Interior Designer in the UAE : Need a Contract?

Would I need a contract with my interior designer in the UAE? What are the essential clauses to mention in the contract?

T he short answer to this is “Yes”. It is essential to sign a formal contract with your interior designer. It protects the interest of both parties involved, you, the client or organization, and the interior designer or design company. Know more about the interior designer in UAE.

The client discusses the requirements and shares ideas with the interior designer. After several meetings and many recommendations later, it reaches a conclusive stage. At this stage, it is vital to chalk out clearly on the mutually agreed terms, commercials, timelines, processes, materials, implementation and what to expect, all in an agreement. The formal contract has to be signed by both parties as acceptance of all the mentioned clauses. A tight agreement ensures that either party can initiate legal proceedings if there is a breach of contract.

10 important clauses that have to be part of an interior design contract

1. Scope of Work
2. Final Designs (Technical)
3. Final renders of the 3D design
4. Material specifications 
5. Commercials (Complete breakup) 
6. Payment Terms
7. Approved Project Timeline
8. Subcontractors 
9. List of movable furniture
10. Cancellation and Refund

Scope of Work
This section is the most specific piece of information. It should cover the complete scope and deliverables that have been mutually agreed upon by both parties. The scope should also clearly mention any exclusions that are not part of the primary requirement. For instance, a client would want to sign a separate contract with other vendors for air conditioning, heating or MEP. 

Final, technical designs
In the UAE, it is mandatory to have the final drawings approved by the civil defence and government authorities. The blueprint becomes the final executable drawing and has to be followed strictly. In case of any alterations, they have to be re-submitted for new approvals before execution. A formal declaration that these drawings serve the purpose of interior design and build only and that, in no way, shall be used for any other function.

3D designs
A 3D design visual representation of the concept and is produced from technical design and approved specifications. A high-quality render provides an almost virtual tour of the entire space. It is a near-perfect representation of the final finished product. 

Material specifications
This clause should cover all the materials used for the interior design project, including detailed technical specification of the materials, their make, safety standards, warranties, colours, texture, and attributes like fire resistance and water resistance. Elements such as lighting, paints, wallpapers and other finishing are covered in this section.

The interior design contract details every cost component of the interior design project. Design fees, consultation, visits charges, workforce mobilization, tools and equipment hire transportation and shipment, insurance, and other lump-sum charges. Formats may vary. Usually, costs are itemized with per unit cost and total volume amounts in separate columns. A different annexure lists loose furniture and fittings from external vendors, other third parties, and subcontracting charges.

Payment Terms
This section in an interior design contract is usually a separate annexure after the commercial part. This clause specifies the terms and conditions of payment schedules negotiated and agreed upon by both parties. Any late payment fees or interests on outstanding payments on defaulting or delaying is also mentioned in this section.

Project Timeline
A project timeline in an interior design and build project is a visual chart of activities that gives an overview of the current or live status of the project. It helps project managers to organize their work by breaking down the project in a phased manner. It facilitates tracking the workflow and keeps deadlines in check. A milestone is for every task, sub-tasks, dependencies and other variables that can be monitored by the project team constantly. 
A Project timeline is created using an excel spreadsheet, or of late, in companies with complex projects, ready-made applications like and many others are also used. 

Sub-Contract works
Any subcontracting work is to be included in an interior design agreement. The subcontractor’s details, workforce, insurance details, and the nature of subcontract work has to be detailed in this section. For example, some interior design and build companies may sub-contract specific scopes like air conditioning, heating or MEP to a third party. 

Furniture and Fixtures List
A separate annexure that lists out the specifications make, quantity and photos of the furniture and fixtures, both movable and immovable, may be required for the project. Some companies may attach an entire catalogue from the vendor as a part of the agreement.

Cancellation and Refund policy
A cancellation and refund policy is fundamental in interior design projects. There could be various reasons that could lead to delay or cancellation of the project. A procedure in compliance with the law of the land specifying the cancellation and refund policy will help avoid disputes and also safeguard the interests of both parties,