Archive for April, 2012

Extensions and alterations can be costly excursions

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Even small extensions can benefit from expert supervision and cost control

Two sad cases have recently highlighted the need for tight cost control and expert supervision of even straightforward building projects.

Both cases were similar in that they were extensions and alterations to existing houses, but they were different too.

One client had done everything right; he engaged a professional to design and supervise the project but had been badly let down. The other had gone it alone and, armed with only some drawings, had obtained quotes and appointed a builder.

Both jobs went wildly over budget resulting in serious financial problems and months of stress and heartache.

What had started as a dream had turned into a nightmare!

Both projects had three things in common:
i) poor cost control
ii) poor supervision, and
iii) inability to control the contractor

Cost control starts at the pre-tender stage. To get a meaningful quote the design, specification and scope of the project need to be determined in detail. If there are gaps in these there will be gaps in the price.
And without a fixed starting price you have no hope of knowing what the final cost will be.

Drawings alone rarely tell the full story; designers skirt round the difficult bits with phrases like ‘to be agreed’ or ‘to be approved’. Seldom are things like doors, door handles, tiling, kitchens and bathrooms ever selected. A QS will fill these gaps and provide a Schedule of Work setting-out everything the contractor should price.

Building is not an exact science. There will always be unknowns and changes of mind, especially in alteration schemes where preliminary investigations are limited; all the more reason for tight cost control.

Without tight control the contractor can proceed unchecked; he can take short cuts, vary the specification and costs can escalate.

When it comes to paying him:
– How much and when should you pay?
– Could you value the work done?
– Do you pay what he asks when he asks?
– What does the contract say?
– Have you even got a contract?

Even small construction projects can be a minefield for the unwary.

An experienced QS will:
• Help fix a budget for your scheme
• Help you choose a contractor
• Ensure watertight tenders
• Help you keep costs within your budget
• Ensure compliance with specification
• Protect your position

Before you get in your mess call us on 01332 603000.