Nicky Bryden, Business Development Director at project management consultancy CLPM, has seen all manner of building problems. In her latest blog, Nicky offers some sage advice for those who are about to embark on a new building project.
Using one main builder who employs and manages all of the subcontractors can make the build process simpler and allows you and your designer to concentrate on the design side of the building project.
Some builders offer a “design and build” system. This can be a quick and cost effective solution and again, means you don’t have to engage with a large number of different parties.
A good builder will have a team of specialist trades people who have frequently worked together. This should mean swift progression through the job and no personality conflicts to deal with.
When deciding whether to have your builder manage your building project you need to ask yourself the following questions:-
• Do they have the technical and organisational skills to realise your designs and manage a complex building project?
• How much time do they really have? Are they juggling lots of other projects? Do you trust them to build with your best interests at heart?
You are very dependent upon the builder being a competent manager of his time, your money and his staff. Check they have worked on projects of your size and complexity in the past. Get references and talk face to face with previous clients and see their work at first hand.
Protecting your interests
The builder is not independent of the process – their job is to build in the most time and cost effective manner for their firm. At different stages of the build you will be asked to make technical decisions – you might be offered option A or option B. However, there might also be options C, D and E available. If you do not have sufficient technical knowledge about the build process, you will not know to ask the right questions to get the information you need.
Keeping the builder motivated for the final phase and finishing of the job can be a challenge. Hopefully you will have been sensible enough to retain a sufficiently high percentage of the price to make him keep turning up to site and return at the end of the defects period to do the snagging.
Should the relationship begin to deteriorate, you may find yourself in a desperately difficult and stressful situation. If things get so bad that you ask the builder to leave or he walks off of the job, finding someone willing to take over that work may be very challenging. There are complex issues about who will be legally responsible for which elements of the work should the work prove to be substandard in the future.
If you’re thinking about your builder managing the project, you might want to consider paying a Quantity Surveying practice to review the quotation you’ve been given. Make no mistake, you will be paying for your builder to manage the work, even if his ‘fee’ isn’t obvious! A QS practice should be able to spot and highlight where he’s earning his money on your job.
If you are in need of advice for your project. You can book a free consultation with James Bryden, founder of ClearPlan at Ask an Expert sponsored by Express bi-folding doors. Click here to visit Ask an Expert