Why you should involve your architect, architectural designer or construction professional consultant in the tendering process

Undertaking a large extension or refurbishment to your home can be daunting as there is so much to think of.

Starting the design process is the first step and this sometimes takes a few years to build up the courage. It doesn’t have to be that way, but with all the advice and conflicting sources of information, it must seem a minefield.

Often times, this part of the process is the most stress free as you have a design partner (architect, architectural designer or construction professional consultant) who has your best interest at heart and will lead you along the development, using their years of experience to get the best result. They are not driven by profit, the size of the project or finishing in the least amount of time. Their fees remain the same. Their reputation is at stake with every design, so they ensure that you get the value you expect from the process.

But all of this help, guidance and general symbiotic relationship tends to come to a close with the end of the construction drawings approval and the client is on his or her own at the most critical moment.

This is the moment where they invite builders into their home to quote for the works and hopefully choose the right one.

This is a critical stage, as choosing the wrong builder can add cost, time and stress to the project.

Advising attending builders with conflicting information during their site visit can also lead to that perfect builder allowing for some work that the client mentions on site, which no one else will, and therefore they look more expensive than the rest.

Just finding the right builders in the first place can be hard, let alone sifting through pages of prices and descriptions to make sure the right person wins the contract.

We believe extending the involvement of your design partner to include the tender process will reap great benefits.

·         He or she will more often than not have reputable builders that work with them, so it’s already a shortlist of potential contractors.

·         He or she will be able to draft a scope of works or form of tender for all the contractors to quote against, making it easier to compare costs.

·         He or she will conduct the site visits, meaning everyone gets the same advice and opportunity to view the site. Don’t forget, it’s not easy to produce a quote. It takes time and often times costs money, so it’s a tough balance to make sure you cover all the eventualities of the project, whilst remaining competitive to win the work. So a clear design package, without ambiguity, and a fair tender process is all the contractors ask.

·         Technical questions can be answered on the spot with all parties involved being privy to the information, again keeping a level playing field.

·         Then when all the tenders are in, the choice can be made between the client and the architectural professional. It’s one more opinion on the matter and someone to bounce ideas off in order to make sure it’s the right fit. The best builder can be wrong for your project.

·         Some contractors are better at certain projects. Is it a traditional build? Timber framed? Are they better at the ground works and “up to plate”? Or better at finishing. References will need to be checked and previous projects inspected. These are all items that your design professional will undertake in the tender process for you, putting their expertise to good use exactly at the time you need it.

·         Once the choice is made, the contracts can be drawn up and overseen by the design professional with all the terms agreed, i.e. payment terms, schedule, what happens if things go wrong. Etc etc.

So it is clear that involvement at this stage is vitally important for the success of the project. Yes, it will cost money to pay the additional fees, but the value gained far outweighs the cost. So even if you don’t get the design professional to project manage the whole project for you, at least get the tender process taken care of.

As I am the one writing this blog, I will now unashamedly plug my services. We undertake the whole project management of the project from design through to completion.

But if you don’t want the full turnkey service, we can just undertake the design and tender process for you, or even the tender process alone if you already have designs drawn and approved. This will involve us digesting the technical design that has already been completed, draw up a scope of works, send out tender requests, manage the process, do site visits with contractors and choose the right builder alongside yourself. We will then draft the contracts and leave you with the best chance of a successful project.

Speak soon

Wouter de Jager

Posted by Maidenhead Planning on March 29th 2019

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