Working efficiency in the South West?

When I first started working in the South West, it was straight after managing a project in Essex. My first South West project was in Bristol. A lovely site, a beautifully designed home and with a fair amount of time to organise the work and carry out the tender process properly. I duly carried out the budget formulation and costed the works using universally accepted unit rates from a reputable estimating manual. Within a short period of beginning the build, I was running into difficulty with attaining the target dates I had set myself and I began to investigate the problem, just in case I had made an error somewhere. I had a gut feeling about what was happening, but still to be sure, I looked deeply into my figures.

Within my estimating software, which I developed myself, there is provision for a comparison between labour and material costs. These had been at about 40% labour and 60% materials prior to this project. In Bristol that figure had changed to 50/50 and I could not find any arithmetical reason for this, after all, I had used the same system before and by chance, most of the materials had come from the same supplier so I was able to compare those. The truth was that the labour force in the South West was working appreciatively slower than the people in Essex. Now I try not to succumb to stereotypes as I have been a victim of that myself in the past, but even so, we were talking about a possible significant increase to the cost factor of a new build house.

After several other projects in the South West, I became wise to the difference and was able to rework the schedules to overcome this anomaly. Basically, the South West workforce gets a lower rate of pay than their Eastern cousins to make up the difference.  However, people moving to this lovely area from the cities, whatever the local feelings about that are, deserve to be able to have their homes built without a sizeable time overrun from what can only be described as the laid-back attitude of the indigenous labour force. In addition, that same workforce could be receiving substantially larger paydays.

Back in Bristol, with the work rate during the day noticably slower than almost anywhere else in the country, I attempted to push things along by advocating working longer hours and possibly weekends to catch up what was a perfectly reasonable programme…. I might as well have been suggesting the removal of certain body parts.  My proposal did not go down well; and eventually I had to have a conversation with my client, who was a West Country man himself, regarding what was going to be a sizeable time overrun. “Oh don’t you worry about that?” he said, “It’s always like that down here.  We have a more measured outlook on life”!


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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