Steve has been involved with the building industry for over 35 years. We have compiled a list of the questions he gets asked most often by clients and prospects. These questions come from both returning clients and clients who are embarking on their first development project.
Prior to commencement your construction partner will request a planning meeting. This should generally be a reinforcement of the outcome of the pre-contract meeting and a validation of the contract or form of acceptance document. The Project Manager will also be present, and depending on the level of service you contracted from your Architect, he may also be in attendance.
The Project Manager will lead the meeting and outline the project timeline. He will highlight the risks to the project (the ever-present building control, and depending in the season and your works, the weather), contingencies and mitigation, roles and responsibilities, and the escalation process in relation to issues or constraints that may appear within the project. This meeting can also be used to firm up decision dates where further input may be needed. At the end of this meeting everyone round the table will be aware of what is happening, when it will be happening, how the acceptance schedule will run, and when the various payments for work completed will be due. This is particularly useful as many firms charge for work completed within the period, and as such some periods will be more expensive than others.
During the process of the build, your construction partner should follow the detail of the drawings and any specification precisely. On the basis that there are no changes needed or required by you then the original quoted sum will remain fixed. This is where fully specified construction drawings are particularly useful as absolutely nothing is left to chance.
If however something unforeseen occurs, the building control officer requires a change, or you request a change or addition, then it is likely that additional costs could be incurred. In all cases if there are any changes to the drawing, from any source, the builder should be expected to detail what the change is and the cost and time impact. Your construction partner will require that you respond in writing accepting or declining this change. Most disputes arise from changes or variations of this kind, and an unknown or unforeseen additional costs being presented on an invoice can come as a shock.
All charges for work carried out should be in arrears. Never pay up-front for any work unless this is set-out in the contract prior to commencement and agreeable to both parties. Most builders will value the work they have done every few weeks and request payment of this sum only. Any additional costs should also be included within in these valuations allowing you to keep track of the overall budget.