K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Bath Design

Mar 06 2015

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Designers’ Views on Sharing Documents with Clients

Image by David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In our K+BB Designers Network LinkedIn Group, Laura Vlaming, CKD, Arkiteriors, asked the following question: Independent Designers: How do you handle it when a client asks you for your Word documents (scope of work) and/or CAD files in lieu of PDF files?

Vlaming went on to share some more detail.I have a current client who has, and in the past I have shared my Autocad files with architects when working on a mutual project. This seems more invasive, and I wonder if there are any liabilities in sharing with clients. I do not have anything in the design agreement he signed addressing this.”

We want to share the responses from other designers with you.

Pete Walker, Developer, The Proximity Kitchensystem at Walker Design Group, proximitykitchen.com

If you’ve been paid for the work, [there’s] no reason not to share the files. I’d make sure you get the client to release you from any liability regarding revisions (yours) or alterations (anyone else’s) after you release the electronic files. There are other considerations, I’m sure, but this one seems most important.

Anne-Marie Harvey, AKBD, Designer/Owner/Author at Fresh Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC

Did you ask the client why he wants the files? This certainly sounds like he wants to make some changes somewhere. Pete makes a good point about being released from liability should you release electronic files.

Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS, Owner/Principal Designer at A Kitchen That Works

Our contract stipulates that only drawings marked “final” can be distributed (viewed) by anyone other than the client. So although Pete’s idea has merit, assuming you can get them to sign a release in advance and make sure your documents are stamped appropriately, i.e., DRAFT or FINAL.

Nina Green, Principal Interior Designer at NGD Interiors

I do release my designs if they have been paid for. However, in my contract it states that my design documents are not to be used for construction, permitting or other things that would have to be signed off on by an architect. I would make sure that is stated somewhere. If the [designs] have not been paid for, then no, and it states in my contract that all of my designs are my property.

Elizabeth (Eli) Hunter, Because YOUR Kitchen Should Be BITCHIN’! ™

I only release drawings with a design retainer paid in full and other documents (scope of work) with a signed contract for project management. The drawings belong to the client after payment, and they are free to have other contractors bid off of them but not other documents.

Vlaming’s final comments regarding the feedback:

Thanks everyone for your comments and emails. After updating myself regarding professional liability and copyright laws and how they relate, specifically, to our drawings, I am putting together an agreement for him to sign before I release them (IF, I choose to do that) and will add this to my design agreement.


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Mar 06 2015

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Why Plumbing Matters!

Image from Gualberto107, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from Gualberto107, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) developed these 10 reasons why plumbing matters to safety, water sustainability, etc., for the celebration of World Plumbing Day on March 11.

  1. Plumbing harnesses a precious resource – water – to use safely for health, hygiene and wellbeing. Plumbing makes possible the miracle of clean, convenient water – something often taken for granted.
  1. Plumbing manufacturing innovations to gain water efficiency have dramatically reduced the amount of water used through toilets, showerheads, faucets and other plumbing products. For example, WaterSense plumbing products meeting Environmental Protection Agency criteria have saved consumers 757 billion gallons of water and $14.2 billion in water and energy bills since 2006, according to the EPA.
  1. To assure customer satisfaction, WaterSense products are certified to perform as well or better than standard models – all while saving at least 20 percent more water.
  1. The increased use of water-efficient plumbing is an important, yet often overlooked, part of the water sustainability solution. The EPA estimates that the U.S. could save three trillion gallons of water and more than $17 billion dollars annually if every U.S. household converted to WaterSense products. High-efficiency plumbing in commercial facilities can help save even more.
  1. Modern plumbing products help regions affected by droughts and water shortages to use water more efficiently. For example, Denver reduced water use to a 40-year low in December 2014, according to the Denver Post. Contributing to the decrease was replacing 3,200 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) toilets in the Denver Public Schools with 1.25 gpf toilets. The city has plans to replace 6,800 more by 2018.
  1. Water efficiency contributes greatly to energy savings. Less water used means less water heated and less water transported. Installing WaterSense-labeled faucet aerators in bathrooms, for example, helps save water and energy.
  1. Plumbing brings comfort and beauty into homes and lives. Kitchens and bathrooms not only serve functional purposes; they provide the refuge of comforting meals, soothing baths and restorative relaxation.
  1. The plumbing industry is a strong economic engine, providing jobs and livelihoods to millions of people around the world.
  1. The ability of plumbing and sanitation systems to deliver clean water and remove waste has protected populations from communicable disease throughout history. There is acknowledgement from many within the public health community that clean, drinkable water has likely protected more lives and extended life expectancy more than any medical advancement. Plumbing advancements continue to protect lives in developing nations.
  2. A future of water sustainability is an achievable prospect, as plumbing manufacturers work with allies in safe plumbing and water efficiency to find solutions.

- Ray Valek is with Plumbing Manufacturers International @SafePlumbing. 

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Feb 26 2015

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How to Select the Right Toilet for Your Client

Mansfield - Pic - Quantum 1.28

When renovating a bathroom, replacing the toilet can improve performance and use less water, which will obviously save your client on water bills and provide for a more efficient home.

Saving Water = Saving Dollars

Adrianna Miller, product manager with Mansfield Plumbing, recommends starting the search by looking for toilets marked with the WaterSense label. WaterSense is a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering suggestions for using less water with water-efficient products. Toilets earning the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance.

A Water Savings Calculator can help determine how much savings a family can gain by investing in different types of toilets. For example, a family of five can potentially save 20,257 gallons of water a year using a 1.28 GPF toilet, which can equate to an estimated $80 savings in water bills.

The Right Height

When replacing a toilet, consider the height from the floor to the top of the toilet seat. The standard toilet height is anywhere from 14-3/4 to 15-1/2 inches, but there are other versions available that provide more comfortable access for users.

“As we age, it’s more difficult to get up and down from a low-height toilet,” said Miller. “Taller toilets are easier to use for many people, including those who are taller themselves or have physical challenges.” 

Style Counts

Another important consideration for toilet selection is style of the toilet itself. There are both one- and two-piece toilet options, with choices of round or elongated shaped bowls. Different locations for the flushing handle (which can be on the front, side or top of the tank) should be considered, along with colors choices, which traditionally include white, bone and biscuit.

Finally, look at the styles of toilets with both exposed and concealed trapways. The trap performs the important function of removing waste from the toilet bowl during the flushing system. In some toilets you can see the outline of where this plumbing feature occurs at the base and back of the toilet, whereas in others the design completely covers the trapway.

“Selecting a new toilet is all about personal choices that work best for you and your family,” said Miller. “There are sleek-looking designs for contemporary spaces along with more traditional designs. Whether you’re looking for clean, classic lines or soft curves, there’s the ideal toilet for everyone.”

- Courtesy of Mansfield Plumbing

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Feb 19 2015

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To Bill or Not to Bill for Your Time

Image by phasinphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by phasinphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In our K+BB Designers Network LinkedIn Group, Cindy Sherman, a kitchen & bath designer in Fort Morgan, Colo., asked the following questions: Do you charge for your “shopping” time, whether online, thumbing catalogs or meeting with local contacts? If I take the time to do all of the selections and they don’t purchase them through me, I have wasted valuable time. How do you all handle this?

We want to share the responses with you.

Kristi Wyndham, CKD, Lead Designer at Beaches Woodcrafts

As a 35-year veteran in the kitchen industry, I have ALWAYS charged for my time. If you don’t put a value on your time, no one else will. I use it as a qualifier; if they are not willing to put down a design retainer, they are probably not in my market. I do give every client one free hour of consultation to sell myself and my services. This is a verbal consultation and a few pencil sketches…by the time we are 30 minutes into the meeting, they are signing the retainer check. Many of those who have walked away after the hour send their friends to me because they learned the hard way that my fee is worth every dime.

Laura Vlaming, CKD, Certified Kitchen Designer at Arkiteriors

I charge an hourly rate for all design services, period, but no markup on products, since pricing can be found on the Internet. I tell my customers they are paying for my time and my service. If possible, I have the customer pay the vendor directly, telling the vendor I am passing on my discount. My customers are happy about getting the discount, and I’m happy I can get my value in services provided. The caveat is that many times I don’t charge for all the time I actually spend searching for that perfect light fixture or knob.

When it comes to the plumbing fixtures, depending on the project scope, I often have the plumber order the products per my specifications. The plumbers I work with give the customer a good price so they can have control over all the parts required. This works well, so 1) The plumber is responsible for coordinating pick up/deliveries & possible returns or missing parts (time). 2) When the plumber is passing on discounted pricing, it discourages clients from purchasing on the Internet, possibly ordering wrong (or omitting parts required), leading to job delays.

Anne-Marie Harvey, AKBD, Designer/Owner/Author at Fresh Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC

I also charge for all of my time. It says right on my website that clients receive one hour of complimentary time where we discuss the project in detail, but no work begins until I receive the project initiation fee. I also have a four-hour minimum charge, so if someone doesn’t want plans drawn up, for example, just needs help with selections, they must pay an invoice for four hours of my time before we begin.

I often end up spending a bit more time than I bill for, but if you are spending time on someone’s project, you should be paid. I am only designing at this point, so I am not making money on selling products. I know some designers who sell product will return some of the design fee or give a reduced rate if the client buys through them.

Cindy Sherman, K&B Designer in Fort Morgan. Colo.

Thank you for the insights, it seems we all struggle with similar issues – spending more time than we bill for. I have trade accounts with some companies that complement my business, as well as a local showroom. If the client is interested in a particular sink and faucet, it’s easy for me to find one through my resources. To compensate, I can either bill for selection time or add a margin to the product (which is minimal because I still pass along a discount). I guess it’s a way to control that the correct products/specifications/dimensions are selected and make sure they are on site when needed.




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