Interior design is a relatively new profession, evolving slowly but steadily, with the digital age, through smart home technology and the internet of things. Often confused with interior architects and interior decorators, interior designers also often face a ‘productivity question’ while performing their tasks. They often ask themselves how they can easily become more productive, add value and save time.
Following other articles in a stakeholder productivity series : “The productivity conundrum facing UK housebuilders today,” “The productivity dilemma facing UK housing associations today” and “The productivity paradox facing UK surveyors today,” here Script&Go, BatiScript’s developer present in the UK, examines the productivity question, challenges and opportunities, facing interior designers today here.
The technological context surrounding UK interior designers today
To elaborate on the growing technological backdrop to the interior design profession in the UK, it is worth mentioning that a new hub for smart homes and buildings research has recently opened. The Building Research Establishment (BRE)’s new Centre for Smart Homes and Buildings (CSHB) is currently testing a range of devices, covering heating, energy use, safety and security, lighting and air quality. This organisation aims to work with a range of partners to facilitate and improve the use of smart products and services in the built environment, inside and out.
Working within this evolving technological context, UK based interior designers also have a rigorous quality control discipline for performing their tasks and their projects are administered and managed professionally in accordance with these requirements. The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) is the leading professional organisation representing interior designers in the UK and represents both commercial and residential interior design sectors. The BIID president says a professional interior designer is” the best descriptor for the complex mix of knowledge, skills and experience required to design interior space, which of course includes extensive knowledge of interior architecture and interior decoration.”
The British Academy of Interior Design is a leading provider of accredited, industry recognised UK interior design qualifications. The Interior Design Institute also offers online learning in the field.
Regardless of where they learn their trade, at university or elsewhere interior designers all face a key productivity question that needs answering. How can they achieve high quality outcomes and improve productivity quickly?
2 Productivity challenges facing UK interior designers
Interior design has always been a challenging career choice, but the digital age brings a few new obstacles that interior designers and interior architects have to overcome if they want to succeed : stringent client requirements, competition, education, online reviews…
Script&Go sees the stringent client concerns as relating directly to a need for greater quality control, stakeholder liaison and management. The reality is interior designers face multiple challenges to increasing their productivity, of saving time and adding value for their clients, including:
- Quality control
- Compliance: they need to understand and comply with technical issues and create interior environments that are functional, safe, and adhere and comply with multiple practice-related or project-related standards, codes, regulations, (such as ISO 9001, Building Regulations and Listed Building Consent) as well as visual and physical disability requirements. Accurate on-site issue tracking is a vital part of this process.
- Management and reporting: they need to project manage and coordinate professional interior design service information, including performing defect management or ‘snagging’ activities and developing a variety of construction documents while deploying sustainable principles.
2. Stakeholder liaison
- Collaboration and communication: they need to collaborate and communicate directly with multiple stakeholders, architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors or trade contractors as well as their clients and need the flexibility to do this on or off site.
Script&Go believes that by overcoming the obstacles of the digital age and tackling it’s challenges for improving productivity interior designers will not only answer their ‘productivity question’ but also provide wider societal benefits, such as sustainability and enhanced well-being.
2 Productivity opportunities for UK interior designers
There are two principal opportunity combinations for UK interior designers to respond to the quality control and stakeholder liaison challenges they face :
- Communication and collaboration
Our recent blog article “Get digital. Get mobile. Get productive – to improve collaboration and communication” explored how communication and collaboration and be enhanced through mobile digital solutions and an earlier post “4 simple ideas to improve communication with teams” explored how team communication can be improved. These are worth repeating here :
- Implement a mobile digital solution
- Make clear reports
- Simplify stakeholder exchanges
- Provide access to information
2. Digitisation and mobilisation
Coupled with the drive for improved communication and collaboration, to answer their productivity question, is the specific need for increased digitisation and mobilisation of interior designers.
- Using customised digital templates site data (including defects and issues) can be captured in a structured way by interior designers using tablet-based software or webapps or smartphone-based mobile apps and uploaded to a digital document management system (DMS) directly from site. This data can then be annotated or edited, checked and through automated processes and used to generate snaglists and reports for enhanced quality control.
- Once captured in a DMS, data can be collated so that stakeholders can make informed decisions and reused for Building Information Modelling (BIM) or for comparison purposes. Photographs or sketches can be tagged and associated with a project site or trade, saving users from uploading images from a camera.
Script&Go supports these opportunities. The need for enhanced collaboration and communication alongside digitisation and mobilisation across construction, which includes the interior design sector, was outlined in it’s own whitepaper “Improving the productivity of the construction and infrastructure sector through mobile digital solutions.” This paper explains that the onus to answer the productivity question on all through a simultaneous “push-pull” approach by the UK government and across the construction supply chain.
By understanding the core challenges facing interior designers in the UK and the opportunities of intuitive communication and collaboration, digitisation and mobilisation, interior designers should be more able to make informed decisions as to how to answer their ‘productivity question.’
Improving interior designers’ productivity through construction management software
BatiScript construction management software and mobile snagging app provides interior designers with a clear way to respond to the communication, collaboration, digitisation and mobilisation opportunies by providing them with the core benefits of adding value and saving time to answer their productivity questions. Using this solution leads to improved management processes and higher quality control through a sustainable paper-free process. Usable on the go, across multiple operating systems on tablets and smartphones, it’s an easy-to-use yet versatile solution.
The next step to answering your productivity question
To discuss your productivity, quality control (defect management and ‘snagging’ requirements) and stakeholder liaison and management needs further you can contact Script&Go’s BatiScript UK team or simply trial BatiScript and it’s mobile ‘snagging’ app for yourself.