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Any construction job involves balancing client expectations with compliance and realistic outcomes. As a builder or architect designing or installing windows and doors in a new build, you may find that sometimes your client wants an outcome that simply isn't achievable.

So how can builders and architects manage client expectations, and still comply with the Building Code and New Zealand industry standards for windows and doors? We've put together some helpful tips.

1. Have an open discussion

Builders installing windows or doors should sit down for an open conversation with the client to set expectations from the get-go.

It's important to discuss your client's expectations and your capabilities with them before beginning work. 

"Clients want bigger and better. And that's usually coupled with the fact that they want minimal aluminium lines, which is not always achievable," says Altus Window Systems Architectural Representative Haydon Rogers.

Instead of just telling them that what they want isn't possible, offer them alternative solutions and explain clearly why certain limitations exist (for instance, because the build won't comply with the Building Code if you install a certain product). 

2. Provide visuals

It's important for your client to see what the final product will look like once it's installed.

Another helpful strategy is to get hands-on with your client by providing visuals and real-life models. 

"Easy access sizing charts are basically simple tables which show you what the maximum range is that you can go to with different window suites - the height and width and different configurations," Haydon Rogers points out. 

"Samples are a good way to highlight the difference between the suites. Our fabricators have showrooms, so clients can see the products in use, and we have photos on the website that clients can look at to see how it can look once the job's been delivered. These tools help manage client perceptions."

3. Draw up a warranty

You could be fined $500 for not providing a written contract, and homeowners can take legal action for up to 10 years if a warranty is not met. This is why it's crucial to draw up the proper documents. 

Homeowners can take legal action for up to 10 years if a warranty is not met.

This is a standard process for most commercial builds in New Zealand, but sometimes special warranties will be required, such as for powder coating finishing.

Producer Statements are also "a form of proof from our side that we've done our due diligence with regards to the architectural plans and we're confirming that what we think is going to work will work," Rogers says.

At Fletcher Window and Door Systems, compliance issues are worked out in advance with our stringent processes and documentation. For more information about warranty and compliance, access our range of documents on our website.