Self Build Project Management

self build project management client and builder CLPM

Self Build Project Management – We can help You Get Hands-on 

Planning your own Grand Design-style self-build project? Thinking about self build project management?

Are you looking to build a new home, convert an existing agricultural or industrial building or carry out a major renovation or rebuild project?

For many of our clients, their self-building project is a chance to get closer to the construction process. Motivated by both an interest in the finer detail of the build, and the opportunities to save money, an increasing number of our clients are interested in building by dealing with the individual trades directly, rather than using a single, main contractor.

Whilst this route is gaining popularity, it is not without risk, as highlighted by the UK’s guru on self- building:

As a client one of the most important roles you have is deciding how the project is going to run. Get it right and the whole experience can be a real pleasure. Get it wrong and it can wreck lives, marriages, financial security and every dream you’ve had for the place.”

Kevin McCloud

Grand Designs Handbook

The decision on how your project is going to run is critical but you don’t have to go it alone. Very few people have the skills and experience to manage a major building project without help from others. It makes sense to surround yourselves with experts and create the best team so that you do get it right!

Are you your project’s ‘someone’?

Fundamentally, ‘someone’ has to co-ordinate, monitor and control the time, cost, quality and risk of any project – here’s a glimpse of what’s involved, to help determine who that ‘someone’ might best be for your project…

Time

One of the most important elements of the planning and control process is preparing a realistic and detailed programme, and to then monitor and adjust it as the project progresses. Allowing sufficient time for the various tasks; including supplier, sub-contractor and contractual deadlines and building in contingencies, is all part of managing a project.

Get it right and the build will proceed at a good pace, the trades will be able to work on their areas to schedule and the build will be cost and time efficient. Get it wrong and the result is an erratic build with frequent periods of inactivity. Delays can quickly escalate with a lateness of delivery of materials leading to issues with the trades being unable to work. When supplies do arrive, they may then have business elsewhere, leading to further delays and additional costs.

Quality

The quality of your build is determined by a variety of actions.

Most fundamental is the design. Reviewing and checking the design documentation is a key area to ensure that the detail is sufficient, consistent, accurate and clear to understand and follow by all onsite. The plans are the ‘hymn sheet’ all the trades will use. If any anomalies or errors get through, then the risk of mistakes being made is high (with resultant conflict and cost).

Once onsite, regular, detailed inspections need to be made to check that the works are being completed correctly against drawings and specifications. Technical queries need to be answered promptly and any construction problems need to be solved. Part of this check will also be assessing the level of quality of each trades work and ensuring that the finish is good. Work of a poor standard will need to be challenged and resolved.

Building control will need to be invited to visit and inspect the site to sign off that key elements are being built to building regulations such as the footings etc.

Cost

In an environment where overruns and errors can cost tens of thousands of pounds, it is not surprising that cost control is a critical part of every major building project. It’s a sad statistic that over 9/10 of every unmanaged project over-spend by on average 20%; a huge amount of money! Mitigating the risk is key, and this is achieved by ensuring the designs and specifications are comprehensive, accurate and affordable.

Preparing a comprehensive, line by line estimate in the form of a budget is common sense. It allows you to check the overall affordability of your design, as well as to understand which are the most costly areas. When sourcing materials such information is also useful to help determine what provisional sums you might want to allocate when choosing big spend items such as kitchens or glazing. 

Having a comprehensive design is also critical to enable the tender process to be robust. Without this detail the tender documentation will be incomplete and the individual trades returns will be inconsistent. As a result, the contractors will guess (and add plenty of buffer to protect themselves!) and the quotes will be higher than they should be. A professional tender process is critical to compare every one of the different trades returns and allow you to then negotiate the get the best possible prices. The financial difference between a truly competitive tender and an informal quoting process with resultant additions can be tens of thousands of pounds on a large project.

Once work has started, the next key step is to keep a check on the works and document and discuss the cost impact of all changes with each of the relevant trades as the project progresses.

Risk

Ensuring that you have not only secured the right type and level of insurance for the project but that the Health and Safety requirements are being met are key parts of any major building project. Recent legislation means that there has to be a person taking on the role to minimise risk and protect the workforce, as well as anyone else visiting the site. As the owner of the project is it your responsibility to ensure this happens.

Using Someone Else to Manage Your Self-Build Project

Of course, deciding on just who that ‘someone’ should be for your self-building project depends on your own individual situation. However, self-building does not necessarily mean you have to project manage alone. In fact, contrary to common belief, few people who plan to self-build actually manage their own projects. The reality of the huge commitment required means that most busy, working people simply do not have the time!

This is where CLPM come in.

Our role as your independent self-build project manager means that we can help you realise your self-build dream, whilst preventing the whole building process becoming a nightmare!

Why use a Self-Build Project Management company?

Fundamentally, an independent self-build project management company will be with you all the way to make sure that you don’t overspend, overrun or suffer from a poor quality result.

Here are 10 specific reasons:

1. Provides an independent, professional expert whose primary expertise and priority is in organising your building project, for you 

2. Is independent of the architect, builder and suppliers so is always looking after your best interests

3. Allows you to spearhead your own major project, whilst juggling work and family commitments

4. Can ensure you have a robust tender process to get the best prices from the trades. Can give advice on when and where to procure specialist or big price-tag items, and purchase materials at trade prices, so saving you time and money

5. Ensures the building team build to your architect’s specifications, preventing expensive errors

6. Checks and challenges the contractors to ensure the best quality of work is delivered 

7. Provides expert support, solutions and technical information to you and the contractors when needed 

8. Visits site regularly, independently assessing and reporting progress and adherence to plan 

9. Checks invoices against work done, ensuring you keep a tight control of your spend and budget 

10. Resolves issues, deals with conflict, and so reduces the stress of the project for you and your family

Put simply, we prevent the whole process taking over your life and save you money, time and worry!

Get in touch

At CLPM we put our always put our clients first. You decide how you want to build, and how much support you’d like – we can then tailor our services to you. If you’d like to find out more about how we can support you with your self- build project we’d welcome the opportunity to talk about how we can help.

Call 01923 896550, fill out a contact form or email info@cl-pm.com to find out more.

CLPM Project Managers cover London, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. Energy Consultancy and Cost Advice services available across the UK.