Tips for dealing (and coping!) with your construction project

Planning your construction project

When planning a build, after many months spent agreeing the building project, obtaining planning permission and gaining building regulations approval, and then finally settling on a contractor – the real fun starts – when the construction begins.

This part of the project can either be a pleasure or a chore (you only have to watch ‘Grand Designs’ on television to witness some of the pitfalls). However, we can assist in smoothing out this part of the process, helping to overcome any issues before they become problems.

During the construction process we will regularly visit the site checking that the works are being undertaken in accordance with the contract documents (drawings and specification) and to a satisfactory standards and regulations.

Our role is also to respond to any queries from the contractor and clarify any details.

Expecting the unexpected

Unfortunately, the unforeseen can occur during the construction process. These are especially common when undertaking works to an existing building and when the project involves ‘coming out of the ground’, where the true nature of the project can only really be determined by stripping out or excavation.

The unexpected may not need be the end of the world. Working with the contractor, we can appraise the nature of the issue, prepare a proposal for addressing the problem, and then obtain a quote from the contractor for undertaking the necessary remedial work.

When a building begins to take shape, sometimes the client may wish to tweak a few details and introduce some ‘variations’. Handled badly these changes can cause significant delay and be a source of disagreement with the contractor over the cost of the alteration; as it always seems to be more than expected.

Stanton Andrews can talk through the suggested changes, advising on the likely implications and possible costs. If you still wish to progress, we will issue a formal instruction to the contractor stating what the changes are and recording their agreed costs.

By managing any changes or variations in this manner, you will always be aware of the overall value of the contract, hopefully avoiding any nasty financial surprises at the end.

The importance of a contingency fund

At regular periods during the construction process, the contractor will prepare valuations for the works undertaken to date. Stanton Andrews will assess these submissions, appraising them against the original tender submission and with recognised building price scales.

It is always prudent to allow for a contingency fund when undertaking construction work, this can either be built into the contract or be metaphorically kept in your back pocket.

The amount can vary, we tend to advise on 3 to 10 per cent depending on the complexity of the project and the level of detail at tender stage.

In the ideal world the construction will go swimmingly with no changes or extras – if this is the case then at the end of the contract you can either keep the money or spend it on scatter cushions!

Certifying the work

Some mortgage providers require professional certification of construction works, recording that the works have been undertaken in a professional manner and to the correct standards. Whilst there are a number of recognised insurance bodies offering this cover, Stanton Andrews can also offer this certification.

We can help you cope during the construction phase of your project. Our service and support can vary from a couple of hours consultation through to producing fully detailed drawings and working with the contractor throughout the project to completion.