How to communicate with trades people

How to communicate with trades people

During the last couple of weeks the tiler was onsite on one of my projects in Moonee Ponds. The builder had briefed him based on the information I gave the builder. But there was still a question of grout colour. Which I fully expected as didn’t specify the grout colour. As, I wanted to see the grout colour options in person. A minor mistake was make in the shower niche which made me reflect on how to communicate with tradespeople.

Specification List

You can find out more about what a interior design specification list here, but essentially it’s a list. A list of all the items, fittings, finishes, and fixtures selected for the project. This list contains information such as the name of the item, supplier, dimensions, costs, quantity, and price.

Sometimes the interior design specifications list includes visuals of the item but at the very least it includes a link to the item so that both the client and trades person or builder can view and order the piece more easily.

A specification list is a key way to communicate with trades people. A builder may laminate this, along with the floor plan and keep these documents onsite as a point of reference for the project for all tradies coming and going.

The specification list is supplied to the builder after it is confirmed and approved by the client.


Accompanying the interior design specification list is a moodboard. This is a visual representation of the items on the specification list and provides context. The moodboard is also useful to show the tradesperson the end result or the interior style goal and aesthetic vision.

Knowing the interior style goal from the outset of any project is an important part of the interior design process and forms the design strategy. But for a trades person knowing the interior style goal helps with the brief to them about their component of the project.


Images in the form of 3D renders or inspo pics of spaces with the item you like or the look you’re trying to achieve is also helpful to communication with trades people.

A trades person has worked on a lot of projects, and they know there is more than one that something can get done.

A picture helps to eliminate any assumptions about the work and what you what. However, it’s important to note that sometimes for technical reasons a piece may not be able to be installed or completed to your original idea but there will always be a suitable alternative option to consider that will not compromise the outcome.

Being there

There is no substitute in being onsite to communicate with trades people. For the project I mentioned above I told the builder how I wanted the tiles in the shower niche. And the builder told the tiler but there was a miscommunication, which happens.

But by being there I was able to rectify the situation, and personally explain to the tiler what I wanted and why.

Communication is key in any project and while all the tools mentioned above are helpful to communicate with trades people, mistakes will happen. So, it’s important to embark on a home renovation project with a solutions mindset. Knowing that if something goes wrong it will be fixed and will always look good.

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