Collaboration with costing or botched design?

I have been posting lately on a business-to-business forum regarding the relative roles of different professionals in the construction industry and how they work together to create a team. In the commercial construction field and in some well-organised domestic self build projects this is the design team. It includes the client, the architect, the project manager, the engineer and from time to time any other specialist designers such as swimming pools, M&E etc. I have been expounding the view that each of these individuals should concentrate on their role yet collaborate in costing the design. My contention is that architects for instance are artistic innovators and nothing should divert their attention from that role.

Clients often ask architects to cost their designs…. They are the last people who should carry out this task. How can they be expected to allow their artistically tuned minds to produce the fantastic designs that we demand of them, when they have the nagging doubt of budget costs added to the equation. If they were to collaborate with an estimating professional, who was carrying out a budget process  they could allow that individual to cost their design as it progresses. This would free them to think in aesthetic terms and enable them to step away from those standard living boxes that don’t really require their talents. The estimator would apply any costing issues and assist the architect in finding a way to reduce any financial impact that a particular design element may incur.

The added benefit of this system is that it can be applied to any of the disciplines. As with the architect, if the engineer was to work in collaboration with an estimating professional their designs would be tested for cost effectiveness as they develop and then any cost driven changes could be made that wouldn’t necessarily impact on the design itself. Including the estimating professional in any of the additional inputs to the design team then becomes a natural progression with the client’s budget as the basis for the estimator’s assessments.

Again a fairly normal process in commercial construction, it is sadly missing from the domestic self build sector and written off as an unnecessary expense. The result…a building with a compromised design, which then leads to botched up design elements as contractors attempt to deliver what the architect has drawn with a budget not fit for purpose.

How many times have the cost of the foundations for instance negated the inclusion of desired elements or fittings and all because it was not costed as it was developed? An engineer will develop a foundation to fit the purpose of the project, they will not necessarily include costing that design within their calculations; this is not their function. An estimating professional with some practical background, working in collaboration, may be able to envisage a different approach, which might just reduce the cost without compromising the structure.

It therefore becomes obvious that not including an estimator in the design team can end up costing the client, not only more money, but a compromised and botched design.

Project Management

What is this and why should we use it for our building project?
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What should we look for?
Can we afford to do this?
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Finding out what it should all cost.
Keeping those costs under control.
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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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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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