Architecture / June 25, 2018 / .
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.
The quality of the building will express the clients ambitions for a prestigious development. This may range from a top quality building with minimal maintenance requirements where all matters relating to the design are controlled by the design team to developments such as retail or industrial process where the detailed design is not critical and can be undertaken by the contractor. It may be essential to use high quality materials in conservation projects or where planning conditions have been imposed. High standards of craftsmanship will also be required on alterations and extensions to listed or historic buildings.
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.
Procurement refers to the process of obtaining goods and services from another for some consideration. They describe the process as being simple in theory – balancing quality, time and cost priorities, but complicated in practice by legislation, the need to achieve value for money, demonstrate accountability and coordinate consultant and contractual roles and obligations to achieve a satisfactory outcome. The procurement strategy identifies how the project is structured and establishes where responsibility for design is to be placed, how the work is to be co-ordinated, and on what price basis the contract is to be awarded. The procurement strategy also directly affects the level of risk borne by the contractor and leads to choices regarding the conditions under which the work will be executed. These risks must be appraised and managed by the contractor and has a direct impact on the price tendered by the Contractor