Be Specific With Specs

I have been assisting some designers and architects in the past year who find themselves up against the clock on a job where hardwood specifications aren’t being met. I tell them the problem is that it’s very rare that the people who are trying to get the job will actually tell the truth about what is and is not possible.

Imagine a scenario where you get three hardwood flooring companies together to bid on a job that is simply impossible to produce. This could be for myriad reasons — the widths and lengths aren’t in synch with the species, the color won’t be perfectly matched to your sample or the time line is simply too short. Now imagine that two of the company reps say they can absolutely produce exactly what you have specified. The third rep ponders for a minute and says that it can’t be done for any price or any time frame. My advice is to dismiss the first two people and talk to the last guy who was willing to walk away from the job.

Everyone wants work, and if someone is willing to pass on the job, they must have a good reason. They can help you re-imagine the space in such a way that it will be unique and beautiful, even if different than your original vision. It is much better to do this exercise at the very beginning of the project than find out at the tail end that the job was never going to look the way you envisioned it. No one wants to have to go back to the client 18 months into the project to renegotiate the look of the space, now based on reality. A bit of work up-front with experts will save a great deal of heartache later. Ask for a truthful evaluation of your hardwood specifications.