Appointing Builders for Your Home Improvement Projects
Builders are well positioned to manage a project, because it is their project too. No matter who else is involved, from architect to structural engineer, the builder is still the principal player in any building programme. He is the one who actually sets the bricks in the mortar and secures the timbers and joists (or oversees the people who do), and generally operates at the sharp end of the construction process. If the builder doesn’t do his job properly, then the project is in big trouble.
In addition, if you are fortunate enough to be able to employ a Chartered Builder for your project, he will be well qualified and will have explicit project management training, in accordance with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) code of practice. The CIOB suggests that its members are well placed to act as ‘independent client advisers’, understanding users’ needs and objectives. It suggests they should be engaged right at the start of the project to give impartial guidance on how to proceed.
A builder certainly understands the costs, the problems which can be caused by the interaction of all the contractors, and the range of other problems likely to arise. However, having a builder to manage the project could potentially result in a conflict of interests when it comes to explaining away delays, or negotiating more money for extra work owing to unforeseen circumstances.
The case for appointing a builder
• The builder shares the risk with the client. On a domestic job in particular, you are very much ‘in it together’ since it is a joint enterprise where you trust him with your house, but he also invests time and money and trusts you to pay him on time.
• The builder knows the job inside out, and what needs to happen, where and when, better than anyone.
• Part of a builder’s job has always been people management and organisational skills. And a domestic-scale building project is not a hugely complicated management operation.