Building costs lower? or actually higher?

As the recession bites deeper into our pockets and dreams of building your own home are more carefully considered, news that contractors are prepared to work for less is an appealing thought. But beware…nobody works for nothing! If contractors find themselves running out of profits on a job they will begin to look for ways of cutting corners. The easiest way is by using cheaper labour to carry out what are fairly basic tasks for tradesmen but can be more difficult for a labourer to grasp. This can result in work being covered up that may not be to an accepted standard.

The most prevalent use of this system is in the groundwork and foundation phase, which is conversely the last place that any corners should be cut. Mistakes made at this point could be catastrophic later and involve at best months of litigation to try to get the faults corrected when they show themselves. This is normally long after the groundworks team have left site and been paid the majority of their money. It is no good protesting that the Building Control Officer should inspect all work and so that must mean it’s OK. The BI can only see so much and even if very experienced, a clever ground worker can hide things from their eyes that even they cannot spot. Also often, although the BI inspects the start of any work, he does not stay for the duration. The contractor’s motive is profit: and the fact that you may suffer problems with your building later is of very little consequence to them.  

The cost of a particular piece of work is fairly fixed. The cost of materials can be negotiated by about 10% either way, dependent on quantity, how good you are at bartering and the quality of the materials. Likewise, the cost of labour is commensurate with the quality of the work. So cheap inferior materials and cheap inferior labour will give you a cheap and inferior building…there is no escape from that equation.

There are many pricing manuals out there used by estimators that dictate the unit rates of any particular job of work, that is, how many hours it takes to carry out. The unit rates are fairly fixed so the only change to be made is the rate of pay. It is usual for the best tradesmen to charge the highest rates, so if you want the best you will have to pay for them. You will only be able to choose your workforce however if you are employing tradesmen directly. If you use a contractor, you will have to accept the workforce provided by them.

The best way to resolve all of these issues is to employ someone who works directly for you to oversee everything. From the feasibility of your original concept to formulating a budget and the tender process to create your build team and on through the build itself, watching over all of the work to maintain quality and cost effectiveness. You can now employ the services of a professional construction project manager (CPM) who will deliver a package to suit the needs of your project and advise you on all aspects of your build. This has got to be a better way to build.

Project Management

What is this and why should we use it for our building project?
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Feasibility

What should we look for?
Can we afford to do this?
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Budgeting

Finding out what it should all cost.
Keeping those costs under control.
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Programming

How it can really help a project.
How to do it properly.
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Tender Process

Making sure the build team is properly chosen and prepared.
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Procurement

Finding the best value materials.
Making sure they stay that way.
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Site Management

Working with the whole team,
helping everyone to get it right.
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CDM 2015 Regulations

Carrying out the Principle Contractor Role For CDM 2015 Regulations
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