Home  5  Books  5  GBEzine  5  News  5  HelpDesk  5  Register  5  GreenBuilding.co.uk
Not signed in (Sign In)


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.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

Buy individually or both books together. Delivery is free!

powered by Surfing Waves

Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome to new Forum Visitors
Join the forum now and benefit from discussions with thousands of other green building fans and discounts on Green Building Press publications: Apply now.

    • CommentAuthorLexy
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2010

    Can any one advise how much I should be paying someone to project manage and build a project estimated to cost approx £260,000. I have been quoted 30% on labour plus 16% on materials plus 10% on subcontracted work plus an hourly labour rate of £18/hour to completely manage and build the project. I really just want to know if these are reasonable rates for a job in central Scotland in the current economic climate. The project manager/builder was also the architect for the design stage. I haven't put the build out to tender.

    • CommentAuthormarktime
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2010
    I'd be surprised if the general consensus here didn't lift eyebrows at some of those add-on percentages. Why not ask for a fixed price and offer a bonus for timely or early completion? That way you have all your costs known and a carrot for finishing on time.
    • CommentAuthorTuna
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2010 edited
    Who estimated the project cost?

    Without some idea of what you're building, and to what standard, it's hard to judge whether you're getting a good deal or not.

    The labour rate seems reasonable by itself - but as we chose to project manage our build ourselves, I couldn't comment on the additional costs. Our 'labourers' helped us get a better discount from our local builders merchant - we get roughly the same discount as a small developer, despite being clueless self-builders. I'm not clear on why you should be paying a premium to your builder for materials?
    • CommentAuthormarktime
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2010
    "....despite being clueless self-builders". Mmmmm, that's modesty for you. From what I've seen, you are doing a fantastic job.
    • CommentAuthorcromar
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2010
    Makes me feel queasy knowing that your builder, architect and Proj Manager are all the same person. I've always found that at least having a different architect and builder is a Good Thing. More eyes to spot inconsistencies for a start.
    Sounds pricey to me too, but I wouldn't know what the going rates are. That's just based on the general cost of builders and architects in Edinburgh and a feeling that if those jobs are all the same guy then it's money for old rope for them.
    • CommentAuthorLexy
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2010

    The building will be a two story oak frame structure with larch cladding and slate roof. It will be roughly 105 sq metres in area so that is about 210 sq metres of new floor space. Walls and roof will be insulated to a very high standard using warmcell or similar. It will incorporate underfloor heating connected to a biomass boiler and will also make use of solar thermal and PV and a log stove with back boiler. it will house two bedrooms with ensuite shower rooms upstairs and a lounge hallway office shower room office and boiler/utility room downstairs. The work will include demolition of the existing extension that was impossible to insulate but the plan is to reclaim as much materials as possible from this to use on site. We hope that when it's finished it will be to a reasonably high standard.

    Do his rates still sound to high? I have mentioned in a cross posting in the general category that he has also offered to project manage, inc subcontracting, for £24000 exc VAT and then do the building work for a daily rate ( don't know what that is yet!) and 12% mark up on materials. Does this sound reasonable?
    • CommentAuthormarktime
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2010 edited
    This insistence on a daily rate tells me that your architect is unsure about how long the build will take so he is leaving that option open. What he is actually offering to do is to act as the main contractor and therefore you should be negotiating a fixed cost to build which would include his profit margin. If you accept that a 25% margin is fair that would give him 65,000 quid for a job that should finish within 6 months. That leaves just under 200 grand and you would be building overall at a 1.3K per m2 which is very generous I would imagine in Scotland but that depends on the quality of your finishes. To be frank it sounds expensive and you need to be getting a lot more quotes. Builders are bleeding so you should be able to get very keen prices.
    • CommentAuthorTuna
    • CommentTimeMar 31st 2010
    It seems to me that quite a few of the items on your check list are 'specialist' - in that a company who knows what they're doing will come along and fit the required kit to spec. Oak frame, biomass boiler, underfloor heating - from what I've seen these tend to be supplied by a relatively small number of companies. As such, if you're able to do a little bit of research, you should be able to find suppliers yourself and get them to deliver and install at a keen price. A good general builder should be able to do the rest at decent labour rates. That leaves me wondering what you're paying £24K for. Get a breakdown at least for all the large items to see where your money is going.

    Right now, in some areas the building market is dead. Labour rates should be good, and though material rates are creeping up, suppliers need the business so there are deals to be done. Don't ever accept the first quote you're given.

    I'd really recommend finding some local-ish houses that have been built the same way, and talking to the owners to find out who they went with and what their experiences were. A personal recommendation is worth a thousand good quotes. Also, go and see some examples of your builder's previous work of this type, to see if the final finish is up to your expectations and if the owners were happy with their work. It's not just about fit and finish, it's about managing the budget, timescales, keeping the inspectors happy, not annoying the neighbours and keeping the site in a good state.
    • CommentAuthorLexy
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2010
    He has now offered to do just the project management bit and put the building work out to tender. He is still asking £24k. For this he is offering "tendering, appointing and supervising subcontracts; design development and preparation of drawings; researching into alternative technologies and assisting in making grant applications"

    This represents approximately 9.2% of the build estimate. I read somewhere that an architect or Quantity surveyor might charge anywhere between 8% and 12%. 5% sounds much more reasonable at £13,000. I'd love to do the management myself but I don't have the time to spare right now so I'll need to pay someone else to take the headaches.

    To me the job seems quite complicated due to our requirement for FSC certified wood warmcell or equivalent insulation and larch cladding not to mention the PV, bomass boiler, etc. I'd be terrified to unleash a bog standard builder onto this job unsupervised as I know from previous experience they'll just put in what they can get cheapest!!

    Am I being naive?

    I think it unlikely that he will drop his fee by half but I suppose I can just keep pushing until he gets to the point of walking away. :-)
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2010
    I definitely think a project manager is essential if you want to achieve high targets in terms of build quality/insulation etc.
    As Tuna has said - get quotes from lots of people - they are a good way of seeing what the market is like and to use as a bargaining chip when you find a good builder. make sure you see examples of previous work and get feedback from clients. You don't want to end up with a builder who does a good job but pisses the neighbours off!

    Get quotes for the different sections - project management/main contractor etc - even if you stay with your guy it will inform you and that is invaluable in a project of this size. Check everything as many times as you need until you're clear! It's worth it!:bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorTuna
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2010
    Posted By: betterroofI definitely think a project manager is essential if you want to achieve high targets in terms of build quality/insulation etc.

    Maybe our experience is atypical, but our general builders have proven to be very conscientious and more than capable of doing excellent work, even when faced with techniques they've not used before. If Lexy is getting an oak frame from one of the usual manufacturers, the process of completing it is not so specialist that a decent builder cannot do it.

    If you already know you want FSC certified wood warmcell insulation, and an oak frame, what exactly is your project manager researching? Ask the suppliers and they can surely tell you your options and offer installation advice.

    I think in general you need to get to at least one of the homebuilding shows and talk to people. Whilst building well is a challenge, it's not rocket science, and there are plenty of people out there doing it. 24K is a full time salary for one skilled person for six months. Are your requirements so unusual that you need a skilled person working full time on project management for the duration of the build? Talk to some of the oak frame suppliers and see if they have had any projects in your area, and if they recommend any local builders.

    You've said that you don't have time to manage the, but you need to make time to put everything in place. A couple of day's research and phoning around now could save you thousands of pounds, even tens of thousands of pounds. You're putting a lot of faith in your only option now, and don't seem to have even followed up his previous jobs - so you've no idea if he has delivered the sort of project you're asking him to supervise.

    We can offer endless advice here, but there's really no substitute for you checking out your alternatives, talking to suppliers, other local projects and just meeting people face to face.
    • CommentAuthorTuna
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2010
    Out of interest, where will you be whilst the build is going ahead? Are you living on site?
Add your comments

    Username Password
  • Format comments as
The Ecobuilding Buzz
Site Map    |   Home    |   View Cart    |   Pressroom   |   Business   |   Links   

© Green Building Press