If I was your clients QS…..
Settle down… I know most residential homeowners do not engage a QS to look after the financial side of their project for them, but guess what? It IS becoming more common, and its something the banks are cottoning onto as a very appealing way to manage the fiscal responsibility of money that has a lending component.
So, what would I do?
Firstly, I’d be looking at getting a fixed price contract from you. And you would be tendering for it. However, I’d do the right thing and give you and probably two other builders a schedule of quantities (SoQ) to tender from. An SoQ is a full measure of all materials for a project, the idea is that if you and other guys pricing the same thing have one of these, then you are all singing off the same song sheet as you are using the same measure. It also makes things WAY easier for me, (your clients QS) to complete a tender analysis so we can figure out who is the winning bid. I’ll also be clarifying things, like time frame requirements, payment schedules etc.
If you win, then we will sign up a contract outlining everything you tendered for, including the time frames you have committed to, liquidated damages (that’s one I’ll pull out if I’m having a REALLY bad day). The payment schedule and milestones will all be laid out, and the start date confirmed.
I’ll probably also put in place a schedule of communications, a document outlining how often we will meet to discuss the projects (usually in line with progress claims), and also how I expect variations to be dealt with. Usually, I’d follow the NZIA format for VO’s, they are processed in writing and there is a key as to if they are VO’s that require sign off, priced up first etc.
I'm Fighting For My Client's Dollar
When you send me your progress claim, I’ll be coming to the site to sign it off and make sure it's legit. There will be no claiming of anything unless I have seen it completed, and no claiming of offsite materials unless I have seen them and photographed them.
If anything goes sideways, I’ll be expecting you to get in touch with me asap. I’ll be fighting for every single dollar of my client’s money, so I won’t be letting ANY extra costs through unless it is required contractually. Basically, if it’s an oversight of yours, then suck it up buttercup.
Sound scary? Yip. I’m a meanie for sure. However, me being client-side has some benefits. You WILL get paid fairly for a job that you were given an SoQ for….. You also WON’T have to have money conversations with the client, that’s my job. I’ll also manage the paperwork side of everything so we are all on the same page the whole time about where the money sits…. Something you guys would normally be responsible for but often do badly, or not at all. The timeframe would be managed carefully as I would be ON YOU to make sure everything was done in the outlined time frames… but that also means you would know when you could start your next job with certainty. Scope creep would NOT be a thing.
So next time you price a job…… pretend there is a ‘me’ working for your client. Make sure you tag appropriately so you are in a good position to get those variations and for goodness sake be accurate, cos I’ll take no prisoners!!!