Navigating Q&A with Multiproject

Author: multiproject
Published: August 9, 2023

Navigating Q&A with Multiproject

Welcome back to the second instalment of our Q&A article series. As seasoned architects in the UK know, navigating the intricate world of project economics is essential to delivering successful architectural ventures. In this series, we address your most pressing questions and shed light on industry best practices, providing valuable insights to enhance your cost management prowess.

At Multiproject, our commitment to supporting architects and industry professionals has led us to collate a range of technical and financial topics tailored to your needs. From robust Change Order Management to innovative cost-saving solutions, we delve into the intricacies of architectural project economics with clarity and expertise.

In this second edition, we tackle more technical questions that senior architects encounter in their day-to-day operations. Drawing on authoritative sources, including RICS Practice Standards UK and real-life examples, we strive to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to achieve seamless cost control and financial success in your architectural projects.

Join us as we navigate through the complexities of Change Order Management, explore strategies to mitigate cost escalations, delve into accurate cost estimation for large-scale projects, harness the power of BIM for streamlined collaboration, and unlock the potential of off-site construction for specific project types.

Question 1: How can we implement a robust Change Order Management system to address design revisions without negatively impacting project budgets and timelines?

Short Answer: Establish a proactive Change Order Management system with clear procedures for documenting and reviewing design revisions to assess their cost implications. Collaborate closely with cost consultants and project stakeholders to analyse the impacts of changes on project budgets and timelines.

Long Answer: To implement a robust Change Order Management system, architects should establish clear procedures for handling design revisions. Document all changes thoroughly and review them promptly to assess their potential cost impacts. Collaborate closely with cost consultants, contractors, and clients to evaluate the effects of design revisions on project budgets and timelines. For example, in a recent healthcare facility project, the architectural team incorporated a Change Order Management system that required all design changes to be submitted in writing and ahead of instructing these to the contractor. The cost consultant was engaged to promptly evaluate the financial implications of each change and provide recommendations to the project team. This approach ensured that design revisions were carefully scrutinised, avoiding any negative impact on the project’s financial performance and schedule. Effective communication and early detection of design changes are key to maintaining cost control and ensuring successful project outcomes.

Question 2: What strategies can we employ to manage potential cost escalations in the procurement of building materials and construction services?

Short Answer: Employ strategies such as early procurement planning, competitive bidding, and long-term contracts with suppliers to manage potential cost escalations. Monitor market trends and collaborate with cost consultants to negotiate favourable pricing and anticipate changes in material costs.

Long Answer: To manage potential cost escalations in the procurement of building materials and construction services, architects should engage in early procurement planning. For instance, in a recent residential development project, alongside the architectural team, we identified critical packages like glazing and timber frame in the early stages and initiated procurement well in advance to lock in favourable prices. Competitive bidding and negotiations with suppliers can also lead to cost savings. In a commercial office project, the architectural team collaborated with us to conduct a comprehensive tendering process for major construction packages and fit-out materials. This approach enabled the team to secure favourable pricing while maintaining the desired quality standards. Establishing long-term contracts with reliable suppliers can provide stability in pricing and secure materials at fixed rates. Regularly monitoring market trends, collaborating with cost consultants to analyse material cost indices, and anticipating fluctuations in material prices further contribute to effective cost escalation management.

Question 3: In complex and medium-scale architectural projects, how can we accurately estimate the cost impacts of design changes during the pre-construction phase?

Short Answer: Utilise detailed quantity take-offs, historical cost data, and advanced cost estimation software to accurately estimate the cost impacts of design changes during the pre-construction phase. Collaborate with experienced cost consultants to conduct thorough cost analyses and evaluate the effects of design changes on project budgets.

Long Answer: In complex and medium-scale architectural projects, accurate cost estimation during the pre-construction phase is critical. Utilise detailed quantity take-offs based on precise measurements and specifications to calculate material and labour costs for design changes. In a recent mixed-use development project, the architectural team employed quantity surveyors to conduct thorough take-offs for various design options and prepared detailed cost estimates for each scenario. Use reputable cost models relevant to the type of project. Accessing historical cost data from similar projects also adds reliability to cost estimates. For example, in a cultural centre project, the architectural team referred to historical cost databases to benchmark the cost of specialised materials and finishes for unique design elements. Advanced cost estimation software can aid in generating accurate projections for labour, materials, and equipment. Collaborate closely with experienced cost consultants who possess domain expertise and have a comprehensive understanding of local market conditions. Through collaboration and thorough cost analyses, architects can develop reliable estimates of design change impacts, facilitating effective decision-making and cost control.

Question 4: How can we integrate Building Information Modelling (BIM) with cost management software to enhance cost control and streamline project collaboration?

Short Answer: Integrate BIM with cost management software to facilitate real-time cost monitoring and streamline project collaboration. By linking BIM models with cost data, architects can identify potential cost deviations, optimise project budgets, and foster seamless communication among project stakeholders.

Long Answer: Integrating Building Information Modelling (BIM) with cost management software can significantly enhance cost control and streamline project collaboration. By linking BIM models with cost data, architects can monitor project costs in real-time and track progress against the budget. Additionally, BIM facilitates collaboration and communication among project stakeholders by providing a shared platform for sharing project information, updates, and revisions. This was demonstrated in a large-scale infrastructure project where the architectural team, contractors, and cost consultants accessed a centralised BIM platform to share design updates and cost implications in real-time. By fostering seamless data exchange between design and cost management teams, BIM integration promotes efficient decision-making, reduces errors, and ensures project financial objectives are met effectively.

Question 5: What contractual strategies can architects employ to mitigate financial risks arising from project delays?

Short Answer: Architects can include liquidated damages clauses in contracts to hold contractors accountable for project delays and associated financial losses. Collaborating with cost consultants during contract negotiations can ensure fair and realistic damages for delays.

Long Answer: To mitigate financial risks arising from project delays, architects can employ specific contractual strategies. Include liquidated damages clauses in contracts, outlining predetermined compensation for delays beyond agreed-upon completion dates. In a recent commercial development project, the architectural team collaborated with legal advisors and cost consultants to establish liquidated damages based on the estimated financial losses from delayed completion. This ensured contractors were held accountable for any delays that impacted the project’s progress and financial performance.

Additionally, architects can implement incentives for early project completion. Consider offering a bonus for completing the project ahead of schedule to motivate contractors and encourage timely project delivery. Collaborating with cost consultants during contract negotiations can help set realistic and fair penalties for delays and ensure that both parties understand the financial implications. By incorporating these contractual strategies, architects can safeguard their projects against financial risks associated with delays and maintain cost control throughout the project timeline.

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