Architecture / February 3, 2018 / Oriane.
All construction work is ultimately undertaken for the benefit of a client. Clients fund the construction process, whether they are individuals extending their homes, or a multi-national corporation developing a cutting-edge production facility, or a government department providing much needed social infrastructure. The importance of clients cannot be over-emphasized. Very often clients do not get the building they want, because they do not know how to ask for it and the architect or other consultants think the building should look a different way. Clients expect that the project will be a success and that the providers will deliver a competent service. They will be dissatisfied, if these expectations are not met.
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
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.
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.