Is our quote for your commercial project more expensive?
What you are paying for when you work with SWJ Consulting.
SWJ Consulting delivers a high level of service which may come at a ‘perceived’ premium but has proved time and time again to save the client in the long run. This is because we ensure we understand the brief from the outset and then provide a quote and stand by it. When comparing quotes, it’s important to understand what is included; a scope of works that are delivered for the least amount of money may not include extras: additional site visits, 3D modelling, amends and alterations. We look to include everything we would need to deliver a project into our quote, this is to offer peace of mind to our clients and safeguard both them and the end-user.
We take a thorough approach to all we do, ‘that’ll do, will never do’ is our unofficial motto. Like most trades in the construction, industry preparation is key to a successful project or outcome, and the same is true for structural engineering. Researching exactly what you are dealing with, challenging assumptions and exploring all options enables us to find the most practical and cost-effective solutions for clients.
Our promises to clients are:
- Communication – Transparency, clarity and authenticity
- Investigation – Practical, academic and technological
- Innovation – Using Virtual Design & Construction technology
- Delivery – Accountability, reliability, and clear pricing
- Accreditation – Reinforcing experience, learning and expertise
And these promises are born out in everything we do and reflected on how we structure our pricing and our quotes. The details of which we want to share so you understand what you are paying for when you work with SWJ Consulting.
How we work
You will see from our quote paperwork the stages we go through and the costs attributed to them. A more detailed explanation of our process follows.
Stage 1. Calculations and sketches
It is this initial design work that enables a surveyor to give an indicative price for the project. This stage is where conceptual thinking and sketches happen, which we send to the architect for comment. It is important we get the concepts right and get to grips with any challenges so that we can provide guidance on things like reinforcement estimates and the most appropriate foundation solution.
Some schemes need thrashing out to investigate options with sketches by hand before we commit any ideas to drawings. Clients can see how we would tackle the problem and we speak to them on how we would fix design issues before we move on any further.
This stage is approximately 40% of the thinking and design work, and where the most value is added.
Stage 2. Initial drawings developed
From the agreed sketches we will develop the design with the incorporation of any comments. At this point, 3D modelled drawings can be shared with all stakeholders and more information on timescales can also be shared.
The value of 3D drawings is that the client and architect can see how elements such as columns or arches can affect the space. They can then see if the actual size of the elements will, for example, foul the furniture layout. This is the client’s last chance to make any changes required.
Timescales of this stage will vary depending on any significant design changes. Our quote allows for updates and small amends if it is not a significant move away from the original brief. We generally allow a two-week period for comment from the client and their architects to give them time to make sure the design is right for them.
Stage 3. Detailed Designs
Once approved this point is known as design freeze. It is important that the client understands that if the design is not right for them at this point and they approve it they will end up disappointed because if they change their mind it means a whole lot of additional work, technical checks and more drawings, which will be costly.
This is because, with approval at the end of stage 2, we undertake a very detailed design. The design includes the completion of a full calculation package for specification, completion of additional details for drawings for building control submission, standard compliance checks and responses for the NHBC or building regulation authorities. We include all the details, that are not important for the wider scheme but are important for the build such as wall ties and propping details for lintels. This detail is required not only as instructions for the contractor but to make sure that what we’re proposing is compliant and gets building regulation and warranty approval.
Timings on getting our designs approved are at the behest of warranty company or local authority. It will depend on the workload and availability of their engineer and as such is out of our control. Generally, this stage is dealt with by the lead consultant of the project, which may be the architect. They will have pulled together a total package for approval including M&E, fuel and power conservation, renewable measures and the various disciplines within one package for review and approval.
Stage 4. Regulation authority approval
If the designs are returned with no comments or all questions are questions answered satisfactorily then the status of the drawings are changed from ‘technical approval’ status to ‘construction issue’ status. All dimensions added, including connection details if necessary and the reinforcement drawings are completed.
This is the final issue of the specification. Once the project reaches this stage there should not be any more design changes or alterations. At this point construction begins; any changes made to the plans once construction begins leaves the client vulnerable to additional charges from contractors.
It is quite common to have CDP, contractor design packages as part of the design. The design of these elements are done by specialists; so we check any drawings i.e. beam and block floor drawings, pre-cast floor drawings, roof trust layouts, fabrication and steelworks or connections designs to make sure it will all come together and that everything is in accordance with the info they were provided with. Sometimes clients/contractors accept attractive lower quotes without realising that the specification may not be what they need, hence the more competitive quote; the cheapest isn’t always the best. We can help solve any such issues and check that everything is in line with any assumptions that were made. This is a good example of an additional extra that other consultancies may not include in their quote. Whilst it is beyond our control what specialists supply, it is our responsibility to oversee the entire project and help protect our client from any costly mistakes or oversights.
Stage 5. Completion
Once construction is complete the designs change from ‘construction issue’ status to ‘as-built’ and we hand over all the details of the designs to be included in the CDM (Construction Design Management) operation and maintenance manual. This manual will include our drawings, updated for any amendments that needed to be made on site, so the contractors have accurate records of what changed if there were any changes.
It is important to have an accurate CDM report so that future owners of the property will be able to go back and assess how to make any changes, developments, or even demolitions safely. A comprehensive CDM is vital for safe modification and demolition.
Confidence in a comprehensive quote, backed by a set of professional promises.
As said before, SWJ Consulting will give a price and stick to it, with no hidden extras. The importance of getting everything right, at the right stages, is why SWJ Consulting does not cut corners, that is what is reflected in our process and our quotes. Completing projects in these clear stages means we are protecting the success of the project, the budget, and the client. Not identifying issues early on, because of a lack of investigation, research or asking the right questions makes clients vulnerable to additional cost and delays.
Read more about SWJ Consulting’s ethos here.
If you have any further questions on how we work or are looking for a company to provide an alternative tender bid then please give us a call on 01993 225 085 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org