‘Why should you appoint a quantity surveyor for your Self Build project?
Without any doubt, one of the biggest challenges of building your own home is managing your finances. As a novice self builder you may not be clear on the roles of everyone involved in the project of building a home.
This article aims to explain the role of a quantity surveyor, whilst considering the cost implications.
The importance of budgeting your project
As the majority of self builders do not have experience in managing projects, they are often unaware of all the potential costs involved. This is why it is important that when you start planning your project, the first stage of this should be to calculate the budget for your future home. In this, you should consider how much money you already have, or will have following the sale of your current property and how much you can borrow.
This will help you establish the location of the plot, size, design, construction type and the internal specs.
The budget of your project will determine the architect’s design, so it is important to set it as accurately as possible from the onset. When discussing the design of your house with your architect, they will be able to help you estimate whether the money you plan to spend on your new home is enough to meet your expectations. They will also be able to list all additional expenditures that you may not be aware of.
Common mistakes made by self builders when budgeting
We all know that getting the right estimation of costs is crucial for the success of your project and for it to be completed on time. This will also prevent any delays and will ensure you do not over-spend.
However, although many self builders talk the talk, they don’t walk the walk. The three main mistakes made are as follows:
- The budget plan is neglected completely
- Failure to refine the quotes needed – often gathering too many
- Using a free service from a builder
The ‘free’ cost review assistance offered by many building companies often comes with hidden costs. These companies also tend to design the easiest and most profitable house, rather than the best home, to meet you and your family’s needs. These solutions are far from optimal and your budgeting plan cannot be reliant on assumptions. Doing this may result in mistakes being made which will ultimately cost more when addressed in the later stages of the project.
Fortunately, all these issues can be addressed by investing in a quantity surveyor and can help you save money in the long run!
Appointing a quantity surveyor will help you save money
It can be tempting to skip the initial cost of appointing a quantity surveyor and adopt the ‘DIY approach’. However, from our experience it is a false economy and almost always ends up with a bill that by far exceeds the initial fees of a quantity surveying expert.
It is for this reason that we advise our clients to view a quantity surveyor as an investment, in which savings can be made throughout the construction process and once you are in your new home, will repay you many times over.
Quantity Surveying with ACA
Typically, self builders experience financial problems due to two reasons. Either their architectural designs are too ambitious, or their project has incurred additional unforeseen expenses. In fact, the real reason for their problems is a lack of robust financial planning. This can be prevented if a quantity surveyor is appointed to cooperate with both the architect and contractor.
ACA have been working with various quantity surveying companies for years, and through these years of experience we have established optimal procedures for our self build clients to ensure that their budget and cost estimations are as accurate as possible; providing security and peace of mind.
We are therefore happy to announce the launch of another service by ACA, in conjunction with the well-established CLPM. CLPM are a regulated construction project consultancy company with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. CLPM was formed in 2014 through a merger of Charlie Laing Ltd and the award-winning ClearPlan Project Management. Their quantity surveying team offer construction cost consultancy services to residential and commercial clients on a UK-wide basis. Visit their website and find out more here.
Stages of Co-operation
A quantity surveyor is involved at every stage of the self build project: from pre-construction, to on-site and upon completion.
Typically, a quantity surveyor gets involved during the pre-construction phase once you have appointed an architect and discussed your budget and design expectations. At this stage, they help set up all the project processes and reporting procedures. They will visit the site and meet with you, the architect, and the contractor to agree actions.
When your project reaches the on-site stage, the quantity surveyor takes the role of Contract Administrator and cooperates with the designer and the main contractor to ensure that your project is progressing according to plan. The Contract Administrator will monitor the progress and quality through regular site visits and regular meetings.
The main contractor is required to submit a valuation on a monthly basis, which is broken down into identifiable parts which will be assessed as to whether they are in line with the specification. At the end of this stage, the quantity surveyor will issue the final certificate.
The Contract Administrator’s duties consist of:
- Administering change control procedures.
- Seeking instructions from the client in relation to the contract.
- Issuing instructions such as variations or relating to prime cost sums or making good defects.
- Chairing construction progress meetings.
- Reviewing the progress against the contractor’s programme.
- Preparing and issuing construction progress reports
- Co-ordinating and instructing site inspectors.
- Agreeing commissioning and testing procedures.
- Agreeing defects reporting procedures.
- Ensuring that project documentation is issued to the client.
- Issuing interim certificates with an associated cost report.
- Certifying Practical completion.
- Collating and issuing schedules of defects.
- Issuing the certificate of making good defects.
- Issuing the final certificate.
At the end of the project, your quantity surveyor will check if the building is ready for the handover. They will also ensure that the correct paperwork is in place so you can enjoy living in your dream home.
NEW EARLY STAGE COST ESTIMATION SERVICE
Cost Estimation Stages
Stage 1 – High Level Cost Estimate
After the architect has prepared two design variations that you are happy with, the quantity surveyor provides a high-level cost estimate for each – using the design information to assess the likely cost per m2. This stage gives you an idea of the likely costs of your project options so that you can then choose the one that is within your target budget.
At this stage, the estimations will not be 100% precise due to relatively limited information. As the information evolves and you make additional design and specification choices, the estimate will be refined and you receive a more accurate project cost figure.
Stage 2 – Detailed Cost Estimate
The completion of a detailed cost estimate is made based on building regulations drawings. This will give you greater confidence that you will achieve the target budget for the project. It will also help you identify and quantify the potential savings. You will then receive the information in an elemental or works package format.
Fee Schedule with CLPM
|SERVICE||TYPICAL FEE FOR
A £300K PROJECT
|Cost Estimating Stage 1||£995|
|Cost Estimating Stage 2||£1,330|
Combined Services Package
|SERVICE||TYPICAL FEE FOR
A £300K PROJECT
|Cost Estimating Stage 1 & 2||£2,050|
Note: all prices quoted are ex-VAT.
Top Tips On How To Make Sure Your Project Will Stay On Budget
- Make sure your design matches your budget
Before speaking to your architect, prepare a self build brief in which you clearly set your construction budget. The amount of money you can afford to spend on your project influences the architect’s design significantly, so it is important to set the budget as accurately as possible.
- Appoint a quantity surveyor to produce an accurate estimate
A quantity surveyor will review your outline designs and estimate how much it will actually cost to build your home and whether it is within your construction budget.
Appoint a RICS regulated quantity surveying company to use your outline designs to create a detailed estimate of your construction costs. This will give you estimates of the material and labour costs, room by room, line by line. This will also provide costs for any additional elements such as scaffolding, diggers, and skips.
- Refine your design to save cost
The information provided by a quantity surveyor will help you build more cost-effectively. Having an estimate early in the design stage will help you understand where and how you can trim your designs or specifications to cut your construction costs. Your architect and quantity surveyor will help you with this task.
By working with a quantity surveyor you can be assured that your project will be completed according to budget. This will give you piece of mind and help you save money on repairing potential costly mistakes at later stages of the project. Keep in mind that having accurate, actionable information early on in the pre-construction phase of your project can also help reduce your design costs, by preventing costly re-designs or new planning applications.
When working with ACA and CLPM, you can rest assured that you will stay on budget and move into your dream home without unnecessary problems on the way.