Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I challenge building owners to challenge their consultants

A soft, non-threatening challenge, can be done on any scale of building;
Point: For owners to get an appreciation of how well their consultants know the buildings they are in charge of.

Try it:
Book a time with your main consultant, the main person in charge.*
Pick up the last set of drawings, calculations and specifications and put them on the table.
Identify a vertical (imaginary) slice-of-cake, cut through your building;
Mark it up by hand on a plan or site view, use a ‘cake-slice’ – triangular, shape.

Ask your consultant to define  ALL the elements that are within that slice, starting from structure through to finishes, fittings and decorations.

Get them to quantify their findings, tell you the number and types of power plugs, the shape and colour of the skirting board, the brand of the suspended ceiling tiles, how many light fittings, any pipes?
What about aircon, vents or floor wastes?

No matter how big your building is, or how early in a speculative process is, you should get a meaningful answer, even procurement methods are flexible.**
Most importantly, observe your consultant. The most useful result you can get out of this isn’t the numbers but how the consultant handles the challenge.

You expect your GP to know what is inside their patients, it is reasonable to expect the same from your building designers.

*             I will expand on this in a further post – don’t want to prejudice your challenge
**           You can be following a “traditional”  design-document-build method, cutting a D&B deal or having a managed process implemented by a project manager, if you are having anything built, give this challenge a go.
For example even if you have been talked into a ‘managed process’ where everything is largely flexible, your professional should still be able to provide  parameters that translate into your building slice (square meter rates, zones, etc);

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