Architecture / June 17, 2018 / .
The choice of the material, and hence the cost, may be influenced by factors other than aesthetic qualities. For example fast-track construction projects may use a steel frame in preference to an in-situ or precast concrete frame in order to reduce overall programme durations. Although the concrete option may be cheaper, the shorter programme achieved by using steel may offset this initial cost advantage. Technical decisions such as these are made for each building element and these have a direct bearing on the eventual cost. Where considerable repetition can be achieved it may prove economical to prefabricate certain structural elements or to standardise various components and fittings.
The clients attitude towards initial versus the whole life cost of the building can significantly influence the specification. Buildings incur costs over their life time; these include initial capital costs, operating costs, maintenance, disposal and finance costs. The key decision is whether to spend more money initially on better alternatives in order to save money in maintaining and operating the facility
A project may be completed on time and within budget, but unless it achieves the specified quality or performance criteria it will be considered to be a disappointment or even an outright failure. High profile building failures such as Priory Hall only serve to strengthen the public concern expressed in the Egan Reports findings that 30% of buildings fail to meet the expectations of their owners. Such failures may be prohibitively expensive to rectify, dangerous and can ruin reputations overnight.
The relationship of quality to cost is often expressed in the saying that you get what you pay for. Cost is a critical factor in most building projects and some clients will seek a low price. Low price and maximum price competition, however, often have negative impacts on quality standards and achieving best value for money overall. In the current economic climate below cost tendering has heightened the risk of contractor insolvency and it may be difficult and expensive to obtain protection from this risk. Unrealistic and inadequate budgets often lead to projects becoming finance driven where cheaper options are preferred to better or more sustainable alternatives. Certain clients may have fixed budgets which may not be exceeded in any circumstances. In such circumstances the client will expect the quantity surveyor to maintain rigorous cost control during the project in order to deliver the project within budget. Designing to achieve such cost limits might curtail the introduction of beneficial features and or variations which may result in excessive running and maintenance costs later on.