Rebecca Edmunds from Saskia Kate Interiors shares her point of view
Walter Lilly’s dedicated facilities management (FM) service offering provides planned, proactive and preventative maintenance. Whilst FM is vitally important to our clients to ensure the smooth running of their homes and buildings, it is also a critical element for interior designers to consider during the initial design phase. Find out why in our latest interview. We’re chatting with Rebecca Edmunds from Saskia Kate Interiors and Georgina Peech, Business Development Manager within our Residence and Facilities Management division at Walter Lilly.
Rebecca, before we get started, tell us about Saskia Kate Interiors Ltd
Rebecca: Saskia Kate Interiors – based in Cobham, Surrey – is an award-winning residential design studio specialising in new builds and high-end refurbishments, working with private clients and developers across London and the Home Counties.
We put our clients at the heart of everything we do. We believe passionately that listening intently and investing time to thoroughly understand how they live and what’s important to them is fundamental to creating the best possible design. ￼
Georgina, tell us about the Residence and Facilities Management service at Walter Lilly
Walter Lilly is a premier provider of construction and maintenance services for luxurious residential homes, landmark and heritage buildings, and state-of-the-art science and higher education facilities across London and the South East.
Our dedicated facilities management service ensures the smooth running of homes and buildings for our clients. Within the private residence sector, we look after swimming pools to audio visual, landscaping to marble care, and joinery to security systems. It’s all within our FM service offering.
From an interior design perspective, why is it important for clients to have a facilities maintenance service in place at the start of a project, and on an ongoing basis?
Rebecca: As interior designers, we spend a great deal of time ensuring our schemes work for clients. Not just aesthetically but practically as well.
A typical project could include high-quality fixtures and bespoke fittings, complex lighting and mechanical elements, cinema rooms, wellness suites including steam rooms, saunas and pools, and heating and air-conditioning. These are all significant investments and must continue looking their best and working seamlessly long after initial building works have finished. A dedicated Facilities Management team will look after the property and maintenance, protecting the investment for years to come.
Our clients are also busy people. Supplying them with a single point of contact who can plan and schedule all maintenance required for the smooth running of their homes provides efficiency and peace of mind. Preventative care not only eliminates disruption but unnecessary costs.
At what point should a maintenance contractor start working with an interior designer?
Rebecca: As soon as possible! As with every other aspect of project management, planning ahead is essential. Working closely with an FM team during the design process allows us to plan and factor in requirements such as future access to all the hidden parts of a building that make it run. Additionally, the maintenance package can be costed upfront and included in the overall project budget.
Georgina: Adding a maintenance service to buildings at the end of a project costs the clients more money. It also takes twice as long to get building services up and running and can cause disruption if the house wasn’t initially constructed / refurbished with future FM in mind. At Walter Lilly we always recommend that maintenance is considered at the design phase. This enables access to be incorporated into the structural and interior design to create limited disruption to the homeowner when maintenance needs to be carried out.
Georgina, tell us about the consequences of not having a maintenance contractor in place?
Imagine a finished house with redesigned and decorated interiors. Behind the new, beautifully wallpapered walls, you’d find the wires and pipes needed for complex audio visual or lighting. Now imagine the lights or the home cinema failing. The last thing the client needs are holes in their new walls to try and fix the problem. If a facilities management team and an interior designer work together at the start of a project, then suitable access panels can be considered to ensure ongoing maintenance never causes disruption or ruins a beautifully decorated room.
An extremely important point to note is compliance to statutory requirements, specifically in relation to life safety systems and water quality control. Very often the properties we look after are a place of work for house staff, therefore it’s a legal obligation to monitor and maintain these systems correctly.
Rebecca, would you ever compromise your interior design to provide adequate access for maintenance?
That’s an interesting question!
Combining aesthetics and functionality can’t be underestimated. Both elements improve the experience of a room or a building, so we’re passionate about collaborating with a broader team of architects, contractors, and suppliers. When we work together, technical requirements can be planned and the best solutions developed without compromising design.
As big believers in Facilities Management for clients, do you have a preference about the types of FM solutions available?
Rebecca: Yes, definitely! A main contractor that can also provide FM once they’ve completed building work is a considerable benefit. They can take a more proactive approach because they have factored in future maintenance requirements within the build process. Considering the maintenance of a property upfront rather than retrospectively minimises potential disruption.
Georgina: I’m biased because of my work at Walter Lilly, but I agree with Rebecca. Main contractors meticulously design and install building services – anything from AV to pool systems– as part of the construction phase. Therefore, who better to service them once they are installed?
Georgina, what value add does Residence and Facilities Management from Walter Lilly provide to clients?
Our biggest value-adds are that we save our clients time and money and provide peace of mind that their properties are looked after. We take all the hassle out of ensuring systems and decorations are cared for and maintained. From the outset, our planned, proactive and preventative service ensures the smooth running of homes and buildings by identifying any potential issues before they occur. We are also on call, so we react quickly if any maintenance problems arise.
Finally, even if we win the FM contract for a building we’ve never refurbished or built, we’ve worked on hundreds of similar structures in London and the Home Counties that follow a familiar build pattern. We understand how they work and how they are constructed and modified. As Main Contractors, we are best placed to service all the moving parts on an ongoing basis.
(Saskia Kate Interiors) (Walter Lilly) (Saskia Kate Interiors)
To find out more about the work of Saskia Kate Interiors, or to arrange a complimentary consultation, contact Rebecca at email@example.com or on 07584244686.
To find out more about the Residence and Facilities Management service at Walter Lilly, get in touch with Georgina at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0208 730 6200.