Construction projects are a fascinating blend of art and science: the art of architecture and the science that allows the project team to bring that artistic vision to life. But construction projects are also, fundamentally, a question of dollar and cents. The establishment of sound budgeting, contingency planning, and the identification and mitigation of cost risks, are fundamental to the completion of a successful building project.

With budgeting and cost management fundamentals in place at the outset, you maintain better control over costing as the project rolls out, with fewer surprises.

Assessing Costs During the Planning Phase

Before a project gets underway, you need to fully assess its cost viability with due diligence. You want to set a realistic budget for the project, understand its scale, and build contingencies into your budget planning, while ensuring funding and an appropriate cash flow is in place. With our database of projects, tender results, unit costing, and contractor/supplier lists, we can easily guide your planning process based on our past experience.

A Feasibility Study can provide you with a realistic budget to work with, plus an opinion of both hard and soft construction costs. Additionally, a Program Estimate can help to reflect the owner’s requirements, site conditions or site options, any government requirements that may affect cost, as well as local market conditions.

Later in the development process, you will need to collaborate with the designer to ensure design conforms to budget. A.W. Hooker typically initiates a Budget Development & Cost Planning process at the outset of the design phase to keep design development on budget from day one and ensure it stays within guidelines. We also analyse the Life Cycle Costs of a building project, so you can be confident that your selected design not only supports a sound and viable construction plan, but also a long-term, smart investment.

Ensuring Cost Certainty During the Design Phase

You want your project to run as smoothly and successfully as possible. With smart development and cost planning in the crucial design phase, you get a realistic and accurate budget–not to mention the information you need to make timely decisions along the way.

As the design progresses, Cost Estimates at certain Design Stage Milestones are vital to ensuring cost control over your project.  The Cost Estimates we prepare serve as ‘check estimates’ to ensure the design is within budget and help to identify any areas where the design is going over budget. If any design changes need to be made, they can be made at this stage with minimal cost impact.  Design Stage Cost Estimates ensure that there are no cost surprises after the design has wrapped up.

It’s also important to step back during the design phase and assess where the design could be optimised, not only for construction/capital cost efficiency, but from functional, planning, design, life cycle cost, and sustainability perspectives. Typically, A.W. Hooker brings all stakeholders together in a workshop setting to engage in a Value Analysis / Value Engineering process at this phase to ensure the design is cost effective and sustainable.

Regulating Costs Within Budgets During the Tender Phase

Once the tender package is assembled and issued to the market, qualified contracting parties review and provide tender prices for the project before the tender closing date. But the tender package is rarely final, in fact it’s normal for tender addenda to be issued by the lead designer throughout the tender period for any number of reasons.

A tender addendum document has the potential to have significant impact on the overall cost of the project, so managing it the right way can help keep costs in check. With Tender Addendum Management, a Quantity Surveyor can review each addendum to advise the client of the cost impact of this change before or after the official release of the addendum.

Choosing a contractor based on best value can help to ensure the right team is doing the job, for the right price. If you’re looking for more rigorous due diligence before committing to a tender package, a Contractor Recommendation may also be right for you. In this case, our Quantity Surveyors, working with the Owners, Designers, and Project Managers, can develop the evaluation criteria or scoring model to review both financial and non-financial aspects of the bid, based on years of experience and expertise.

Controlling Costs During Construction

Now that construction has begun, you need to stay on top of the budget, plans, contracts and planned progress against actual progress in order to mitigate risk. If construction plans change after contracts have been signed, A.W. Hooker performs a Change Order Review to ensure the Change Order costs submitted are reasonable, and inform your decision on whether or not to proceed with the change.

Post construction, unresolved claims may result in construction liens, so it is important to address these claims as soon as possible. If your contractor has submitted a claim that exceeds your agreed amount in the contract, A.W. Hooker recommends a Claims Review. This allows the Quantity Surveyor to evaluate the details of the claim and provide an unbiased recommendation concerning the costs, keeping Owners and Contractors satisfied that the price being charged is appropriate.

As the Project Monitor on a financed project, our Quantity Surveyors can act as independent advisors to the owner and the lender. We can provide preliminary and periodic status reports identifying any areas of concern in the budgets, construction plans, contracts, and permits associated with the project.