Who Needs Interior Design

In general terms, the practice of Interior Design revolves around the planning and construction of commercial space: office, retail and hospitality, to efficiently configure the raw space to the business functions that will take place therein. Doing so requires the involvement and coordination of engineers, trades, vendors and regulators. It also involves accurately defining and quantifying the various activities of the business itself.

The build-out or reorganization of business space is complicated. Gone are the days when a handyman could put up a wall or shift a few desks. Commercial space must adhere to many local and provincial building and fire standards. In Ontario, for example, only a Building Code certified firm or professionals can actually apply for a building permit. Even if the contemplated change does not require a permit, which is rare, the logistical requirements are many and the potential for costly disruptions is high. A knowledgeable interior designer solves all these problems while, at the same time, ensuring a smooth, predictable process.

By training and experience, interior designers are uniquely qualified to plan interior space. There are many ways to get the expertise, albeit with varying degrees of skill and focus. Interior Design practices are the primary source, of course, but many architectural firms also offer interior design as a service option. Furniture dealers too sometimes provide interior design services, or more correctly a furniture layout, as part of a purchase, and real estate brokers and developers occasionally include space configuration services as a "sweetener" to a lease agreement.

There is an obvious bias here for design firms, of course, but in reality, there are good and not so good results to be found from all of these sources. With that said, perhaps the most salient factor rests in focus. When the primary motivation lies in secondary considerations, often the base priorities get skewed. For example, if a developer includes the space plan with the lease, it's hard to imagine that the prospective tenant would not fit into the space. That is only natural.

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January 2016

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