Unfortunately the journey of taking on a New Build, Extension or Property Development can quickly turn sour. The unexpected often happens, optimism turned to pessimism and budgets double. Managing Architects, Structural Engineers, Main and Sub contractors can be tricky to deal with as “but that isn’t my job” becomes a recurring phrase !
At CCM Construction Management we know there are often unexpected costs !
Five Common Unexpected Costs
- Relocation of Services – the location of incoming electrical supply and water meters can often prove problematic when you are not sure where services run in to a building and the site has not been surveyed. More importantly, do you need to move them for the build design. It deserves thought and an appropriate budget !
- Ground Work – have you had a survey of the soil conditions, considered near by trees and have all the necessary information from your Architect, Structural Engineer and Build Regulations control?
- Scope of work – it is more common than you may think, the Build begins and suddenly everything becomes someone else’s job and unfortunately the additional costs end up with you.
- Lack of clarity on who should do what when – sometimes if there is no project manager or it is difficult for you to manage the Build on a daily basis, there may be long periods of inactivity. The cost of a delay on the build often become clear later, when you have had to pay additional finance costs or other critical activities have been delayed.
- Snagging – at the end of the project, there is a process your builder or contractor may refer to as snagging. Unfortunately this often occurs once a Builder has finished and been paid, where unfinished items, problems with fixtures and fittings or worse, can become apparent. The cost to rectify these often falls back to the customer.
Luckily there are steps you can take to help avoid some of the stress and pit falls …
Engage with a Quantity Surveyor : Understanding the cost of your build, before any work actually begins, is one of the most important steps you can take. Engaging with a Quantity Surveyor is often perceived as being expensive or unnecessary, however the benefits in both cost and ongoing support through the Build have significant advantages. An upfront schedule off costs can allow for design changes, negotiation and contractual agreements to be put in place. If you are borrowing to finance your build, cost benchmarking against progress and forward communication to stake holders, particularly lenders is vital to avoid long sleepless nights. A neutral and independent party involved in your build can also provide support in dealing with third party contractors, providing room for fair negotiation and agreement.
Build in a Contingency : Always keep some money back for the unexpected, be it finding Roman remains, aliens landing in the garden or the more likely the price of materials going up due to political events. This is particularly true when dealing with an existing building that is being converted or extended, there may be specification upgrade opportunities or unexpected items like the dreaded Asbestos.
Get the right Contract in Place : A contract in writing can provide clarity from the out-set. JCT contracts (www.jctltd.co.uk) can set out the responsibilities of all parties within the construction process and their obligations, so it is clear as to what work needs to be done, who is doing it, when and how much for.
Draft a Programme of Works : A simple programme of works outlines what is happening when. Depending on the complexity of the project, this can simply be some fixed delivery dates for project mile stones all the way through to very complex critical path analysis. The important point is that these delivery points are communicated and agreed upon by the everyone involved in the Build. Depending on the complexity of your work, a professional project manager can help to co-ordinate all parties involved to ensure the project moves forwards and is delivered on time.
Agree the right Payment Terms : If you are working with a Builder or Contractor who wants large upfront payments, this puts unnecessary risk on you. Agree a sensibler method for stage payments or even better instruct a Quantity Surveyor to provide reporting, valuations and quality control.
Monitoring Work : So you may not understand all the processes and stages involved in your Build, but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure the quality and standard of the work. Firstly, if your project involves structural alterations, extending or new build work then it will almost certainly require Building Regulations Approval. There should be clear visibility of the involvement of Building Regulations through the Build. Ensure photographic evidence is taken as work progress and make sure Structural Engineers and Architects are satisfied the specification is being delivered.
CCM Construction Management work in Kent, London and the South East of England, to engage with clients providing a solution that best fits the needs of the project and customer requirements. The focus is on avoiding the pitfalls and stress by structuring the appropriate approach for the Build. This can simply be providing cost consulting in the capacity of a Quantity Surveyor, providing project management support or taking on a construction managed approach. This will take you from Design, Build and Delivery to provide you with a completed build executed professionally, on Cost, on Quality and on Time.