Tuesday, 17 September 2019 17:06   |   Read 241 times

A Construction Project is an expensive endeavour with many unknowns and variables along the way. The Design process itself can take up a large portion of overall budget so getting all the way through only to learn it was all for nothing and your project is over budget can be devastating. This requires rework to the design, further approvals from council and engineers and other consultants starting over completely to suit new design. This activity in itself is extremely wasteful and further erodes the portion of budget that actually gets spent on the house itself during construction phase. 

Why would someone wait this far into to project lifecycle before consulting budget to ensure they are on the right track during design and confidently moving in a direction towards a project that meets the brief but is also something they can afford to build. 

This method of project delivery, commonly referred to as the traditional method is still the most widely adopted strategy used today in Sydney. A design team takes on the project and develops a design in response to a client’s brief and then moulds it in consultation with town planners to ensure it is something that can be supported by council before submitting a Development Application (DA). After the consent is received, structural engineers are engaged to develop a structural design as well as private certifier to organise the remaining documents required for a Construction Certificate (CC), which gives authority to start construction. This is traditionally when a tender is prepared to send out to multiple builders to price the construction. Some designers will ask for quick price checks or reports based on commercial rates or square metre rates, which have little relevance to actual cost of construction for a custom building project. 

This format leads to projects getting approved that never actually get built or best-case scenario, an extended design phase to scale the plans back after learning none of the tenders are affordable. 

To avoid this incredible waste of resources a builder needs to be engaged at the beginning of the project lifecycle, at the beginning of the design phase. There are still options in the delivery methods with this approach: 

1) Engage with a Design and Construct company that can manage the design phase properly making the budget a very important part of the brief and controlling the design development to ensure the budget can be met when approvals are received. 

2) Engage with a pure design firm and use a builder as a consultant during design phase to do periodic cost analyses to ensure design is moving within the budget. It is imperative this is a full cost analysis from a builder that would actually take on the construction of the project not just a quick check from an estimator. You get what you pay for and getting these numbers wrong will introduce a large amount of risk to the project overall.