Architecture / June 17, 2018 / .
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.
The issue of the cost of construction work is one that is rarely far from the minds of construction clients, design teams, constructors and, of course, quantity surveyors. The cost of constructing a building project is a primary concern for the vast majority of construction clients. Indeed one of the most common initial questions a client has is. What is it going to cost me? often followed closely by. can we do it any cheaper? Providing answers to such questions is a key objective of quantity surveyors, whose task it is to predict the likely cost of building work and to manage the evolving project design to ensure that the clients approved budget is not exceeded. This is a challenging task, which frequently involves one-off, unique, purpose made buildings, and the QS typically operates within a design team brought together specifically for that particular project.
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.
This is where the contractor provides the design and construction under one contract. Turnkey projects and many public private partnership developments are examples of this approach. Design and build offers the client competitively priced projects completed within rapid time frames by enabling the contractor to value manage the employers requirements and overlap design and construction operations. It is not successful where the employers requirements are poorly defined and the approach tends to produce functional architecture in terms of appearance.