Architecture / June 25, 2018 / .
The contractor is selected on the basis of competitive tendering on most building contracts. The price which the contractor quotes for the job is heavily influenced by both the amount and intensity of the competition expected. In an open tendering arrangement the level of the competition is at its most intense and contractors must submit highly competitive bids to have any chance of winning the contract. This usually secures a rock bottom price. With selective tendering a limited number of competent contractors are invited to tender for the job, this limited competition arrangement results in a keen price being obtained. In the case of a negotiated tender there is no explicit competition and the parties seek to agree a fair price for the work, implicit competition exists, however, as the employer can break off negotiations. If there is no competition the contractor can, in fact, name his price. The tendering arrangement is, therefore, one of the most cost significant decisions a client will make in the course of a building contract.
The contract documents set out what work must be done, and how, and under what conditions it is to be done. They identify the contractors obligations and liabilities and form the contractual agreement to do the work for the stated price or at the agreed rates. Many if not most financial problems in building originate in inadequate or unclear tender and contract documents, often culminating in disputes between the client and the contractor over what is included in the price for the work.
The notion of quality is multidimensional and includes aspects which may be appraised subjectively. The Latham Report identified a number of quality aspects which clients may seek in a satisfactory construction project: pleasing to look at; free from defects on completion; fit for the purpose; supported by worthwhile guarantees; satisfactory durability and customer delight. Several of these aspects are inherent in the design of the project, while others relate to how successfully the contractor constructs that design on site. The designers will aim to produce an effective and attractive spatial and structural solution to the clients brief. This should provide sufficient, well planned accommodation, using appropriate materials, components, equipment, fittings and furnishings to enable the building to perform effectively and efficiently. Ideally it should generate a sense of delight amongst it users and the public at large.
Local contractors are usually at an advantage when competing for work. Contractors who have the capacity to construct work from within their own organisation should, in theory at least, be more competitive than those who sub-contract large proportions of the work. Current site management practice however tends to favour the widespread use of subcontractors. Nevertheless, the ability to attract labour and to source materials in the locality is an important factor in ensuring that unnecessary travelling and transport costs are not incurred in carrying out the work. Seeley notes that contractors will have to consider whether management, labour and plant resource requirements can be met from within the contractors own organisation or whether it will be necessary to recruit specifically for the project. The contractor will also have to consider what demands the proposed project would put on own plant, scaffolding and equipment.