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9 Critical must-knows
when selecting the right design professional

Every year, thousands of Australians build new homes, or renovate and extend their existing homes or look at development opportunities. Unfortunately, many are unhappy with the finished result. Some owners find their home looks different to the way they pictured it, is poorly planned, hard to heat or keep cool, or has cost far more than they thought. This is where the right design professional could have helped. Making sure you hire the right team for the design and project management of your home can make for a smooth process that saves you both time and money. Here are some of the skills you should look for:
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1. Ability to guide you on where to start : have experience in consulting with home owners and developers alike to get that vital information they need to really be able to decide on how to proceed with a project. With many decisions to be made, it is important that they can find you the facts you need and put the technical aspects of the project into an understandable order of importance.

2. Proven experience : have the relevant experience, professional training and vision to work with your ideas and to manage the entire design and construction process.

3. Creativity and practicality : have the ability to help you define and create what you want to build, present options you may never have considered and help you get the most for your budget.

4. Design conscious : buildings designed by the right professional designer are more desirable and sought after by an increasingly sophisticated, design-conscious market prepared to pay for the benefits and enjoyment derived from living with good design.

5. Solution focused: can design buildings that work efficiently, solve problems of space and function and fit comfortably into the environments that surround them.

6. Proficient in energy efficiency principles : professionally designed buildings are more energy efficient, cheaper to operate and easier to maintain.

7. Understanding of state and local regulations : knowledgeable in the building codes applicable to your project and designs the structure of the home or building to meet these codes. They should have proven success in getting applications through the town planning process.

8. Ability to manage the consultant team : head the team of consultants required during the design phase and makes sure everyone knows their job. The right design professional will know the ins and outs of all the many consultant requirements and will carefully craft the design to include all of these together without impacting your design.

9. Ability to oversee the building team : involved in the day-today construction of the project, making him or herself available for consultations, meetings, and questions from the site. During the building phase, they answer the myriad of questions from the builder and their subcontractors and makes sure any changes do not affect the structure or the design integrity. Throughout the project, your designer is your advocate, staying true to your design and your budget.

If you're planning on building or renovating your home, hiring a design professional with the above skills is well worth your investment to ensure the end result is exactly what you wanted.