Design and Build Contracts, Advantages and Disadvantages

Anyone who has spent time working in the UK construction industry is likely to have strong opinions about Design and Build contracts. In the immediate future, it’s likely that activity within the sector is going to increase, and whilst the exact political flavour of the Conservative government has yet to be confirmed they have at least promised to invest heavily in house building. With that in mind, the following points highlight some of the thorny issues associated with design and build contracts.

UK House Building

200,000 appears to be the magic number; in March 2015, David Cameron promised to double the target of 100,000 homes aimed at first time buyers, and with his position now confirmed in No.10 Downing Street we wait with bated breath to see if this commitment will reach fruition. Across the UK, firms are experiencing a modest rise in construction projects and reporting a certain amount of confidence. Besides the always-nebulous claims of politicians a range of measures including a loosening of planning laws and assistance for first time buyers is buoying up the industry after last year’s lack of growth. For many developers, however the fact that an increased demand for labour and materials is likely to push up prices can make design and build contracts more attractive.

Design and Build Advantages

Design and Build [D&B] is a useful procurement route for developers in that it allows a certain amount of control over costs. In general, lump sum contracts result in a contractor agreeing to take on the responsibility for both the design and construction of a project for an agreed price. The contractor may have their own team of designers or may engage an outside firm. They will agree a design initially with the developer, but after the contract is signed the contractor will have full responsibility.

If the agreed-on design remains unchanged throughout the project, the developer can be reasonably sure that the overall cost of construction will remain unchanged. Of course, it’s possible that the developer will require some design changes during the project, but it should then be possible for the contractor to provide an illustration of exactly how any such changes will affect overall costs.

Another of the advantages of design and build contracts is the possibility of reduced construction time. If the contractor is entirely responsible for design a great deal of time can potentially be saved as the design and building elements will run concurrently. For developers the main benefit is that, once the contract is agreed the contractor takes on much of the financial risk inherent in a project; that’s increasingly attractive when prices of both labour and materials are looking likely to rise. When various political parties claim that an upswing in construction is just around the corner, it’s worth remembering that it’s not just the taxpayer who will be expected to contribute. The Conservative government will also need to rely on private investment.

Design and Build Disadvantages

Not everyone in the industry is a fan of design and build contracts and it’s therefore worth taking a look at their disadvantages. Those who dislike the system point out that if a builder is given a free hand to design a building based on a pre-agreed price, even if costs don’t rise during the project they will be likely to work to the lowest possible specifications [if the contract allows them to alter the specifications].

Secondly, there’s an inherent problem in that builders are not architects. An architect, as well as having years of training and a very specific set of skills not least aesthetic ones, will be up to date with both the legal and design requirements. There are also requirements that may not be written into law but will be at the cutting edge of what makes a building fit for purpose now, and years into the future. Giving a builder a set amount of money and most, if not all the responsibility for design is a recipe for a shoddy result, say some people.

Making generalisations about the merits of D&B versus traditional construction methods is dangerous. In the real world, both can and do result in some buildings that are successful and some that are a disaster. For developers, architects and contractors perhaps the most important point is to ensure that the contract whatever form it takes is fully understood by all sides, covers all legal requirements and has the flexibility built into it to allow a satisfactory result.

Construction Management

Recently there has been something of a trend towards construction management rather than design and build contracts. Here, an intermediary in the form of a construction manager is appointed and the developer takes more responsibility for the overall costs of a project. It’s possible, however that if private investors are effectively forced into taking more financial risk the supply of money for the promised housebuilding boom could begin to dry up.

If you require a Professional Property Consultant who can assist, guide and support you in the delivery of your projects then TWC Consulting is in a great position to help.

TWC Consulting provides a diverse range of Consultants on all types of major & minor works projects including Chartered Surveyors, Construction Project Managers, Employers Agents, Contract Administrators, Cost Consultants, Planning Advisors [and more] all from under one roof.

Tips for Managing Construction Cleanup and Debris

Construction sites generate a lot of debris and waste, most of which is hazardous to human health. Some of this waste is generated directly as a result of construction activities while others are created indirectly. The non-hazardous waste materials on construction sites can range from bricks, rubble, wood, concrete, insulation and wiring waste, nails and rebar, etc. The hazardous waste often consists of lead, asbestos, plasterboard, etc. While construction site clean-up can be done meticulously, materials such as plasterboard release toxic gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, when they are broken down in landfills.

The non-hazardous construction site debris also poses a problem for construction site clean-up because of the lack of space for their disposal. Landfills are filling up at a very fast rate and many are closing down because of reaching their full capacity. It is important to manage and control wastage in order to make construction site clean-up easier for all concerned. There are many ways in which you can do this, which include recycling and reusing.

Recycling construction site debris can help reduce landfill waste. Some of the waste that can be recycled are aluminium, wood, concrete, corrugated cardboard, asphalt, and specific metals. Cleaning up in a recycling project takes place at the job site by segregating the waste according to specific categories such as concrete, metal, or wood, and sending them to the recycling site. Sometimes, recycling can be done on the site of the construction itself. There are instances where all the wastes with recycling potential is collected from the site and segregated later at the recycling facility.

An important way to clean up construction site debris is by reusing them, especially materials left over from a demolition project, such as door frames, doors, window frames, fixtures, etc. Before clean-up itself, these materials must be identified so as not to be disposed of by mistake.

There are different protocols for cleaning up different types of debris on a construction site. To start with, debris can be categorized into some broad areas, which are solid wastes, hazardous wastes, petroleum products, pesticides and fertilizers, detergents, etc. It is important that all employees are aware of best practices for waste management on site and adhere to these.

Areas and containers used for storage must be inspected for any leaks, spills, or other malfunctions. Workers must be properly trained in handling and disposal and must be aware of how to protect themselves when doing so.

Commercial Construction Marketing Tactics

If you are a commercial construction company owner you may be interested in our article. In it we will give you some tips on great strategies for growing your business. This information is taken from the advice of people who are in the industry and are successful. We hope you find it helpful.

It is important for you to understand what the term “marketing” actually means in this context. Its concept encompasses far more than advertising or selling your company. Rather it is a complete plan you draw up that takes into account all of its strengths and weaknesses and applies them to your targeted market. Additionally this plan will help you to determine the method you wish to utilize for arriving at your prices. This plan is best put into action after spelling it all out in a document. You can store this document on your computer; however, it would be wise if you kept a hard copy of it in a safe place. That way; should you lose access to your computer files, you have something to fall back on. The best place for that hard copy would be a fire-proof safe or even a bank vault incase of a disaster occurring in your office.

The overall advice you will need to follow to design and implement your marketing plan is similar no matter what the size of your company is. The important thing here is that it must be thorough and well-analyzed. We highly recommend that you type it up on your computer; as this is the easiest way to update it. This document will need to be updated as the industry changes; which will happen relatively often.

Along with your company’s strengths and weaknesses you also want to account for any threats that may pop up. You will want to state what those threats could be and how you plan to deal with them; should they occur. In a similar fashion you will want to prepare for any good opportunities that come into the picture. Are there any opportunities you wish to take advantage of right now or in the near future? What about long-term opportunities? You ought to detail your strategy for making the best of them too. Remember; both threats and opportunities will change over the years. This means your plans should change as well. Again make sure you update your documented plans as often as you need to. This will ensure you are prepared for any business situation that may arise.

There is much more information available on this topic right on the Internet. If you do a search you will find pertinent articles written by experts in the field. Not only that; but you will note that there are companies out there who will create your commercial construction marketing plan for you. This is useful if you are excellent at running such a company but not so great at developing a marketing plan. You can always hire one of these companies and learn from them how to do it yourself as you go along. Then perhaps down the line you can take over this task yourself; as you will now be properly prepared to do so.