With the year coming to a close, the need to usher in the new year in a new or revamped space, is very commonplace. It is safe to say, that Interior Contractors are busiest during this period, with fit-out projects taking centre stage. Be it a residential, commercial, hospitality, retail or institutional setting, there are some key factors that need be taken into consideration, to properly prepare you for a seamless, and in turn successful, project execution and completion.

Item #1: Building and Renovation Permits

All County Offices in the Republic of Kenya, require you to submit all the necessary documentation, in order to be issued with the appropriate permits, to carry out any renovation project. The rate, validity and timelines to issue the same, is directly dependent on the scope and complexity of the work being carried out, submission of all the mandatory paperwork, the County Offices from where the application was made (do note that this has to coincide with the County your premises is located in) and the availability of all the required signatories.

With most offices slowing down their operations towards the holiday season, making sure all the paperwork and application is done on time, will save you any unnecessary headache. Also trying to outsmart the County officers by applying for a lower category permit to save on costs, is a recipe for disaster. Once a site visit is done by one of them, a notice to stop any and all works will easily be issued, and the best way to salvage the situation, involves going through the application process again, only this time, with the correct information.

Without the renovation permits in hand, starting any work or even delivery of materials, won’t be possible. For many retail, commercial and institutional premises, the management office requires you to submit the county permit approvals, to be issued with their approvals, while most residential associations, require the permits to allow materials be delivered to site. Be sure to set aside at least one week to source the same, and you’ll be off to a great start, able to push forward with any and all works.

Item #2: Materials and Fittings Suppliers

With most building materials and fittings suppliers closing shop for the holidays, placing your orders early enough will be a game changer. For suppliers who specialize in customization of fittings, an appropriate lead time will do you good. Ideally, I recommend tentatively making the request, then placing the order in good time and finally (where possible) putting down a deposit to hold the items. That way, as the permits are being facilitated, your materials are being worked on and consolidated ready for immediate collection.

In the event some suppliers opt to remain open for the better part of the season, don’t shy away from giving them the rundown of the materials you’ll need, leading up to the completion of the project. This will enable them source for, and place an order for any of the items that they may not have in stock; and when the time does come for their immediate need, you won’t hit a roadblock trying to purchase the same. It goes without saying, that without all the materials at hand, a seamless project completion won’t be close to possible.

Item #3: Service Provider Contracts

Since it’s a relatively busy season for most Interior Contractors, having a contract in place (signed by both parties) to ensure successful completion of the renovation or fit-out project, will spare you the heartache that comes with shoddy workmanship. Not only should the contract stipulate the scope of work, project timelines and mode of payment upon successful completion of the set phase or milestone, but also include exit clauses, immediately applicable in the event that the contractors fail to meet the quality and project standards and specifications.

Proper due diligence leading up to the contract award, will safeguard you against some of these drawbacks, and should that not be the case, an airtight contract will save you from losing any more money. Also remember that regular site visits while the project is being executed, is a great way to monitor the works being done, and can be the best avenue to incorporate any changes, should an idea come to mind.

That said, with these three boxes checked, ushering in the new year in your new or revamped space, becomes a reality. Should you however, prefer to engage the services of an Interior Contractor who will take care of everything, leading to the successful completion of your project, feel free to contact us. After all, at Phi Interior Designers, we are in the business of transformation and offer client-centred, end to end design and build solutions, within East Africa and beyond.

Till next time…Baraka Tele

Fiona Odhiambo

Fiona Odhiambo

FIONA is the Principal and Lead Interior Design Consultant of Phi Interior Designers. With a passion for design and the world of interiors, service and mentorship, she has over eleven (11) years’ experience in building consultancy, interior architectural design, project management and planning on CAD programs

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