The job has been sold, the contract signed, and the preconstruction meeting held. The clients are excited to get started — but they can't remember some of their selections, or some things are on allowance, or some items are wrong because a designer used examples as place holders. Now's the time for a product selection walkthrough, says Jonas Carnemark, who uses the process in his Bethesda, Md., company, Carnemark Systems + Design.

The walkthrough is a chance for production to confirm selections and reinforce its role in managing the construction process, says Carnemark.

“For some clients this meeting reinforces the company's attention to detail, and for others, it allows them to realize what choices may have come up as either inaccurate or uncommitted to.”

Production runs the walkthrough meeting, which is held when framing begins, and includes the project lead, the designer, and the owners. Clients review selections using lists, pictures, cut sheets, or samples.

Carnemark's company now has a showroom but he says that before, they would capture color images off the Web, print them on glossy paper, and provide a “selection manual” for the client. The meeting is also a chance for the clients to bond with production.

He cautions, though, that with “indecisive clients you have to be careful that you're not opening a can of worms and letting them re-pick everything.”

Since instituting the system a year ago, Carnemark says he has noticed a difference. “Not only has this helped production hold sales and design accountable for the sales package, but it's drastically reduced the need for untimely and, typically, non-profitable change orders.”