Friday, 30 January 2015

Build costs going through the roof...

The recovery is bringing its own challenges. As the market picks up the development opportunities increase but everyone wants to build at the same time. Costs are increasing as the market adjusts to new conditions and it leaves us looking at the price of land in a different light. These pressures are greatest in the South East with London topping the chart of most expensive places to build in the world [1]. A skills shortage may slow the growth of the sector but what can be done to keep developments on track?

Tightening up on material and resource costs has helped many to maintain margin and the use of more efficient building techniques not only reduces material use but can also reduce onsite labour. To make the most out of sites and the talent in the industry do we need to rethink how and what we build?

Planning how we use materials and how their use affects programme and budget have been common in large infrastructure projects for a number of years and the savings are significant. Off-site construction and management plans for materials, carbon, waste and water have all contributed to lower costs and are now common in value management. After getting over the initial hump of implementing BIM, the projects that use it are also seeing savings, particularly in early clash detection.

Often it is left to the contractor to kick off these techniques to manage their own costs. Could more developers make use of these tools to make more out of their sites? Instead of tucking in a wall here or reducing a quality specification there could we revisit the design completely? What if, from the outset, we looked at the development from a focus of low construction cost brought about by reducing time on site, using higher value techniques and minimising the use of materials?

Resource Management Planning is an effective way to engage the whole supply chain in using resources efficiently and saving cost. Housing and commercial developments can expect to realise a cost benefit of up to 2% [2].by taking this approach. 

If you would like to reduce the cost and environmental impact of your resources, speak to our Technical Director, Ben Harris on 0207 394 3700.

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