Posts Tagged 'Bills of Quantities'

Some things never change…

pexels-photo

Some things never change do they?

I was just looking back at some old postings and re-read with interest my thoughts on
‘time to tender’, and I really can’t believe that nothing much has changed, or has it…..

Probably, as back then I was referring mainly to cds and dvds.

Now they are a thing of the past too and its all shared files/folders and portals.

Was it only 5 years ago that I made those comments?

The thing is despite everyone’s best endeavours (like that phrase – well the legal boys do) we are still in much the same place. Well us on the receiving end of what is churned out by professional design teams that is.

You see there still is no standard way in which information is distributed, filed or catalogued on any project, let alone two projects that might even be the same!

Why can we not get our act together and issue things in a sensible and logical fashion?

Everytime I receive a link to a download I click to get the information wondering how long its going to take me to understand what I’ve been sent, let alone what might be missing.

Will BIM give us some form of structure, will the professional bodies get together and put some order to things. I just don’t see it………….. I’d just better get on with it I suppose and deal with……………it’s just that it’s such a waste of time and resource, and that’s what irks me!

If you’ve time take a look at the Government Construction Strategy document for 2011 that I referred to, and then look at the 2016 version. Apparently we are now going to make 33% savings as opposed to 20% savings!

 

 

Two stage tendering with a twist

Here’s a variation on a theme for two stage tenders………..

How many have you been used to the traditional way of two stage tendering, simply price the prelims and give a percentage for profit and overheads.

Two stage tendering

Well maybe no more.

How many of you have seen this, or variations on this of late? Two stage tender, first stage is for the usual priced aspects of prelims, overheads and the like but now here’s the twist….

A large element of the project is to be priced and fixed at the first stage.

Other elements are to be budget costs, although in reality a design does exist and is provided with the tender documents.

I’ve seen this twice in the last month having never seen this before.

What do you think to this, a good way forward?

Is this the start of clients being able to avoid getting the run around after months of negotiations with a contractor only to find their budget has been blown?

Or is it something Contractors will shun viewing it as a risk not worth entertaining in the current economic climate for them?

Oh and by the way it’s a design and build project too, but you guessed that anyway.

BIM Rubbish In…….Rubbish Out!

It’s been a while………but here’s a link to a guest blog I’ve done for Pauley Creative on my thoughts on BIM ……..

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

We’ve done it all before…

I read with interest the article in ‘building’on Friday by Paul Morrell titled making a Virtue of Necessity and what struck me from his message most of all was that we’ve done all what he’s looking for before!

The essence of the message I get from him and the cabinet office document ‘Government Construction Strategy’ is for change through liked minded individuals, companies groups and organisations. Yes we need an educated client with consistent application and yes we need an integrated proposition from the industry too.

And here’s my experience  – it’s all been done before in the private sector!

Who and how?

With Bovis Construction (as then) and M & S.

When?

Way back on 13th December 1945 at Stepney Green is when it all began……we never learn do we?

 How did it work?

Simple really……….

The client had a need to build new stores to expand after the war and it integrated Bovis along with the professional team to do just this.

The client had an expansion programme that Bovis worked with, so it new in advance what was being built and where so resources could be planned and managed

A select supply chain was established so buying power could be used, preferred rates/prices and/or schedules of rates were set up across the country.

You knew if you were working on a store in Epsom that a ‘Truro’ pelmet detail meant that it was the same detail that had been used at the Truro store.

The contracts were simple, Bovis was paid a fee for its management skills and expertise, the supply chain prices were transparent through to the client too.

At the outset of the project an estimate of prime cost was established with Bovis and the consultant qs and you worked together as a team to make it work – on the same side with the same objectives.

The contract to the subcontractors were 2 sides of paper – the thing that nobody liked on it was the infamous pay when paid clause – but that’s now outlawed isn’t it?

And it worked because everyone trusted each other throughout the entire process

So here you are Mr Morrell here’s the blue print for your strategy –it’s a document called The building process – a case study from Marks and Spencer Limited published in 1970 you’ll have to get hold of it from the national archives mind.

Here’s three quotes for you from ‘building’ magazine in July 1970 on the document too…..

  1. It is the forward looking methods employed, the enlightened manner in which primary and secondary objectives are defined, the effective co-ordination of multi-disciplinary skills and attitudes and the mutual trust and respect created by the relationship enshrined in the Marks and Spencer/Bovis method of procedure that some future improvements in the general management of building should be sought…..
  2. The case study highlights the fact that Marks & Spencer over the years consistently have simplified procedures by reducing the amount of paperwork employed and in consequence the company has placed increasing reliance upon direct personal contact and individual responsibility. The combined effect of these twin objectives has been to create a real feeling of belonging to the Marks & Spencer organisation whether the individuals concerned are directly or indirectly employed.
  3. The long and close relationship between the staffs of Marks & Spencer, their professional design teams, of Bovis and of various specialist sub-contractors must have contributed in large measure to the success story recounted in the bulletin and in particular to the recent development and application of computer techniques to location billing, material scheduling, manpower planning, expenditure control and the monitoring of progress.

I found my copy of a commemorative brochure produced by Bovis in 1970 to celebrate the long working relationship, and for these quotes. It is also the source of the pictures and quotes….couldn’t find anything on line at building!

So…….it’s been done before……… and it worked!

P. S. The document produced by Bovis is a fascinating read and if they let me I’ll try and make it available on line, its quite a story!

Time to Tender?

Why is it that the time taken to put a bid together these days seems to go on at such a frenetic pace? Is it me getting older or is something else going on?

I’ve bemoaned the design teams before about the apparent lack of sending out co-ordinated information on cd’s/dvd’s and remote ftp servers and saying here it is go and get what you need we’ve given you everything you want.

These days though with the click of a few buttons we are being sent more and more information to wade through and less and less time to understand it. And it comes in such confusing layouts/styles/folders that sometimes you just don’t know where to begin.

I had a contractor call over to see me last week with another project to look at, and it made me stop and think about how we deal with things.

The scenario goes…. (insert the names of relevant folders or projects to suit your own story as you wish)

He hands me the cd of information, up pops the folder on screen and then the fun begins…..

What are we looking for?

Well some sort of guidance as to what we’ve got for a start would be good.

Where is that.

I don’t know have a look in that folder there marked folder 1

no, nothing in there…..says contract to follow

ok, look at that one there marked folder 2

Look it’s got dwg and pdf versions of the drawings!

Ah, good a nice list, what are the drawing titles?

I don’t know there aren’t any it’s just a list of numbers

Where’s the drawing register

There isn’t one, well at least not in this folder

And so it goes on…

Now I know the government is talking about making a 20% saving in its Government Construction strategy document that it has just published, but I seriously reckon that if we got our act together and introduced a standard way of issuing electronic information we could save many man hours of each of us trying to fathom out what on earth it was we were looking at that would go towards this target.

Perhaps that could be included somewhere in the very first item of the Action Plan on co-ordination and leadership?

Thanks to Zolna Murray for the inspiration for this blog for her discussion on LinkedIn ‘How to booby trap a contractor’ and the blog she posted on the 27th May with her list of her top 5 booby traps

Partnering, is it working?

Let me tell you what I think of partnering, or collaboration as some may put it on projects.

And then you tell me if you agree with my views.

Working together in sweet harmony just isn’t working in the construction industry in my humble opinion, no matter hard all of us may try. It’s always been the lowest price that wins no matter what.

Why?

Well I believe every stakeholder, no matter who they are, has a commercial interest somewhere along the line in the outcome of any given project.

Don’t they?……….Think about it.

Forget about shared goals and fluffy stuff like that, at the moment its hard nosed business attitudes that prevail. Isn’t it?

And depending upon which end of the collaboration chain you’re on will depend upon how you view it to be working.

Wikipedia defines collaboration as: ‘working together to achieve a goal….’

Constructing excellence has a definition of partnering as: “Partnering is a management approach used by two or more organisations to achieve specific business objectives by maximising the effectiveness of each participant’s resources. It requires that the parties work together in an open and trusting relationship based on mutual objectives, an agreed method of problem resolution and an active search for continuous measurable improvements.”

So, the next project you are asked to work in collaboration with a client, design team, contractor, subcontractor, supplier are you all going to have the same goal? Well that depends on the goal doesn’t it I hear you say. Getting the building handed over on time, to the right quality and to budget are the normal acceptable goals aren’t they.

But making a decent return out of it too? Working on a cost-reimbursable, target cost, open book with a percentage addition for on-cost and profit?

Is that part of it? Yes, it should be.

So my point is, it’s a commercial world, everyone is looking after their own business interests at the end of it all. So to see true collaboration some big barriers have got to be broken down, and a truly trusting partnership formed between all parties.

Will that ever happen?

 No, not at the moment……but wait until BIM really comes into its own, then you will see the cultural change that this will demand, that in my opinion will change the way we work in this industry in a very significant way.


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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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