Architecture / May 26, 2018 / .
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.
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.
Clients who prioritise cost over speed or who require fixed price lump sums will generally experience longer development programmes, as designs must be substantially completed before tenders can be obtained. This process may take a considerable amount of time as careful thought is required to develop and refine the scheme design. The design, in turn, influences the contractors construction methods which determine length of time taken to complete the contract on site.
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.