renovation selections process

June 11th, 2020 in


Selection’s process: What is it, and do I need an interior designer?


You must have heard the term selections process or finished selection if you have done your research regarding construction or renovation. It is the very important part in the planning phase that is sometimes overlooked.

Skipping on this stage can lead to running back and forth between store and site during the construction. It might even cause a significant delay in project completion. So, here is everything you need to know about to selecting your finishes.


What is the selection’s process?

The selection’s process is what I call the system that I use for selecting all of the products, materials, and various items that will be used in putting together your building project. The list of items can be somewhat daunting and will be driven by the scale and size of your project. In my opinion this is one of the most important steps in getting organized and setting yourself up for success.

The list of selection items could be endless and will depend on your individual project. Below I have listed some examples of the items you may need to select or at least have some input on when dealing with any of the various professionals who you may have employed.

You can get a copy of the basic selection’s template I use in the pre-commencement stage of all my projects.

Home finishes

Here are the various items that you need to finalize during the selections process:

Internal Finishes

  • Wall and Floor finishes – Tiles and various stones such as marble, granite, limestone,
  • Paint finishes and colour selections
  • Flooring – floor boards, carpets
  • Wall paper and feature wall detailing.
  • Toilets, taps, and other associated bathroom fittings
  • Shower screens
  • Light fittings
  • Kitchens and appliances

These are the most commonly finishes that most of us are aware of. But there is more to the list that we neglect initially but keep running around later.

  • Stone benches
  • Splashbacks (Glass or tile)
  • Vanities
  • Shaving cabinets
  • Detailed joinery
  • Plaster cornices (or none depending on detailing)
  • Skirtings
  • Architraves
  • Internal doors, door handles and associated fittings
  • Networking cabling or smart wiring for home automation


External Finishes

  • Windows and doors
  • Face bricks; cladding
  • Various sheet panelling
  • Rendered surfaces
  • Roof coverings
  • Terracotta tiles
  • Concrete tiles
  • Slate shingles
  • Metal roof sheeting
  • Fascia and gutter styles
  • External surfaces with tiles, stone, or concrete such as driveways, paths, and retaining walls etc.
  • Decks, pergolas, and painted surfaces including colour selections.

The list is endless depending on the level of detail that is required for your project, but you will be surprised because even the smallest projects can include many of these various items.

Depending on the level of assistance you have through your selection’s process, it is going to take you a considerable amount of time to select all of these items — believe me that it will be worth it!


When to choose your finishes and finalize the selection?

I have personally been involved in hundreds of construction projects over the last twenty years. I have been at both ends of the spectrum. From everything completely selected right down to the last detail prior to starting onsite, to others that are just so anxious to make a start they are prepared to wing the selections along the way.

Let me tell you that the clients with the latter approach usually ended up with considerably longer build times onsite due to delays with selecting and supplying materials. They were usually the ones that ended up blowing their budget as well. When you’re rushed or pressured for a decision, it does not leave you a lot of time to shop around!

So, the lesson to take away from this is to select as much as you can up-front in the pre-commencement stage. By doing so you will be able to shop around for the best prices. You also get to adjust your selections if you find out that costs are over or under your original budget.

Finishes selection and budgeting

Going out to the marketplace for tenders from various builders, tradesman, or suppliers with your plans before you have made selections will be difficult to compare your prices. It is due to the inclusion of various allowances, either based on their standard inclusions, or guesstimates until the selection is finalised.

Allowances made for items before a selection is finalised is usually referred to as a ‘provisional sum.’ We will touch on this more in our estimating section of the site. My advice would be to try and avoid too many of these before you start because your true building cost will be unknown.

interior design and the selections process


How to do the selections process:

Document your selections:

Though the major portion of the selection process is going to be spent in showrooms, you need to spend some time on the table too. Documentation of all the choices is important. I recommend downloading my selection’s template, in my 5-stage process, where I lay how to focus on getting the big-ticket items out of the way first.

The hectic showroom visits:

This part of the selection’s process will involve visiting various showrooms and talking to suppliers about the products you are looking to purchase or receive quotes on. This part of the process can become time consuming and frustrating if not performed correctly.

There are also various showrooms and suppliers out there that are one-stop-shops. If you can select your plumbing fittings, tiles, kitchens, and appliances in one spot, it will save you a lot of running around. Even if you do want to shop around, starting at these suppliers will help you to create a wish-list of everything you require, including prices that you can then take away and break down to shop around with.

Some of these suppliers and showrooms will require appointments, so I recommend you call ahead to arrange one as you will need to allocate a good portion of your day to this process. This way you will be guaranteed to get your showroom representative’s full attention in helping with your selections.

Focus on one segment at a time

If you can plan or block out a full day then you should be able to squeeze in at least three major selection item categories. For example, you might choose to focus on the bathroom fitting and tile showroom, the kitchen showroom, and the window and door showroom. I recommend them in this order because the first one is a the most time-consuming and can be draining when you consider all of the individual fittings, such as taps and toilets, that maybe required in your project.

Kitchen selections can also be onerous, but if you have a reasonably detailed plan of what you require, the process should be streamlined. As for window selections, depending on the level of detail you or your designer has specified, the selection may only be between timber or aluminum, colour of frames and hardware, or a selection of frame-size grade of residential, commercial, or semi-commercial.

Finalize all of the selections before the work commences

I keep saying this until everyone is gonna take it seriously. You need to finish your finishes selection process well before the actual site work starts.

It is even better if you can bring in all the material to the site so that there is not buffer period or waiting.


Do I need an interior designer?

If you are time-poor, don’t feel confident with selecting your items, or just want some guidance in the look and feel of your overall design, then an interior designer could be the way to go.

The benefit of hiring an interior designer to take care of your selections is that they have preset finishes schedule and supplier tie-ups. Most companies or individuals will have two or three standard suppliers that they use for individual products that mesh with their overall design style. After an initial meeting or brief from yourself to the designer, a selection schedule or finishes schedule could be generated with pictures and prices of the majority of items ready for you to approve.

Of course, with this method you would probably still want to visit the showrooms and look at the individual items or products you will be purchasing. At least this way all of the leg work and most of the decision making is take care of.

Some architects, builders, and building consultants will also offer an interior design service. So, I suggest shopping around if you need some extra assistance and guidance with all of your selections. However please remember that the more of this process you do prior to starting with your project, the more money you will save!

Good luck and happy selecting ?

Best wishes,

James Mason



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