Architecture / February 7, 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 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 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.
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.