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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2020
    Ditto for me Tom, with perhaps the notable exception that whilst I work on an hourly rate against billed hours, I tend to also provide a guaranteed lump sum cost that is only exceeded by agreement and with documented details of the change control requested.

    eg, I'm happy to evaluate any number of heating options and overheating risk analysis in conjunction with the Architect's maturing fenestration strategy on an hourly rate, but then we settle on a preferred strategy and the design is developed on that basis. If then, the client or other party changes their mind, then that is a clear item of change control and is billed accordingly

    I guess at the end of the day all we are really costing is risk, and managing what risk must remain with the client, what can be absorbed and managed and what needs to be passed on to the constructor (clearly and without ambiguity, so they can price for it)

    We paid an hourly rate to most of our trades. If we made a job complicated, it got expensive. That's fair and sensible. It also, assuming you trust your team, incentivises a high quality job over speed of delivery. The worst performed part of our build was the erection of the SIP frame. It had been contracted out by the SIP company at a fixed price, the contractors hadn't visited site and the build was more complicated (and took longer) than they expected. We spent much more that it would have cost to pay them properly sorting out their poor work and 'at limit of acceptable tolerance' construction.

    I've never understood and always tried to avoid %age based fees. The project management/architect/bricklayers job is the same if I choose a bottom of the range brick or an expensive one. Why should l pay more to the PM because I"ve chosen a 50k kitchen over a 5k kitchen? Often the more expensive item is better/more accurately made and easier to build with or install.

    (same as estate agents for that matter - effort and overheads are the same to sell a 100k house as a 1000k house)
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2020
    Posted By: Simon StillWe paid an hourly rate to most of our trades.

    Yes, same here. I've no problem with paying an hourly rate for trades, but professionals it's a different matter. Medical is usually 'free' because of the NHS, but on odd occasions they quote a fixed price for a particular piece of work. Lawyers I avoid as much as possible having had various poor experiences, but again I'd expect a fixed price for a conveyance or suchlike. Estate agents aren't professionals, unless you count thievery as a profession.
    • CommentAuthorSimon Still
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2020 edited
    It wasn’t the professional/trade distinction I was getting at. If it’s a known quantity of work (eg flood search report) it can be fixed- maybe bricklaying (number of bricks)? If it’s unknown then you’re asking someone to price in risk. Pay by the hour and if you make the job easy you get it cheaper. That’s irrespective of it being desk based or physical work.

    My suspicion is that DIY self-builders get higher fixed prices because they're more likely to be 'demanding/change their minds, screw up the scheduling and have people sitting around so if you can manage the build properly you can benefit from paying day rates.
    Agree completely with FT/Barney/SS - exactly how I work too...likely over 100 years of hard earned experience between us, all saying the same thing, and all on this forum wanting the best enviornmental / value-for-money / lifestyle outcome for our clients...whilst making a fair wage ias reward for our expertise :cool:
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2020
    DIY Self Builders are the absolute worst clients in terms of change - which is where the risk comes from

    As occasional or inexperienced constructors in terms of acting as a client and also acting in many cases as a totally inexperienced Project Manager, they need clear guidance as to the implications of change - and are often offended that it costs more - I've lost track of hearing" But it's only a small change in X or Y, why does that cost more" - accompanied by a lot of metaphorical hand waving.

    Most tradesmen I know price accordingly for DIY self build clients - an example is a plumber friend who was told that the pipes feeding a towel rail in a bathroom should have come through the wall (obvs) not through the floor - and should have been chrome plated. No problem, except he was told this after the carcassing was done, and the marble tile floor was laid.

    DIY Clients are great to work with, they are often really interesting in terms of their ideas, aspirations etc but they sure are a nightmare of organization and unplanned change and the industry prices accordingly.

    That's not to say however, that there is a fair amount of "How much can they pay" when costing out jobs - never leave any money on the table, sort of thing.

    Probably worth mentioning that it is quite rare that fees are actually paid, based on out-turn construction cost - although a % of that out turn cost is a useful top down guide to support a bottom up fee bid if used properly - eg the design fees on a 20,000m2 office are not double that for a 10,000m2 office as there is a lot of repetition etc


    • CommentAuthorBeau
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2020
    Thanks all for the comments.
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