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    • CommentAuthorwellanna
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008 edited
    Does anyone know of an "official" definition of the term "PC Sum", or if not, perhaps their own understanding of it? I can't seem to find anything obvious from a number of Google searches.

    I'd particularly like to know if a PC Sum set aside for something like "sanitary ware" in a building contract, should also be used to pay for the labour charges for fitting the selected items. I understood the PC Sum to be solely for the supply of selected materials, and any labour charges should have already been accounted for in the tendered contract price.

    Is it also "acceptable" for a contractor to take a "profit charge" (10%) out of the PC Sum?

    Cheers, Neal.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008 edited
    I think PC sum refers to Prime Cost Sum and differs from a provisional sum.
    It is used for specialist items not covered in the bill of quantities a provisional sum is an estimate for an unconfirmed task.

    It is a sum that has been allowed to cover labour and materials in carry out a task.

    The building contract should determine whether profit is added afterwards.
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    As nigel's comments
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    My understanding is that it is a cost (including profit) put in as a rough guess for the price of say sanitary wares.

    Were a client to supply the goods then the contractor could ask for 10% loss of profit but then if costs something to order it etc so probably net = zero

    I have never asked for this as it leaves such a bad taste in the clients mouth.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008 edited
    (Whoah, big flash-back to a previous life in a civil engineering firm.)

    The usual position is that all items that are "PC Sum" are initially given value estimates by the client (or whoever is drawing up the tender documents) and their values are, effectively, removed from the tendering process. This would normally be to cover items to be supplied/fitted by a Nominated Sub-contractor - i.e. a supplier that the client insists on using and whose goods or services must be used by the main contractor. The logic being that whoever wins the tender process will have to use the same supplier at the same cost so it can't be a differentiation factor in the bids.

    Whether the values used have any correspondance with the actual costs is immaterial as the actual values are simply slotted in when they are known as the build progresses.

    A % figure to cover the administration of this for the main contractor should be the subject of a clause in the contract. Whether the PC Sum covers fitting or only supply should be stated in the tender documents drawn up by the client.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    The Contractor will have calculated his profit, o/heads on the basis of the PC Sum figure given, and will be entitled to an adjustment to same if the eventual sum is bigger (or smaller - you wish!)
    • CommentAuthorTheDoctor
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2008 edited
    PC usually means Practical Completion in contract terms.

    to add to the above..

    PC in this case is probably 'Provisional Cost', usually referred to as a provisional sum.

    These are inserted into a contract for areas and items of work that are not well enough defined for full and detailed pricing. Useful tools to get things moving. The more Provisional sums in a contract - the less cost certainty there is

    kitchen and bathroom fittings, and finishings like tiles etc are a prime example. i.e. there is a provisional sum of £XXX to allow for standard fittings, but allows for you to choose what you like after the contract has started. The sum is just that - provisional, allowing you to budget, and for the contractor to budget timing, overheads and profit against something. You can spend more, or less than these sums as you wish.

    you COULD do a whole job as a provisional sum, but you would be had over a barrel until raw (repeatedly)

    ted and tom are right too - never smaller, and includes work by nominated subs
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2008
    Basically I agree with the OP. Say you were having a bathroom gutted, retiled and a new suite fitted replaced. If the quote said "PC Item - sanitary ware" that would normally be just for the purchase of the sanitary ware. Labour would normally be included elsewhere.

    If you choose sanitary ware that's requires a lot of additional work (eg a sunken bath or a built in TV) then the additional labour (eg for fitting the TV and its aerial) wouldn't normally be covered. Likewise if you choose a shower fitting that need a bigger flow rate to the old one you can't expect the builder to install a new larger water main to the house. The exception would be if you'd told him in advance that addidional work would be required.

    If you want the freedom to supply the items yourself then best make sure they are listed as "client supply items" rather than "PC items". It's worth noting that builders may well be able to get the suite cheaper than you can.
    A PC sum = Prime Cost Sum

    It is not a provisional sum.

    PC can mean practical completion but not in this context.

    BUT.... People often use the two terms interchangeably to mean 'estimate'...

    Either term is attached to an item in the contract documents, there is no automatic assumption of supply and fit or supply only or fit only.

    If for eg you have a Schedule of work and standard form of contract you should go through it with the QS and/or contract administrator (typically the ARB registered architect), that's their job after all.

    If the term is used by a contractor in the absence of above you should confirm in writing with the contractor exactly what he means.
    • CommentAuthorTheDoctor
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: James Norton</cite>A PC sum = Prime Cost Sum

    (typically the ARB registered architect), </blockquote>

    there is no other sort of Architect. One cannot call oneself an architect without ARB registration.
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2008 edited
    Quite right, but there are also Architectural Technologists and Architectural Technicians [who have there own royal charter - CIAT]
    Posted By: Mike Georgethere is no other sort of Architect.

    my point exactly...


    PS of course there are also the people who call themselves Architects who are in breach of the 1997 Architects Act...
    • CommentAuthorVenk
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2008
    all of these - provisional cost limit entered for items about which the parties involved can not agree price/extent of supply at start - as in any contract such sums are subsequently converted to contract variations once the details are known. Supplier and purchaser of course have to agree what is being supplied and cost.
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2008 edited
    Posted By: James Norton
    Posted By: Mike Georgethere is no other sort of Architect.

    Hey, did I say that? Anyway, AT's tend to only do the technical bits and leave the arty farty stuff to the Architects :bigsmile:
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Mike George</cite>[AT's tend to only do the technical bits and leave the arty farty stuff to the Architects]</blockquote>

    Don't get me started on that one...

    And yes why does sit say that you wrote that Mike....? :confused:

    No idea, wasn't me govnr
    • CommentAuthorLizM
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2008
    Wish there was an engineers' act...
    • CommentAuthorliberteeen
    • CommentTimeAug 23rd 2011
    am just reading a hearing of professional misconduct by an architect and came across this thread

    the case is based on the misunderstanding of provisional sum and
    PC sum

    some terrible advice above

    PC sum = prime cost sum
    it is not provisional and should not be confused ths is critical

    provisional sum is a guess

    a PC sum could be £10k for the kitchen, that is what the client has to spend including labour
    It can ofcourse be varied but is necessary to allow the client to know how much the whole comtract will cost at the outset. It is more complex than this with different contracts but good to start with knowing the terms exactly

    these are 'terms of art' in contract law. Maybe that is what the above comments refer to about architects doing the arty bit. Serious business of yiou get it wrong as an architect.
    • CommentAuthortiimjp1
    • CommentTimeAug 23rd 2011
    Lots of people commenting with incorrect information is not at all helpful some are correct lol

    PC Sum = Prime Cost Sum (well done James and Liberteen) it is a sum for an item based on a good guess the best example (when i was a building estimator) was say £15 for a roll of wallpaper. The contractor / decorator would then price for the fitting of such and include a percentage profit / overheads usually at an agreed rate (say 2.5%). This does also go for things like sanitaryware, kitchen units, roof tiles, etc, etc. It is then the responsibility of the client or his design team to finalise the chose of product.

    A Provisional sum is completely different being a best guess to cover either a nominated sub-contractor or an item of unknown work, like underground works, removal of asbestos etc and a percentage rate would be again added to cover profit / overheads. Provisional sums need to be very closely monitored and where possible a fixed price should be agreed at the earliest possible point.

    PC is totally different no confusion it "practical completion" and is the point where the client has reasonable handover / usage of the works carried out. This is also where half the monthly retention is released to contractor unless your silly enough to have paid the dodgy builder upfront :D

    and lastly ARB whats that as far as im aware is the RIBA did i miss a change (if i did i apologise for my ignorance)


    So Pc sum = estimated material costs for specific item
    • CommentAuthortiimjp1
    • CommentTimeAug 23rd 2011
    Yes lol

    can include labour and plant costs too but usually just materials

    Usually things where the contractor can price the fitting costs without knowing the actual product. client may decide on wallpaper at more per roll or less and adjustments made to contract price. can be for Tiling, laminate floor etc etc.

    Ideally sort out all the details early to save having any PC or Provisional sums as they can bite u in the neck and draw blood very quickly.

    note to people including me, don't give comments unless you are correct unless you state its a guess or should i say "provisional Comment" oh PC again :)
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