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CLPM is a residential building project management consultancy based in Rickmansworth, our clients are broadly spread from Oxfordshire to Central London, Henley to Amersham. We are not designers or builders but we are experts in bringing high specification, high quality projects from design phase to completion. Our clients demand excellence and technical expertise from our project managers who are all from engineering and construction backgrounds.
In our latest blog, James Bryden, Managing Director of CLPM and Southern Home Show expert, answers some of your frequently asked questions.
1. I have just had my plans approved by planning and now want to start the work, how do I appoint a good builder?
“The plans that will have been approved by planning control are not likely to be sufficiently detailed to start the tender process. At first meetings, we will go through all of the small details such as electrical layouts, structural works and foundations. These are the big ticket items that need to be crystal clear for a builder to give an accurate quote. Our Quantity Surveyors will go through all of the details so that you know to a good degree of certainty what the likely costs are before you start to speak to builders.”
2. I’m interested in reducing my running costs and making my home more eco-friendly but don’t know if I should be including renewables as part of my project?
“As part of our tender process service, we would also conduct a running cost review to ensure that the energy demands of the building are as low as possible e.g. excellent insulation and low energy appliances. However, our sustainability department can go further and discuss renewables and their suitability for your project as well as advice on possible contractors to work with.”
3. What’s the most effective way of saving money?
“Good procurement. Thousands of pounds can be saved by buying different parts of the project separately, for example, independent groundworks companies, glazing firms and kitchens and bathrooms. A project manager will co-ordinate these parties but the savings can be huge.”
4. Do you have a formula for calculating a contingency fund?
“If you are using a quantity surveyor as part of your team to cost the project, their calculations will include an amount to cover contingencies. Typically, a figures of between 10% and 15% of the total should be allowed for unexpected costs, however working closely with a building project manager will help to identify what the risks are likely to be to cause the contingency to be spent. Forewarned is forearmed!”
5. Is there one bit of advice you’d give to someone starting a self-build?
“Do the numbers, then do them again and then again! A realistic budget at the beginning of any project is critical and basing expected costs on rough prices and guesswork will almost certainly result in you spend more than you mean to. At this stage, the most important question to ask yourself is not “What would I like?” but “What can I afford?” Even if you plan to complete the project yourself, we advise that your employ a quantity surveyor to ensure that you have no nasty surprises.”
6. What’s the best way to manage different trades?
“If your build it sufficiently large, you may have appointed a main contractor whose foreman will co-ordinate trades as they come to the site. If not you will need to have a programme to manage the various tradesmen to schedule their times on site to avoid situations such as the plasterer turning up before the electrician has completed or the tilers before the plumbing is complete. You must keep this document up to date and allow for flexibility in timings.”
7. What can I do to get back on track if my project runs late?
“The most common cause of project delay is lack of management on site; if you stop giving your build your full attention, delays are inevitable. We’re not talking two or three weeks, sometimes, delays can run to months which can be extremely costly if you’re living in rented accommodation or have a bridging loan. If deadlines slip, consider getting in a professional project manager to assist in overseeing specific tasks, they will help to set challenging but achievable goals to get the ball rolling again.”
8. With all of this advice in mind, who should I get to manage my project?
“Project management is risk management; the decision to run a project yourself depends on how much risk you are willing to take on, how much time you have and what your previous experience is. On large scale projects, professional project managers should be able to save the cost of their fees in savings from delays and negotiating with main contractors. If you employ a professional, get them on board as early as you can. Having the project budget, works programme and the responsibilities of the different parties clearly defined from the outset will give you the best chance of achieving what you want.”
James and the team will be part of the expert team at the Southern Home Show and if you would like to book a time to see them please call 01923 896550
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