Croyland Building Surveyors

Residential and commercial property surveyors

Contact us on 01223 955611

Call us on 01223 955611

Advice on Appointing a Contractor...

Croyland Building Surveyors are pleased to provide these introductory guides to specific surveying topics. We find that they give our clients a good understanding of the potential issues that may arise in properties of all descriptions. These guides also serve as an introduction to the work which we are able to undertake.

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The appointments made early in any project are critical to its eventual outcome. Large clients such as Government Departments and major institutions often have their own experts dealing with procurement. Most commercial clients are used to dealing with suppliers of all sorts and are highly skilled at negotiating a contract. It is crucial to their business and is an essential part of the day job. We all enjoy meeting new people and learning new skills. But how much time can you justify learning the ropes in the construction industry if you’re not procuring building work on a regular basis?

The obvious answer is to employ a good building surveyor who will have the advantage of years of experience. However, if you really think you’ve got time to do it yourself, then some basic pointers might include:

  • Pre-qualification: sieve out a shortlist using basic criteria: location; market sector; relevant technical qualifications; insurances; H&S standards; compliance with your own policies.
  • Track record: how long have they been in business and what have they done?
  • References: go and see past jobs and speak to past clients.
  • Resilience: check that they have adequate resources to meet your demands, and that their finances are strong enough to see you to completion and beyond.
  • Match: are they on your wavelength and do they sympathise with your objectives?
  • Analyse: avoid holding a beauty parade. Instead, set down measureable criteria for selection.

When it comes to agreeing a contract you really do need to get professional advice. Every job is different and involves thousands of inter-connected tasks across numerous trades. There is too much scope for misunderstanding and miscommunication, even without deliberate corner-cutting and skulduggery. Whatever care you take over selection, the contractor is working for profit and you are on his ground. You need a proper contract backed up with proper contract documents.

There are several types on contract in common use. The main difference between them is in the degree of design being carried out by either party. “Traditional” building contracts had an architect/ surveyor/ engineer producing fully detailed designs that were agreed with the client and then passed to the contractor to build. The client, through the designer, takes responsibility for the design and has full control over what gets built. In many cases, however, there are advantages in using a contractor’s experience or specialist knowledge in the design process. If the client has only functional requirements, there might be advantages in letting the contractors build it their way. The contractor is responsible for meeting the stated requirements but the client passes over some of the control. This is known as “Design and Build” and is most commonly used in the commercial fitting-out industry.

There are text books on all this, and much more besides. This is only the sketchiest of introductions and must not be relied on!

  • 153 St Neots Rd

  • Hardwick

  • Cambridge

  • CB23 7QJ

  • Registered Office

  • 171 - 173 Gray’s Inn Rd

  • London

  • WC1X 8UE

  • Registered in England and Wales

  • Registration number 7459659