Select Interiors

Good Design Need not be Expensive



Good design need not be expensive, how Select Interiors maintains a budget and an example of why a budget was exceeded by 18%

It is said that good ideas never go out of style. The greatest barrier to achieving a perfect interior is usually the budget. As most clients have less than is needed to achieve the ideal, it falls to the designer to be arbiter, selector of materials, finishes and to have a tight rein on the purse strings. Skills required to succeed are more cost. than the sum of their parts, every element of the selection process must be carefully considered. What material, its’ aesthetic qualities, colour, texture and ultimately at what cost. The example above a 3,000 sqft unit was designed and fitted as Café, Co-Worker space with 2 meeting rooms and Marketing

Suite out by Select Interiors Ltd for Allied London £22 sqft. Approx. 50% of a typical expected expenditure for the operators Caffeine & Co and Allied London

Select Interiors have the dilemma above every working day, a budget can only be exceeded if the client requests additional works or for unforeseen defects as the example below. There are so many elements of a build that cannot always be accounted for at survey stage. On a recent project budget £158,000.00 plus VAT, programme 5 weeks we delivered the project a week early and to the estimated price to the penny. At the post contract final account meeting it was apparent the FD was expecting additional costs, he was more than pleasantly surprised when informed that there were none.

Design & Fit out for Colas Rail, City Tower, Piccadilly in Manchester handed over a week early and on budget. The scope of works included mechanical / A/C, electrical, data, flooring, decoration, bespoke joinery, desks, storage, pedestals, fully fitted storage and bespoke graphics completed over a 3-week programme for Colas Rail. Project handed over early, no variations and Select Interiors were awarded a similar design and fit out in York

On another project for an international events company we discovered 2 days into a 3-week programme that the existing electrical installation was unsafe despite having current Periodic (test) Certificate. Budget was £35,000.00, the complete re-wire and data at an additional cost for £6,400.00. This sum is a significant percentage of the original budget which could not have been foreseen at tender stage. All the electrical wiring was in the void above the suspended ceiling, the wiring had been retained above the ceiling by cutting the suspension wires rendering the whole grid ceiling unsafe.

Poor practice, ceiling wire cut to suspend small power & data

State of the existing wiring discovered 2 days into three-week programme

Re-wired and in correct containment

The client was informed of the risk and detailed worksheet estimate was submitted, Client’s Health & Safety officer visited site the following day to assess risks and variation was agreed on Health & Safety grounds. It was also accepted that there was a tacit understanding amongst the Directors that the existing installation was not ideal as they had experienced historic problems. Select Interiors completely rewired the whole office to include correct box trunking & tray containment (illustrated in the annotated image above) for both small power and data. Works we completed to the original three-week programme and despite the additional cost the client was happy. A further three projects have been carried out for the same company since to include installation of a new industrial gas fired heater for the warehouse and external lighting scheme

Example of detailed worksheet estimate of variation on the project above and a Pie Chart illustrating how estimate was portioned

Pie Chart with the variation added above an 18.3 % increase due to unforeseen works

We all read about public works contracts going over budget by millions of pounds. The industry has suffered badly during the last recession and major contracts have routinely been tendered at cost or even less than cost. The larger contractors use Quantity Surveyors to make the savings by opting for the cheapest sub-contractors and often sharp contractual practices to ensure a profit is squeezed from the initial tender sum. Savings from smaller contractors and variations or ‘extras’ have been the only avenue to extract profit from unfeasible original bid prices

Hoss Gifford’s famous quip about meeting a client that wants cutting edge design delivered to a constrained programme on a limited budget. If this is achievable, that more works will be forthcoming. Meaning that if works are fast, cheap and good enough the reward would be more work at the same fast cheap pace & rate

The first thing to understand is that it is impossible to create work that is fast, good, and cheap. Inevitably if we do work that is cheap and fast, it is inevitable that it will not be of as high quality if we had more time or budget

We have traded through three recessions now having been in business for 31 years and are constantly working for clients that demand all the above. Factors such as the responsibility felt towards employees, the security of having a constant work-stream and often our service ethic often overrides orthodox business strategy

The extras on a project are not viewed by Select Interiors as a means of extracting more profit but as a service if requested or if necessary as the example above illustrates. Select Interiors have previously undertaken a lot of contracts for the DWP throughout Cheshire, Brighton & Hove areas. As part of the framework agreement variations or additional works were agreed on an ‘open book’ cost plus P&O basis. We do not believe we can foresee all risks, however we can promise to provide a detailed and transparent breakdown of variations and the necessary action to ensure there is a minimal impact on any programme

 We at Select Interiors Office Design & Fit Out Company judge the success of the buildings and places we design by the way people use and enjoy them – the clients who commission them, the people who inhabit them. Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging

Please click the link PIXINET to view more recently completed projects  (Link:

Talk to the experts about how good design, and an engaging fit out can improve productivity and wellbeing to help attract, retain & motivate staff call the Select Interiors design team on 0161 445 4040 or email It need not be expensive!



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0161 445 4040

Studio 31a, Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LX