Cooper Kauffman Ltd  Chartered Quantity Surveyors
Chartered Quantity Surveyors
in the Caribbean for over 50 years

Quantity Surveying

Preliminary Cost Advice

Preliminary cost advice is given by us at the very outset of a project, even before the Architect's drawings are prepared, to indicate the probable region of cost, or assess the type and size of structure that can be erected for any given expenditure. Armed with this information and with estimates of maintenance and running costs, if required, we then prepare with the Client a budget for the project.

The project budget having been agreed, preliminary drawings follow from which we prepare a more detailed Approximate Estimate. Our cost advice then enables design decisions to be made with full knowledge of their financial implications.


Cost Planning

Every Client wants value for money. Value for money not only in respect of the capital cost, but also in respect of future running and maintenance costs. The quantity surveying profession has evolved a technique known as Cost Planning which enables cost advice to be used objectively during the design process on every aspect of the project.

Cost Planning involves a systematic analysis of the project which enables the price for each element to be valued against its performance requirements and aesthetic considerations.

After the initial feasibility studies and preliminary estimates have been completed we prepare the Cost Plan from the Architect's preliminary drawings. The Cost Plan breaks down a building into its various functional elements and allocates costs to these elements. In this way it is possible to ensure a proper apportionment of expenditure over the various elements. Proposals for various alternative materials and design solutions are costed as the overall design progresses and the cost implications are presented to the Client ensuring that all decisions are made with a knowledge of the overall cost of the project.

Effective Cost Planning will help to ensure that once a realistic estimate is agreed everything that follows is in accord with it, from the successful Contractor's tender to the final project cost. In planning construction costs, maintenance and running costs are borne in mind, thus helping to achieve a project that is cost effective throughout its life.

Cost planning means improved economy standards and so better value for money. Constant monitoring means that the risk of over-spending can be spotted early and prompt corrective action taken.


Contractual Methods

No two projects are the same. All projects are individual challenges and need individual solutions. Not surprisingly, therefore, the construction industry has evolved a range of procedures, the most common of which are set out below.

Competitive tendering is the normal method and can allow either for fixed price tenders or tenders which provide for cost fluctuations.

Negotiated tenders enable the whole project to be planned from the outset with a single Contractor, chosen for a particular expertise or construction system.

Package deals or 'design and build' is the method by which the Contractor undertakes the whole task of design and construction.

Choice of the most suitable procedure is an important decision taken at an early stage, here we will advise on the best kind of Contract for the project. Even the package deal is no exception to the rule that the Client needs independent and experienced financial advice.


Contractor Selection

Choosing the Contractor is where the Chartered Quantity Surveyor can give frank, sound and practical advice.

Overheating or work shortage in the local construction industry, industrial relations records, past performances in meeting standards and time targets, the quality of management, all these can affect not only the level of tenders but the chances of the project being successfully realised.

We will take all these factors into consideration in recommending Contractors to be placed on a tender list or the selection of the most suitable Contractor with whom to negotiate.

The advice in the selection of Contractors also applies to the choice of Nominated Sub-Contractors and Suppliers.


Tender Documentation

Competitive tendering of one kind or another remains the usual basis for construction contracts and Bills of Quantities are fundamental to this process.

Bills of Quantities translate the Consultants Drawings, Plans and Specification into words and quantities so ensuring that each Contractor tenders on exactly the same basis as his competitors. During the construction of a project the Bills of Quantities provide a basis for the effective Financial Management of the Contract.

Where other forms of tendering procedure are used, Bills of Quantities can be modified to suit the particular circumstances.

On receipt of tenders we examine them to check that errors have not been made and then submit a detailed report to the Client.


Cost Control

A full Cost Plan prepared during the design stages and the Bills of Quantities will be used as the basis for cost control during the construction process.

Variations to the project during construction are often necessary, sometimes to take account of the Client's changing needs, sometimes to overcome site conditions which could not be foreseen. We will identify all proposed and actual variations, estimate for cost and report their impact on the probable final cost, so that corrective steps may be taken elsewhere in the work, to keep expenditure within the initial budget.

As part of this systematic control of expenditure during the progress of the project, we will prepare at regular intervals financial statements which keep Client and Consultants fully informed of the up-to-date financial position and the anticipated final cost of the project.


Valuation of Work in Progress

Under most forms of building contracts, the Contractor is paid each month for the work he has done during the preceding month. It is our duty to value the work carried out during the period in question, together with the value of any variations which may have been authorised, and submit to the Architect a recommendation regarding payment on account.

If the Architect is satisfied that the work involved has been carried out in accordance with the terms of the Contract, he will certify the amount due to the Contractor in accordance with our Valuation.


Final Account

Cooper Kauffman's duties end with the calculation of the final cost. This is achieved by preparing a Final Account for the project which embodies all variations and adjustments of Nominated Sub-Contractors and Suppliers Accounts and of any other matters for which the Contract allows.

The Final Account is agreed with the Contractor and provides a fair and equitable settlement in accordance with the Contract Conditions.

We will also prepare any analysis of the Final Account which the Client may require.

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