Architecture / May 26, 2018 / .
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.
The geometry of a building has a major impact on costs. Building morphology is concerned with the size, shape and complexity of the building. This section provides a very brief outline of the principle morphological factors which influence the cost of building work. The reader is referred to the numerous publications which examine this topic in greater detail. The main design factors which impact on cost are: plan shape, size of building, wall to floor ratio degree of circulation space, storey heights total height of the building grouping of buildings.
In general it can be said that larger buildings with simple, rectangular, regular floor plans and elevations will be less expensive per sq.m. of floor area than smaller, complex shaped, curved or angular buildings. Economies of scale apportion fixed overheads to a larger extent of productive space. Simple setting out and buildable solutions encourage greater plant use and generate higher productivity and less waste. Complex layouts and details are slower to assemble and may involve a number of trades with a consequent greater risk of mistakes and defects. The degree of compartmentation and repetition will also affect the overall cost of the work. New building work is considerably cheaper than work of a repairing nature or work in existing buildings. Single storey structures tend to be more costly than buildings up to three storeys high, beyond which point they become progressively more expensive.
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.