Architecture / June 14, 2018 / .
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.
The materials specified and the proposed construction details will have an important bearing on the cost of the project. The relationship of quality to cost has been commented on above, and buildings which incorporate high quality and innovative features are invariably more expensive than those which are purely functional. The choice depends on what the client is willing to pay. The materials, nevertheless, should be appropriate for their use; over-specification is wasteful.
This is where a client appoints consultants to produce the design, select the contractor and supervise the work through to completion. The contractor is usually selected on some basis of competition. The traditional procurement route prioritises quality aspects of the project and is also effective in delivering economic designs on most projects. The chief drawback of the approach is the extended project duration due to the need to complete the design prior to tender.
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.