Architecture / January 31, 2018 / .
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.
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 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.
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.