Select Interiors

Good Design Need Not Be Expensive



It is said that good ideas never go out of style. The greatest barrier to achieving a perfect interior is usually the budget. As the vast majority of 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 has to be carefully considered. What material, its’ aesthetic qualities, colour, texture and ultimately at what cost


Select Interiors have the dilemma above every working day, a budget can only be exceeded if the client requests further works or for unforeseen works. 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 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.


On another recent project we discovered 2 days into a 3 week programme that the existing electrical installation was unsafe despite having current Periodic 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 & dataB1


State of the existing wiring discovered 2 days into three week programmeB2


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 an unspoken knowledge amongst the Directors that the existing installation was not ideal as there had been historic problems. Select Interiors completely rewired the whole office to include correct box trunking & tray containment 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



We all read about public works contracts going over budget by millions of pounds. The industry has suffered badly during the 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 price

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 27 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 and 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


Extracting value for under-utilised spaces in a large reception area for Capital Properties


Select Interiors completed this informal meeting space, utilising a previously little used space in a large reception area for Capital Properties. The scheme introduced more light an informal drinks area by introducing a glazed elevation to the main BoardroomB6


Extracting value when paying a premium for space is second nature to Select Interiors Ltd, see the little upholstered cubes and table plus the ‘chill out’ area to the right hand side of the image. Previously dark and unused this now has a drinks fridge, worktop, coffee machine and upholstered cube seating in Capital’s brand coloursB7


Select Interiors manufactured and supplied all the furniture, the off-set meeting settee & upholstered cubes manufactured in Capital Properties brand colours, the graphics above double sided so the cool brand is reinforced both inside & outside glazed partitionsBc


Select have also been commissioned to produce branding and design for an extension of The Hello concept, which provides an accessible, cool & flexible working environment and drop for small creative start-ups and forward looking established businesses that have embraced the mobile working culture.


The brief was to provide a design and fit out of former Granada Studio staff canteen on a tight budget. Utilising the existing Servery units and lower Bar Area. To strip out and remove existing ceilings and to reveal sub ceiling services and plant, to install new lighting and to provide economical design solutions to enhance the space, provide workstations & Coffee areas for an extension of Allied London’s roll out of the Hello Hub workspace concept


Design proposals which have been approved by the London based team at Allied London Estates and the Chief Executive Officer who e-mail Carl thanking him for cool design and speedy turn-round of concept from the initial brief


Costs have now been submitted for bespoke furniture, graphics, decoration, flooring, lighting and electrical works


Concept Images B8



Mood BoardB10



Images of the recently completed Reception at Granada 




Update on progress at The Allotment Bar & Restaurant for new operators Gavin & James of New Horizons Ltd. Select Interiors shop fitters Manchester have developed the scheme from initial brief of ‘’create a trendy Bar Restaurant based around am Allotment theme


Works include; demolition, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, cooling, structural works, bespoke joinery, flooring, signage & decoration. Select Interiors have developed the scheme and employed all the sub consultants to provide a ‘turnkey’ fit out package for the conversion from retail showroom to Pub Restaurant – The Allotment Bar & Restaurant


The two Northern Quarter swashbucklers are receptive to new ideas and uses of upcycled materials for the scheme and have taken an active interest in the evolution of design from the initial brief, see below progress images




Progress in W.C. s Allotment Bar & RestaurantB8


Progress in main Lounge – Bar areaB11


Some of the projects above will be the subject of further blogs, one of which will have a short film. The majority of the works above are repeat business, which would indicate we are doing something right.


The team at Select Interiors would like to thank all the clients above for their valued enquiries and business, and we look forward to being of further service in the near future


Signed The Select Team

Related posts

0161 445 4040

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