Main Contractor Case Studies

Main Contractor retail space project – Complete QS service from tender to project completion

This client asked Walker QS Consultants to carry out a full tender on their behalf for a new retail space and showroom.  After reviewing all project related information and a discussion with the client, we were able to advise that there were serious risks regarding the developer’s/landlord’s documentation, due to conflicting information and requirements. Our concerns included a large ‘grey’ area about who was responsible for the cost of certain aspects of the works.  This was mainly due to the developer looking to pay for the fit out, with the landlord set to pay for the up spec of the existing building.  Missing Fire Reports were required to ensure that the existing tenancy would be up to code etc.

In collaboration with the client, we compiled a comprehensive list of RFI’s, to help eliminate any potential pit falls going forward.  A full risk and opportunity register were created, which could be used for assessing project feasibility, as well as illustrating where margin enhancement could be achieved if the project were to proceed.

The next stage was to cost the documents taking into account our client’s methodology, the drawings, RFI’s, specification and the site visit we carried out at the initial brief.
Using our Buildsoft programme, we carried an extensive take off of the carpentry and concrete package, to which market rates were applied and client-adjusted the labour factors.

As we carry out works for a number of painting and plastering subcontractors, we have up to date rates that reflect the current market.  This helps ensure our accuracy for the trades.  We also carried out a provisional estimate on the other standard trades such as structural steel and electrical glass partitioning.  We carried out the provisional estimate for all the trades we sent out for pricing, to be used as an indicator for when these prices were returned.

To ensure that our tender package is sent to the various subcontractors/suppliers in its entirety, we use the Buildertrend software package.  This allows us to efficiently track all correspondence sent and received, which is essential when it comes to the letting of the trades and resolving any potential issues going forward.

Once tender pricing was received, we commenced our analysis.  Our process involves carefully going through each quote and picking out not just the price, but the tags and clarifications for the subcontractor.  These are especially important as they ultimately highlight cost through an item not allowed, or missing information, whereby the subcontractor has added the tag due to lack of clarity of specification.  Where possible, we add a sum for a tag that represents money, or send out further RFI’s, via our client to the developer to remove the tag completely.   During the tender summary we added additional costs such as access, builders works, making good and the like to ensure each trade and its corresponding value represented the total value for each package.

With the trade costs established, we then completed a full preliminary and general breakdown. In this section we added our fees, the onsite management, Health & Safety related costs, insurance, protection, traffic management etc.   We make sure that the overall percentage is in line with the full contract value.

The third stage of the process was to compile the full tender submission.  In this instance we used our template and completed the profiles of the personnel, company, experience etc in collaboration with the main contractor.  We then added our hourly rate charge out summary of the various trades, including out-of-hours works, and the hourly rates for management staff.  As a part of the pricing element, we added the P and G, along with margin percentages for any variations.

Once complete, we then listed out our tags and clarifications required in the tender.  Here we made sure we maintained the balance of tags to protect our client, but not so many that their bid would become complicated and unattractive.  The tags formed an important layer of protection to our client due the tender documents being contradictory, and the fact our client would have to appease two clients, the developer and the landlord.  There was a risk if the two parties did not fully communicate, which could have resulted in a difficult project if it had not been addressed by our clarifications.

Once our tender submission was complete, we met our client for a full debrief of the pricing and submission itself and discussed all our areas of concern regarding the tender, scope and methodology costings.  We also reiterated the tags and clarifications that had been inserted in the bid.  Once agreed, the client then issued the tender submission.

A meeting was held with the developer, the main contractor and WQS to go over costings.  Breakdowns were given in answer to queries.  Cost saving measures were also put forward to achieve the client’s budget.  The tender was accepted and the project began.

WQS issued a procurement register to the main contractors project manager and set about carrying out pre lets and signing the various subcontractors up using a standard subcontractor agreement or purchase orders for the smaller items.  An initial cashflow was also issued to our client, so that they could see when and what value they should expect in regard to turnover throughout the project. To assist in the onsite management of the project, full schedules (dollar values removed) for the carpentry were given to the project manager.  This helped us monitor the material usage as well as establish if works were being carried out that were not allowed for or a variation.  All costs were monitored and tracked in the client’s Coster system.

WQS were responsible for compiling all variations throughout the project, including evaluating subcontractors claims and variations, as well as compiling the full variation costs with breakdowns for our client’s inspection.  WQS received the subcontractor’s claims, evaluating them based on progress and issued the payment schedules in line with the Construction Act.  By complying with the Act, we could be sure our schedules were fully compliant, protecting our client from spurious or over claiming.  We submitted all progress claims in line with the agreed contract.  This included addressing any ‘knockbacks’ or contra charges at the earliest opportunity, to give our client surety on where the final account figure was going to finish.

WQS attended the weekly site meetings and played a significant role in finalising the contract upon completion and negotiating retention release.

High level budgets for a $25 Million+ Industrial Building

A consortium looking to build a $25 million plus industrial building on a brown field site in Auckland,  engaged Walker QS Consultants to provide high level budgets for the project.  A design brief and some preliminary drawings were provided to do the initial high-level budget.  The various elements were priced, factoring in unknown ground conditions, access etc, then a full cost report was sent to the consortium.  Based on the high-level budgets the consortium returned with lower level detail drawings and more a landscaping plan.  From this we carried out the slightly lower level elemental cost breakdown, while listing the potential P and G required.  We recommended a contingency fund, outlining all the aspects that were covered.
The project is currently in its full design phase.

Main Contractor variation pricing

Walker QS Consultants were asked to assist a main contractor in compiling project variations due to them falling behind. Variations were based on the drawings and site visits, then compiled in excel format to be easily transferred to the client’s template.  Full breakdowns of all variations along with relevant supporting information such as marked up drawings and quotes were provided.