Perth 19th May 2010
Some projects are very clear cut. You do your lighting design work, you get paid. Some projects are less clear cut, you have to hassle your client to get your payment. In some cases you get in an argument as the client believes you have not properly completed a stage of work and they stall your payment…and many variations in between…..
I don’t know about all my colleagues but we generally divide our works in stages ranging from schematic concept design all the way (via detail development and tender documents, etc) to actual project commissioning on site. Besides our appointment fees we then get paid progressively for each part (50% DD for instance) or completed stage of work. Quite straight forward, right?… I wish…..
Changes occur all the time, it is the nature of our design work and we will generally accommodate these as we go along. But we have to build in cut off points after which we freeze our design and specification works and any major changes thereafter constitute a re-design. That re-design then means additional works and thus requires additional fees. It is a sensitive process as clients are generally not keen in additional fees, certainly not in Asia, and will try to make you do it within your original scope and fees.
We have about 3 projects that call for additional works and I am currently evaluating the value of the additional works ahead. It is a careful balance between being fair to the client and fair to ourselves. But key to a successful agreement on an additional works fee is engaging the client. You need to communicate your progress and get approvals for your work progress along the road. It is then much easier to point out that we have to go back and travel that same road again 🙂