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New Build in Surrey

Comparing the demands

Our choice to use a project manager was driven by the following factors

Eliminate key man risk/Diversification:

By engaging a main contractor, we felt that we were placing our eggs in one

basket, and if there was a breakdown in relationship between us, we would

have to engage another main contractor to take over the whole job (with cost

and time implications). We would also be at the mercy of the main

contractor's priorities and limited to the availability of his workforce (a

main contractor typically has to juggle more than one job to generate a

reasonable income). Conversely with the project manager/subcontractor route,

if there were any issues with one subcontractor (that couldn't be resolved

by the project manager), we would have to replace just that subcontractor.

Timeliness of (proceed-able) quotes:

Our architect was based within the M25 as were the builders he used and

recommended. Prior to starting the project (early 2016) we obtained quotes

from these builders but were typically looking at a year for them to be

available, such was the demand. In contrast, Vince Holden was able to source

quotes within a couple of weeks (and schedule project start when it suited

us) - subcontractors being less likely to be booked up months in advance.

Reduced duration of project:

A main contractor is likely to have a small (employed) workforce that he

calls upon, and this relatively limited amount of manpower can hinder

progress of the job. In contrast, by undertaking the PM/subcontractor route

(and with efficient planning) - it was possible to get multiple teams of

people working on the job at any one time (we counted 18 tradesmen over the

course of one day!).

Costs - flexibility:

Using a PM granted me more flexibility on various items of the project that

allowed cost savings while still achieving the same level of quality. For

example, we agreed that replacing the water main using a mole rather than

digging a trench would be just as efficient and would provide a reasonable

cost saving - all that we had to do was schedule in a subbie for that piece

of the work. With a main contractor my perception would be that he would

want to do things his own way.

Costs - absolute:

Breaking the quotes into specific subcontractor schedules of work allowed me

to benchmark the numbers against those provided by my QS and see where we

may be able to introduce optimisations. We felt that this was a more cost

efficient approach that the main contractor route. Having the experience of

a PM on board allowed us to introduce cost savings that the architect may

not have thought about - using tiles other than Spanish slate on the roof was a

significant saving.

Independent judgement on the quality of work:

Having someone on board with a large amount of building experience that was

representing us provided a great deal of comfort, both during each piece of

work (for example agreeing with ground-workers the best routing for the

drains) to agreeing a definitive snagging list when work was complete.

Quality of tradesmen:

It makes sense for a PM to have a contacts book full of subbies he can trust

as this will most likely require less intervention from him and he can have

an easier life! Various people that came to see the build as it progressed

were impressed with the quality of work and our neighbours commented on how

friendly and considerate the builders were.

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