How To

Avoiding The Common Pitfalls In Construction Project Management

Bhangals Construction Consultants has worked on £250m worth of construction projects and completed £900m worth of estimates.

We have more than 2,000 clients and have worked with hundreds of property investors and developers on projects ranging from small residential refurbishments to large commercial new builds.

We produce budget cost plans, cost plans, schedules of works, bills of quantities, programmes of works, contracts, valuations and final accounts and undertake site visits.

We have experience in project costing and producing tender packages and on average we save our clients 27% on the build cost of their projects through our proven tender processes.

Time and time again we see homeowners and professional builders making choices which lead to their budgets spiralling and their timeframes slipping. It’s frustrating to see this happening when, with the right preparations, these problems can often be avoided.

What happens when things go wrong

Recently, we had a client who had a cost plan done and then decided to go out to tender himself. Halfway through the project he started getting variations and he didn’t have the necessary expertise to negotiate these variations himself. His project came in 38% over budget.

When it came to the final account he asked us to undertake the negotiations for him. Bringing us in at the end, ended up costing him more because of the laborious negotiations we had to go through with the contractor.

We managed to resolve all the issues and negotiate a much better deal and saved him a huge amount of time, money and stress. He told us he wished he had just used us from the start. If he had used us from the beginning, he would have saved himself a lot of work.

Budget cost plans

One of the steps to take to avoid such pitfalls in your project is to commission a budget cost plan. This is an initial review of your plans. Firms like ours will benchmark your costs against similar projects in your area. We’ll look at everything from the foundations through to finishes.

Clients often come to us later in the tender process when their projects are over budget and they’ve spent thousands of pounds on other project consultants. For a small initial investment we can give you the cost feedback you need to ensure the figures work.

Tender analysis

We’re often asked by clients why they should commission a tender analysis. Experienced teams, like ours, know which quotes are high, which are low and what to look out for.

A detailed tender analysis report helps us compare contractors and enables us to ask the relevant questions. We will find out what is high, what is low and what is excluded.

Most people think you just need to find out what’s high but it tends to be the things that are low that cause problems during the construction process.

The reason for doing the tender analysis is it will eliminate future problems. The report highlights concerns and questions that we need to raise with the builders before work begins. It leads to a much smoother build process and helps us to save you time and money.

Do you want cheap or best value?

Another important point for clients to consider is whether they want cheap or best value? We recently had a client who wanted the cheapest quote possible for their new build project. The thing to remember here is cheap isn’t always best.

You might get a few tendering contractors and find one of them is significantly cheaper than the rest. However, half the things required for the job may be missing from their tender.

If you concentrate solely on the bottom line it would appear this contractor is the cheapest but realistically they won’t end up being the cheapest in the long run. Your other contractors might have come in with higher quotes but they may have priced everything and are offering you better value for money.

If you go for the cheapest contractor by the time you’ve finished the project it may actually be more expensive than some of the other contractors that tendered.

It’s so important to have a good tendering process and a good schedule of works so you can make sure everyone is pricing the project correctly and that you have all the relevant details.

Then it’s really important to have a good tender analysis process so you’re analysing all the tenders and you can see what’s assumed, what’s excluded and what you’re getting for your money.

Sometimes, if you go for the cheapest quote you can end up doing the works twice or people end up walking away because there’s just not enough money in the job .

You need to ensure you can get what you want done for the money you are proposing before work starts.

Parm Bhangal is managing director of Bhangals Construction Consultants.

Parm Bhangal
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