One of the three major human needs is a shelter which can be in any form so far it provides adequate security. Erection of any structure can get expensive without controlling the cost. There is therefore a need to put the cost into a regular check from inception stage to completion. Below are some of the things to consider in building at a reduced cost.
Like it is generally said; if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The planning of any building construction must be realistic enough to consider all the costs of construction. Planning for the construction of your building provides you with the basic information you need to control the costs and deliver the project within the budget. Time they say, is money!
Therefore the more time you spend on planning, the less money you spend on the project.
2. INVOLVE PROFESSIONALS FROM INCEPTION TO COMPLETION
Yes, you heard that right! There are key professionals in the construction industry whose services can be engaged as far as construction of a building is concerned. There are projects where only a few of these professionals needs to be engaged and there are complex projects where all of them would be engaged depending on the size and nature of the building.
Some of these professionals are:
- Architect: He translates your vision into physical designs and can help you manage the actualization of your dream through designs and supervision of works.
- Structural Engineer: He ensures that the architect’s design is achieved through his structural advises and designs. He makes sure the building is designed to withstand both its own loads and super-imposed loads. He’s mostly concerned about how the building will stand the test of time and not collapse. He is like a muscle builder for a building.
- Quantity Surveyor: This is the financial expert on construction projects otherwise known as the financial manager, the cost accountant, the cost engineer, estimator, and construction economist among other names. He translates the designs (from the Architect, Structural engineer, services engineer etc.) into cost by a way of generating the quantities of materials required, estimating the cost of the items and preparing a bill of quantities to represent the entire cost of a project. Among other services, He also prepares the budget for the project to ensure every money spent is monitored and properly managed.
- Services Engineer: This is the professional responsible for the designs of mechanical and electrical fittings in the building e.g. plumbing works and accessories, electrical works and accessories, transportation systems etc. As we all know every building requires adequate amount of toilets and electricity for the occupants to make life enjoyable, this professional helps you, depending on your budget, to achieve the best value for your money.
- Builder: This is the professional responsible for the actual erection of the building on site. He transforms the designs from the architect, structural engineers, services engineers etc. to physical structure(s) unlike some quacks who work without any guiding principle and this has led to a lot of abandonment of projects, due to too much waste of money and materials, and also building collapse.
- Project Manager: This is a trained professional that is sometimes appointed separately by the client, to lead the construction team in adequate management of the project costs, time and quality in accordance to the approved program of works – a special detailed document showing every activity of the project from mobilization to completion.
“…the project is not big, why should I hire a professional?” This is a common question in any society among those who lack the understanding of involving professionals in the construction industry. But ignorance is more expensive than professional fees. You can be rest assured of this fact.
3. DESIGN TO A COST
Except you are exceptionally rich, one approach to cost management is to have an affordable cost in mind before embarking on a journey of construction. You may have told the architect so many things you want during your brief, but it is also a good practice to inform him about your financial limit on the project. This will save him some time on unnecessary complex designs.
This also helps him to involve a quantity surveyor immediately for a cost advice on the designs. If peradventure, the ‘now-simple’ design still exceeds the financial limit of the client, he can then decide on what to do either by sourcing for more funds or to reduce the quality of materials. Now, reducing the quality of materials does not mean jeopardizing approved standards. For example, where marble tiles were approved, it can be changed to quality vitrified tiles, where Gerard roofing tiles has been designed for use, it can be changed to quality aluminum roof covering etc. But regardless of any tweaking of the design, the purpose of construction must not be compromised. For example, you cannot because of lack of fund, remove wall tiling in baths and exchange it for cement mortar screed. In a bathroom? NO!
4. AVOID ‘additional-cost’ VARIATION ORDERS
I believe you are aware that not all variations necessitate additional cost, in fact there are variation orders that can reduce costs to a reasonable extent. But during the construction, try to avoid making changes that can increase the cost of construction. Remember there is a cost in mind. Your professionals are there to help you achieve your dreams within budget.
5. HIRE A COMPETENT CONTRACTOR
Another way to achieve your dream when constructing a building is to hire a competent contractor. Either by inviting some experienced contractors to bid for the project or by recommendation through known sources. They will also use their experience to work faster and deliver within the time frame given and within the budget.
Construction of buildings at a reduced costs is not limited to the above suggested steps, but they are the basic steps that if followed, a dream can be achieved as far as construction is concerned.
TEMITOPE OLAJIRE (PrbMNIQS)