Architecture / February 7, 2018 / .
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.
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.
A project may be completed on time and within budget, but unless it achieves the specified quality or performance criteria it will be considered to be a disappointment or even an outright failure. High profile building failures such as Priory Hall only serve to strengthen the public concern expressed in the Egan Reports findings that 30% of buildings fail to meet the expectations of their owners. Such failures may be prohibitively expensive to rectify, dangerous and can ruin reputations overnight.
The site topography i.e. the natural site features, ground conditions and obstructions, existing and adjoining building, and underground and over-ground services all impact on how the building is designed and subsequently constructed. The nature of each site must be individually checked to establish potential problems. Greenfield developments cost less than brownfield sites which may incur significant demolition, site clearance and remediation costs. Heavily sloped sites require extensive stepping or cut and fill operations and such sites may be dangerous and adversely affect the working conditions and productivity of operatives and plant output. Sites with poor loadbearing capacity will require more expensive foundations while exposed or waterlogged sites will also reduce overall productivity. The cost of dealing with unforeseen ground conditions, archaeological finds and encountering uncharted buried services may be substantial and will be borne by either the client or contractor, depending on the form of contract employed.