Architecture / June 17, 2018 / .
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.
It is clear that the purpose of a building will have a major bearing on its cost. Housing has a very different cost range to apartments and commercial development. Likewish the cost of providing public amenities such as conference centres, theatres and sports stadia cannot be directly related to the provision of public infrastructure such as hospitals or schools. The cost of each building must be related to its individual design, which may be benchmarked against similar national and international projects.
The payment arrangements adopted on a contract directly affects the level of risk borne by the contractor. Where the contract is let on the basis of a drawings and specification lump sum the contractor assumes the risk for both the quantity and pricing. In lump sum contacts based on bills of quantities and remeasurement contracts the contractor assumes the risk for the pricing only. With reimbursement contracts the client assumes the risk for the quantity and pricing. The payment arrangement, therefore, directly motivates the contractors efforts to carry out the work in an efficient and economic manner. This in turn has a major impact on the final price paid by the client.
Many construction projects involve the design and construction of a building which is tailored to meet the clients specific requirements. No two construction projects are identical - there is no such thing as the average building project. The cost of the building will depend on its particular characteristics and these are largely determined by the architect. The design options are almost limitless and the resulting costs can be difficult to forecast reliably in many cases. On the other hand, certain types of buildings such as schools have well established cost histories and are usually subject to a cost limit.