I've had experience on both sides of this.
In my case, the client was developing an engineering product. The thought process was in terms of reusable components. If you look at popular CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation, you'll see a set of UI components with a consistent theme. The requests from the client were in terms of "can you make us a generic table?" They were asking for their own theme for a framework. Their development process was iterative, which meant all of the requirements were not available at the start. They knew many pages would have tables, but did not know of what the system would generate for data that goes into the tables.
The designers wanted to know the width and height of the table, how many columns, and the longest length of characters available in each column. They were looking for constraints to ensure the integrity of the design. They wanted to avoid things like this. This is where the contention can happen, since these answers would be uncovered later in the development process. However, if design waits until the end it can become an afterthought.
I see this more prominent in product design where software engineers are looking for reusable components and designers are looking for consistency despite uncertainty. I've had success in using the iterative process and refining the design continuously as more information becomes available. Not knowing your client or project, my recommendation is to consider making the case for what information you need to meet the design goals so as more information becomes available the design can be refined and matured.