Consulting - at the right stageRolfe Jackson, Director of Haleys, explains just how the consultancy delivers the right solutions in construction The construction industry is naturally a very resourceful industry to be in, it is constantly developing new products and techniques to improve efficiency, save time and increase quality which all have an effect on the bottom line of projects.
If the industry is so good at innovation of products, why do some areas still seem bound by the handcuffs of tradition or the apprehension to add extra security because of early expenditure?
I am sure you have all seen in one way or another the slow shift of traditional control of projects from the architects to the employer’s agent or quantity surveyor, another reflection which will have an effect on the bottom line.
So why not look at the role of the building services consultant and how better to apply his/her services to the bottom line?
The selection and appointment of the building services consultants often occurs once the project brief and budget have been agreed.
However, in most modern projects it is the building services that the end user will appreciate the most, eg, climate control, lighting and whether or not the hot tap gets hot quick enough!
By involving the building services consultant at an earlier stage, especially in refurbishment or fit-out works, their experience can be used in various ways.
It can be used to develop design briefs to meet the client’s requirements and aid the Mechanical and Engineering Quantity Surveyor (M&E QS) in production of specialised budget costs.
It is also at this stage where useful value engineering can also take place to adhere to or save on the bottom line. For example, the services consultant can undertake pre-acquisition or condition surveys of existing buildings to enable the suitability of the services for the client's proposed requirements.
The finding can then be developed in a service design brief. A recent incidence of this was when we were commissioned after the client had agreed heads of terms to carry out a condition survey of a 28,000ft2 two-storey building, only to find out that the M&E services required a great deal of remedial works.
This resulted in the client backing out of the deal with the landlord, due to the increased costs over a budget that had already been set. Had we been commissioned prior to heads of terms being agreed the additional costs could have been factored into any deal done with the landlord.
This early involvement can be a single stage appointment from feasibility to appointment of detail design consultant, or developing the brief that forms part of a design and build contract: it should not be viewed as an attempt to line one’s pockets.
Let the consultant consult at the right stage. In addition, with the revision of the Building Regulations in April 2006 particularly Parts L and F, it is now imperative that these professionals are consulted at the very early stages anyway.
The arguments for and against this suggestion are obviously too great to detail in this article, but on balance the overall indication should lead to making greater use of expertise and avoid causing ourselves more problems on projects in the latter stages.
Having in-house specialist M&E Designs and M&E Quantity Surveying services puts Haleys at an edge over many of its competitors. Haleys is a multi-disciplined construction consultancy that specialises in mechanical and electrical engineering. The company’s aim is - Delivering Solutions in Construction.
For more information please contact Head Office: Maple House, 118 High Street, Purley, Surrey CR8 2AD Tel: +44 (0) 20 8645 9707; Fax: +44 (0) 20 8668 2155; Email: