Just like any building project, the goal of commercial building projects or renovations is likely to be to complete them as quickly and cost effectively as possible. However, rushing into a project can result in expensive mistakes being made.

With this in mind, here we give some advice on the stages of a commercial building project and how to go about achieving optimal results.

Outline your project brief

The first stage in a successful build or project is to define a brief for the project. This can be fairly short, describing what the primary objective is and how this will be achieved.

Agree a way forward

A feasibility study is likely to be the next sensible step – to briefly investigate the costs, timelines and potential challenges such a project may result in. Where there are a number of options available, such as a refurbishment vs a rebuild, it may be necessary to undertake further research or undertake a thorough option appraisal.

Appoint Contractors

Once a way forward has been agreed, the project brief needs to be expanded so it is comprehensive enough to send out for quotes or to tender. A detailed design will need to be drawn up, which can then be sent out to contractors to quote.

When reviewing quotes or tender responses, be sure to look into the detail – not just the price. Whilst one solution may be cheaper, it might not offer the best value – especially over the long term. This is where knowledge of building materials and construction methods is useful – as this allows the solution which offers greater longevity to be identified.

Review contracts

Before a project commences, you will need to sign off on the contract provided by the contractor(s).  This means ensuring that you are happy with any deadlines or project timescales and any penalty clauses for not meeting these. If the paperwork doesn’t contain any such detail, you may wish to add this in. It is also worth bearing in mind that it is normal for bigger projects to have staged or interim payments, usually staged throughout the project as work is completed to certain points.

Monitor progress

Once the work has begun, you will need to ensure that the contract terms are being met. To do this, you may wish to hold regular meetings on site where you can check the progress and quality of work. Be sure to refer back to the contract and what was agreed.

Create a snag list

When the project is nearing completion, you will want to start compiling a snag list of the things you are not happy with. Being thorough and systematic about this process is important to achieve the best results – getting them rectified before the contractors leave site is always going to be easier than trying to get them back at a later stage – especially if they have already been paid. Once all snags have been rectified to a good standard, Practical Completion can be achieved. This is effectively the process of agreeing the work has been completed to expectations and paying the final instalment.

Don’t forget the paperwork

Any commercial building project is likely to be required to meet building regulations in relation to energy efficiency, structural stability and fire protection. Each of these will require sign off and have its own certification.

Regardless of the nature of the construction project at hand, appointing Chartered Building Surveyors can help save time and money by avoiding the risk of expensive oversights and surprises.

Lea Hough is able to provide expert guidance to companies looking to undertake a building or renovation project. For more information on our services in this area, please get in touch.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: 7 Ferry Road, Office Park, Preston, PR2 2YH.