WHAT WE DO

WHO WE ARE:

Western Interior Design Group Ltd was incorporated in 1991 as a full service commercial interior design studio with integrated procurement and construction management. Our commercial clients were the original drivers behind Western taking on procurement and construction management responsibilities. After spending time building relationships with them, becoming immersed in their businesses, it was clients who asked, “Could you do the purchasing for us?” “Could you manage the trades on our behalf?”

Thus, rather than deserting our clients in their hour of need, at the time of tender, Western instead remains engaged with them throughout the process, transparently supporting them in the purchasing of product, including finishes, fixtures and furniture; and the management of trades. Our area of expertise is specifically in Tenant Improvement, more commonly referred to as TI. We have projects in all commercial sectors, designing and building hotels, restaurants, medical clinics, elder care facilities, retail stores, spas, salons, offices, multi-unit residential developments - even a superyacht marina and a radio station!

HOW ARE WE DIFFERENT?

Yes, absolutely, we do things differently than most designers, particularly in the commercial sector. That is because while yes, we are Registered Interior Designers, we are in fact much more. We are also trained in project management, technical documentation and engineering, and are licensed and insured as General Contractors. While you may know us through our engagement in the design community, design is, in fact, only a small part of what we do.

WHAT WE DO:

As Registered Interior Designers, we work with our clients to design the project, then we produce all required technical drawings and specifications. As Project Coordinators, we send those documents to local engineers and architects, gathering proposals for their services on our clients’ behalf. We then work with those allied professionals and shepherd the entire team through the process of design to permit.

As General Contractors, we then fully quote, schedule and contract the project. This includes the purchasing of all electrical and plumbing fixtures, all finishing materials including carpet, tile, wallcovering and millwork, and the coordination of all subtrades, including demolition, framing and backing, drywall, ceilings and suspended elements, painting and wallcovering, tilers and hardwood flooring installers. All trades are hired and managed by us. All product is purchased and installed by us. We are a ‘one stop shop’ for our clients, taking all of the intimidation out of the construction process. Our projects range from supplying and installing a single desk for a repeat client to full hospitality renovations in excess of $5 million.

As Procurement Specialists, we specify, quote and purchase commercial grade furniture and appliances directly from over 50 major manufacturers locally and internationally. We arrange, shipping, receiving, unpacking, assembly and instillation with our many skilled trades. These purchasing relationships were put in place prior to the modern dealer arrangements that have since become the standard. While such arrangements would not be offered in the new modern structure of business, these purchasing relationships have been very successful for all parties over the last 28 years and continue to be honoured.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU AS A CLIENT?

As a client, this means you have hit the jackpot. There is no part of this process that we will not guide you through. Every aspect of your project matters to us, and we will work with you to resolve whatever issues arise – because they always do! In addition, all our services are available a la carte. You can pick and choose which services best serve you and your project: design, procurement and construction management.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU, AS A SUPPLIER?

As a supplier, this means that we act as your advocate with our clients. If your product or skill is something that can appropriately serve our clients, we will reach out to you for information, including specification assistance and pricing. When we have access to discounts, we typically split those discounts 50/50 with our clients, or clients can choose to pay a flat or percentage procurement fee instead. Our purchasing relationships with our clients are always transparent.

We do always try to maximize the value of the clients’ purchasing dollar, so we are most likely to initially consider specifying from manufacturers that give the client the best value for dollar. If another product to which we have no discounted access is more appropriate for the client, we will certainly recommend and specify that product, making it clear to the client that there may not be any cost savings on that item for them. These dialogues are transparent with the client, and at no time does any client ever pay more than retail or list.

 

HOW CAN YOU BEST WORK WITH US?

When we approach you for specification and pricing support, please understand that we are acting on behalf of our clients. All interaction is with us. All quotes are written to us. We contract with our clients, amalgamating multiple quotes into a single procurement or construction contract with them. We hold all warrantees on their behalf. We manage access to the clients and coordinate their sites. The vast majority of our clients are repeat customers, and we remain engaged with them, on large and small scale, for decades. The only exception to this is if a client has a preexisting relationship with a certain supplier, in which case we respect that relationship and follow the client’s direction on their preferred arrangements.

 

WHAT ABOUT SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES?

I am so glad you asked.

There are always special circumstances. Every project is different. Every client is different. While we may have a certain way of doing things, we are always open to conversation, and look forward to making these relationships successful and satisfying for all of us.

If you see a better way of doing things, and want to engage us in the conversation, please do reach out. You can always reach Ann directly via email (ann@westerninteriordesign.ca) or cell (250.884.7660). We look forward to continuing the conversation.


HOW WE WORK

Western Interior Design Group Ltd. specializes in commercial interior design + build and is experienced in taking projects from inception to completion. We provide integrated Interior Design, Construction (Tenant Improvements) and Procurement Services. 

While the design and procurement phases are typically well understood by clients, the construction phase can be more complex, and thus intimidating. In continued service to our clients, following our accreditation as Registered Interior Designers, we have also undergone education, licensing, and insurance as General Contractors and Construction Management professionals. This means that we can continue to serve clients after design and procurement, through construction and occupancy. To provide clarity and reassurance, we want to outline for you the various ways the construction phase can roll out, after design is substantially complete.

 

There are three basic styles of interior construction and renovation agreements between the client and the contractor: - 

1. DESIGN+BUILD: GENERAL CONTRACTOR -

Western acts as the General Contractor. 

2. DESIGN+BUILD: COST PLUS -

Western acts as the General Contractor, in partnership with the client. 

3. CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT -

Western acts as the Construction Manager, contracted as an advisor to the client

 

1. DESIGN+BUILD: GENERAL CONTRACTOR

Western acts as the General Contractor.  

Western Interior Design Group Ltd. provides the client with a single value of the total upset cost based on the approved design. Usually there would have been conversation regarding a budget along the way and the agreement to provide the work required would reflect the worked-out budget. (This often excludes HVAC work, as it is designed by a mechanical engineer, and Western Interior Design Group Ltd. has no control over their design or scope.)

Pros: 

1. All work is handled by one entity or ‘General Contractor’, making it faster and more efficient. Western, as GC, selects all suppliers and sub-trades, which eliminates any burden of engagement and decision making on the client.

2. The work done is well managed and completion is achieved on schedule and within the stipulated cost. The client is guaranteed a project at a fixed price. This means that if sub-trades underperform or suppliers default, the risk is borne by Western.

3. All minor extras including increases in materials costs are borne by Western Interior Design Group Ltd.

Cons: 

1. Whoever bears the risk, carries the margin to cover that risk. Thus, when Western guarantees a project at a certain price, the margin on the project must be higher, to cover any issues that may arise. This margin is hidden from the client, as are all actual costs. 

  

2. DESIGN+BUILD: COST PLUS 

Western acts as the General Contractor, in partnership with the client. 

Western Interior Design Group takes the approved design package and gets multiple bids from suppliers and sub-trades. The client is privy to all costs. The client cost is based on the selected bid from the suppliers and subcontractor(s) PLUS a transparent margin:

• 5 to 6% for insurances and soft costs

• 10 to 15% for administration and carrying costs

• 10 to 15% profit

• 3 to 5% contingency allowance, held by the client for any issues as they arise

Pros: 

1. All work is handled by one entity or ‘General Contractor’, making it faster and more efficient. Western, as GC, recommends suppliers and sub-trades to the client. Final selection and approval is made by the client, which requires continued engagement and decision making on behalf of the client.

2. The project is not guaranteed to be on schedule or within the stipulated cost, as the client can continue to make changes and may make trade and supplier selections not recommended by Western. This means that if sub-trades underperform or suppliers default, the risk is borne by the client.

3. The client may feel more comfortable knowing the actual costs. 

Cons: 

1. All minor extras including increases in materials costs are borne by the client.

2. The project will take longer to complete because of client engagement in all decision making.

3. CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT 

Western acts as the Construction Manager, contracted as an advisor to the client

After completion of the design phase, the client contracts Western to act as their advisor, going out to tender inviting large scale General Contractors to provide a full package for the construction work to be done.

The client contracts Western Interior Design Group Ltd. in a management capacity to write and issue the RFP (Request for Proposal), assess the bid documents and engage as the client’s advocate throughout the construction process. This fee for this service is usually between 10% and 15% of the construction budget. 

OPTIONAL: The client may choose to retain control over the finishes (flooring, wall covering, specialty lighting etc.), and Western Interior Design Group Ltd. may manage the supply and install of these items using our factory direct purchasing power. 

Pros:

1.     When the work requires experienced construction (New Build) specialists, this is a preferred way to work as this is the expertise of large construction companies. This includes foundation work, heritage exteriors, building envelope issues and development permits. 

Cons:

1.     Western is an advisor, not a controller. Thus, we are less empowered over the design and have less control over both the work and the schedule.

2.     The client bears the risk, on both cost and schedule. 

3.     The costs will be higher as larger and more complex projects require more pre-planning and oversight. 

4.     The additional time to request and evaluate multiple bids typically extends the timeline of the project by months. 

 

CONCLUSION:

We love the process of design and construction, and we love sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm with our clients. Whatever the construction contract structure that suits you, your organization and it’s structure, your comfort level with risk and your engagement in the minutia; we are excited to work within your constraints to bring your project to its fullest potential. 


MORE FAQ’S 

HOW DOES THE COMMERCIAL PROCUREMENT PROCESS WORK?

The commercial furniture ordering process can be very different from residential grade furniture and, from our extensive experience, we understand this can be overwhelming for some clients.  We typically see commercial furniture quotes returned 1-2 weeks from time of request. Unlike residential furniture which is usually stocked in warehouses, commercial furniture is made-to-order with focus on safety & durability. Unlike residential-grade furniture commercial furniture is designed, quoted & built with heavy and continual use in mind, and everything from each individual component to the fire suppressant coatings are considered. Timelines can be an obstacle, but the increased quality, durability & safety is worth the wait.