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    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2008
    & how do I find one
    & how much will they charge?

    The Nursery is not going well

    The tenders came in at £420K......I have £180 to spend

    So once we have taken out the silly stuff (like oak skirting boards and block internal walls) I managed to get it down to £255

    If I lose the VAT on that I'm down to £215

    So major economies needed plus I guess builders that don't charge VAT....small ones - so I think I will need a project manager

    Am I right?
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2008
    Back to first principles. Why do you think a project manager is the answer? Can you describe the set up you were envisaging - I am guessing you had an Architect prepare a design, and were intending to manage the building phase yourself, with a cooperative and helpful builder? If I'm right, my first recommendation would be to back to your architect to discuss the situation. I'm a quantity surveyor myself and have to say that it is a tall order to reduce a £420K scheme to £180K - circa 60% reduction. This would require a radical redesign and rethinking of the whole scope/scale of work.

    You won't save the VAT by finding a non-VAT registered builder. The current threshold for VAT registration is £67,000 turnover p.a. and your scheme far exceeds this. You could save VAT by knocking down your existing building and starting again as this would qualify as a new building - not very green but, hey, VAT rules are not designed to be green. Alternatively, if your nursery business is VAT registered, you should be able to claim your VAT back.

    A couple of words of cation: how have you achieved the reduction from £420K to £255K - in consultation with the builder or unilaterally? It is rarely the case that you can straight cut things out without some compensatory factors elsewhere - e.g. the builder may expect to recover a certain value of overheads from the job and demand a higher percentage from a lower value of work. Secondly, all builders price differently, so if you are valuing your reductions based on the tender from one builder, do not expect that this is the value of saving you would make if you employed another builder - the next builder will have to price everything on his own terms.

    To answer your question (at last) it depends what you mean by 'project manager'. He may be a principal consultant who manages your design team (architect, surveyor, specialist engineers as appropriate) and builder on your behalf. Or he may be a hands-on site manager who directly organises sub-contractors, direct labour and materials procurement - i.e. acting as a builder, rather than a consultant. Usually, on a project of that the size you describe, you'll be referring to the builder type project manager, not the consultant. In such case, I would expect you could find such a fellow for around £1000-1250 per week and he'll be there full time on site. The consultant type may charge between 2and 4% of the project value, depending upon his brief and the value of the project (lower value project, higher percentage).

    If you would like to talk this through, I'm happy to oblige if you could provide a contact e-mail?
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2008
    Is this a nursery for plants or children?
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2008
    What is the floor plan area of this building?
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2008
    166 sqm


    That's the easy ones answered

    The price came down with the builders, they looked at the architects specification and have cut out the stuff that is lovely but costs silly money.

    They don't think they can cut it down any further & still mean it's worth them doing it

    I envisaged the project manager finding smaller builders and breaking in down into small chunks for the smaller (non VAT registered) builders/plumbers/electricians/carpenters to do

    I'm really not sure what else a project manager would do - make sure that the site is safe? Make sure the individual jobs were done well?

    My email is katymacb@hotmail.co.uk - as you can see I am on a very steep learning curve

    The barn cannot be knocked down because planning will not allow us to rebuild on the site - we can convert an existing structure but not replace it.

    VAT is a problem - the nursery will be exempt so cannot reclaim any VAT. If the builders could do it without the VAT I can afford it - but with the VAT I cannot borrow enough money

    Thanks for the advise so far - it is a tricky situation
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2008 edited
    Hi Katymac, some Project managers work in the way you suggest, by taking the job on a percentage fee basis and outsourcing the work in bundles to sub-contractors. These are paid directly by the Client and therfore remain self employed, and are responsible for their own tax affairs [meaning they are less likely to be VAT registered]. In my experience, this can only work effectively if the PM is full time on your site, ensuring that the subbies work in harmony and produce the desired result. Not easy and dependent on established working relationships.

    A further way around the VAT is to open an account in a Builders Merchant yourself, employing the PM to oversee day to day materialsrequirements. This will reduce the contract sum to PM and or subbies again reducing VAT

    Hope this helps

    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2008
    £2350 per sq m is exceptionally high for a refurbishment. It would be cheaper to do a new build: Central London flats cost less than this.

    To get this off the ground, you may need to find someone that can act as a design & project manager and shell out the work packages as individual contracts. To find a PM that knows how to do this economically and that has the contacts to make it happen will be a task and a half. You are in an area of the country that has economic strange rules (some of the items you will require can be more economically sourced in London than where you are whereas most are cheaper).

    At this point, if I were you, I would stop and find a friendly builder or QS: One who is a friend: Then ask them to look at the whole project to see where dramatic changes could be made. It may also be useful to Involve an engineer in this process. At the end of the process you may have to ask whether or not you have the right site. If you do not have the right site, then it may be worth considering cutting your losses.
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2008
    Cutting my losses

    If I don't do it here I won't be able to - it is something that has been addressed (rather a lot)

    So finding a builder/project manager is the way to go

    Goodness me - another chalenge
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2008
    A project manager means another 10% for something you could do yourself, it isn't rocket science. There is a recession coming, companies are already winding up business, you should be well placed to get some work done at the right price, but you will have to have your witts about you so you don't get ripped off or employ some no hopers. Surley part of the alternative building scene is to approach it in an alternative way, think outside the box. The usual builders will always charge the usual prices because there are people out there willing to pay top wack. I'd start by giving the plans to a builders merchants who quote for all the materials to you at trade price, then look at getting a team together of individuals from each trade and get a good dayrate price off them and an honest idea of timescale. Where in the world are you? There will need to be trust, but with some medium size builders going bankrupt, individual trusted tradesman could be the way to go. Greener too, no suits getting a free ride.
    • CommentAuthorPaulD
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2009
    Hello Katymac,

    We have just launched an online project planning and collaboration tool aimed at smaller building projects. I'll be happy to give you a free project for say six months in return for some feedback provided you are prepared to use the system and are reasonably computer literate (I guess you are why she would be using the forum).
    you can find out more here.

    if you decide to go ahead use the registration form and mention this post in the details when you register.

    I have come across hundreds of contracts managers in my time and I could only think of one that would be recommendable.
    • CommentAuthorGavin_A
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2010
    Posted By: KatymacThe tenders came in at £420K......I have £180 to spend

    £180k I presume...:wink:

    I can't see how anyone could knock that much of a redevelopment without redesigning it, so I'd expect the architect should be the first port of call with a brief to deliver a redevelopment that can be done for less than £170k including his fee (then you've got 10k as a (still rather low) contingency budget)

    If the architect knew your budget, then I'd think he actually ought to do the redesign for free being as they've obviously not delivered a realistic plan, unless you'd also been insistent on having loads of costly features, or you're actually asking the impossible

    I'd think that a really experienced and good project manager could save you money by taking the architects plans and using their experience to work them up in the most cost effective way, using experience from other sites to suggest alternative cheaper methods to the ones originally planned, plus managing the schedule of work and deliveries on site so that each job proceeded in order, with no trades waiting on other trades / kit to actually get on with their work / having to undo other people's stuff to get at their stuff, plus using their contacts to get you a good team of workers.

    whether they'd actually save enough money to cover their costs is another question, and one that really depends on how good you'd be at project managing yourself / how good the builder / trades were at self organising their work, not ripping you off etc.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2010
    The OP was 2008 so perhaps they've finished it by now?
    • CommentAuthorGavin_A
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2010
    oh bum... if not, then I reckon they defo could have done with a decent project manager;)
    • CommentAuthorDon_Munro
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2013 edited
    I would like to introduce myself my name is Don Munro my profession is building site manager or project manager. To answer some points the reasons why people like me are taken on are simple to ensure a project is built on time and on budget to the laid down standards to meet building control or if the contract demands bespoke. Since the crash in 2008 most of the work I have been taking on has been for private clients with issues like: his extension needs mini piles and a reinforced ground beam, or his fish farm has to pump water up a slope how can this be done, I did a deal with his neighbour to repair an old weir and fit a hydro electric generator, at the moment I am looking after a large house rebuild part time to ensure it meets the requirements. A lot of my work is involved in getting your build started and any contracts drawn up and the work all planed out so as to ensure each stage is built at the right time and finally ensure that all paper work is collected and signed off to hand over to you on completion. In some cases the client run’s the site and I just advise as and when required.
    • CommentAuthorecohome
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2013
    I wonder what happened?
    • CommentAuthornikhoward
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2013
    me too?
    I hate it when that happens - new thread, lots of posts, interesting story, relevant to me, might be able to add value, mind-a-churning but didn't spot newbie reawakening old thread..... deflated. Don-M best to mention that you are posting on an old thread. Ta
    • CommentAuthorDon_Munro
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2013
    Sorry just read the question, so I gave an reply did not look for a date.
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