As an owner and CEO of a construction company, I’m often asked ‘technical construction’ questions on someone’s build or project, which makes sense as that’s what my company and team do. We construct. So, therefore, experts in this field.
When I’m asked material selection or design questions, the obvious answer would be that I refer them to talk to a designer/architect as this is what they specialise in. They design and create.
But interestingly, I will also suggest they talk to the tradies as another extremely valuable source that can sometimes be overlooked.
Now you might ask “what a can tradesperson offer in design or material selection?”
Well, let’s think about it. Each tradesperson works in their trade day in day out and is exposed to new trends, what works, what can be a problem down the track, what is practical, what looks good etc.
The tiler lays tiles, a glazier works with glass, the painter paints, a carpenter works with wood and structures throughout a build and the plumber works with pipes/water/sanitation. This is just to name a few tradespeople who will be involved in your project.
As you can see you will have a multitude of experts in their fields that you are able to use as a resource of information gathering and guidance.
Here is an example of my own experience where a tradesperson was pivotal in design and material selection, which ultimately saved time, added value to the property, looked fantastic and avoided potential costly mistakes.
I was doing a complete renovation of our house and was in the process of confirming the tiles that were going to be used on the floors in the bathrooms, toilets and laundry. To keep consistency throughout the house, I decided I wanted one tile for all the wet area floors. It would also be cheaper as I was buying the tiles in bulk. Great!
So off to the shop I went to choose the tile. After viewing a plethora of choices, I ended up choosing one that was a stunning matt natural earth colour with sporadic very small light veins (think marble). I had wanted a matt neutral flooring for the wet areas, so I was pretty pleased with what I found. I placed an order, paid the deposit and took my sample box of tiles with me to meet the site manager to show them what I had picked.
Proud as punch I showed my tiler the tile that I had chosen and what he thought. After a few “hmms” he asked me if I was sure this what I wanted as the tile I had chosen would not provide the look nor feel I was after. A little perplexed (and honestly slightly miffed) I replied with a resounding yes, I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. To his credit, he persisted and asked me to go get the sample box as he wanted to show me what he meant.
I trudged to my car to get the sample box thinking it was a waste of time. When I handed the tiles to him, he took out about 10 and laid them on the floor in the bathroom with the lights on so I could see for myself.
Well, let’s just say that my matte flooring looked like 5 cats had been in a fight and had left scratch marks all over the tiles. My tiler explained to me that one tile with a small feature can look great (particularly in display rooms) but when you lay them en mass under the lighting they will be in, that small feature becomes something different altogether!
He was absolutely correct and had he not shared his experience and expertise, I would have ended up with either floors I hated or would have pulled them all up and redone the job (at my own cost).
Thankfully when I went straight back to the tile shop, I was able to change my order (with no extra cost) to another tile that suited the design and brief, and ultimately added value to the property.
So, when you are thinking about materials, your design or what you would like your project to look like, consider talking to the tradespeople as they can sometimes offer more than you think.
Ask more. Know more. Build more.