in the niche of boutique property developments and we bring our expert knowledge to the table to help you secure sales before practical completion.
Because we use 3D photo-realistic renders in our interior design process (we include them in the specification to show your contractor how we want your interiors to look), we can efficiently convert those images into marketing assets to promote your scheme for sales. Take a look at some of our interiors that were packaged for sales as VR show homes or CGI’s:
VR show homes: example 1, example 2, example 3
CGI portfolio: see link
Want to know more about how we price marketing collateral? Click on the link below. Alternatively, if you have a scheme in mind, contact us via the form below to discuss your projects with one of our consultants.