Assessing Needs

A bathroom is a very personal and private space. People use the space in different ways and have different ideas about function, mood, and ambience. To design a bathroom, your challenge will be to move past your own assumptions and learn about your clients’ personal preferences.

This chapter focuses on assessing the needs of your client in preparation for developing a design. A needs assessment is the critical first step in the design process. Without knowing what your cli­ent wants and needs, you cannot know how to design the space.

Needs assessment includes both your client and their house. It involves gathering information about your client and their use of the bathroom, as well as inspecting and measuring the jobsite.

Learning Objective 1: identify and list the needs of a client in preparation for the development of a design plan for a bathroom.

Learning Objective 2: Describe the purpose and elements of a design program,

THE DESIGN PROCESS

The design process is a multistage process in which the designer moves from an idea to a com­pleted product. As part of the design process, the designer can gather and organize information, develop visual diagrams and presentations, refine ideas and ensure accuracy, and manage the in­stallation. In Chapter 10, "Putting It All Together," the design process is discussed in detail and an example of a formal design process is presented. To quote Chapter 10, the design process "involves a lot of going back and forth, checking and rechecking. A. . . design involves a dose of inspiration, a spark of creativity, but mostly a lot of hard work."

A necessary part of the design process is to gather information about your client and the space you will design. This information needs to be organized in a way that is useful to you throughout the design process. You will refer to this information as you develop your design, as you check the details, and as your project is constructed. This organized and documented information is the design program. The design program is both your guide through the design process and the inspi­ration to your creativity.

For a designer to complete the design process with a successful product and a satisfied client, the design programming stage is critical. The design program is built on accurate and complete
information about the client, their needs and wants, and the space to be designed. This chapter, on needs assessment, is planned to facilitate design programming and lead to a successful design process.