Planning

Feasibility Study

A Feasibility Study (sometimes called Viability Study) will provide you with a realistic budget to work with, plus an opinion of both hard and soft construction costs. We will develop a cost model that reflects the owner’s requirements, takes into consideration site conditions or site options, any government requirements that may affect cost, as well as local market conditions.

Another benefit of the Feasibility Study is that it identifies risks. Quantity Surveyors will recommend appropriate levels of contingency in order to ensure your cost model takes into account these risks.

Program Estimate

A Program Estimate typically happens during the Planning Stage. It will be based on pre-design document called a Functional Program which describes the functional requirements or users’ requirements in sufficient detail to initiate preliminary costing. A Functional Program includes such detail as space types and sizes, space finishes, space adjacencies, special mechanical or electrical services, and any equipment.

For both Feasibility Studies and Program Estimates it is common that more than one option is explored.

Life Cycle Costing

Life Cycle Costing (LCC) evaluates design options comparing not only the initial capital investment but also the cost of maintaining and operating the building and its components (particularly Mechanical and Electrical systems) over the expected life span. Life Cycle Costs are presented in ‘current day values’ known as net present value (NPV). Varying materials, systems and/or alternative designs can be evaluated over the long term to compare overall LCC (total cost of ownership) and provided a basis for smart choices.

Building Condition Assessments

Building Condition Assessments (BCA), sometimes called Property Condition Assessments outline the capital repair requirements of the building’s various components and systems over short-term and long term periods. Reports include a detailed capital plan and a reserve fund cash flow table to show the timing and costs for items identified for repair or replacement.

For private sector clients, a BCA is an important part of due diligence for commercial real estate transactions or for financing purposes. Purchasers & Lenders want to know the potential costs of repairs for the building they are investing in.

In the public sector, BCA reports are used in capital planning and asset management. Typically municipal and government agencies have a large portfolio of facilities that require upkeep and BCA reports are required to effectively plan for routine maintenance, code adherence and functionality.

Insurance Valuation & Building Reinstatement Cost Estimate

An Insurance Valuation & Building Reinstatement Cost Estimate calculates the cost of the building for insurance purposes. This will ensure you are not over-insuring your building and paying more for insurance than you need to, but also ensures you have enough insurance to cover your building should a loss occur. Learn more about when you need a Reinstatement / Reconstruction Cost Estimate and why.

Design

Budget Development

The first estimate of a project cost is usually the most important one as the most critical decisions are based on it. You want your project to run smoothly and be successful. Underestimating a budget may permit a faster approval but this will lead to serious problems down the road. Overestimating allows for breathing room, but the risk of having a project denied is too great.   We recommend and offer a very thorough and detailed approach to creating the most reliable initial estimate possible. Your project’s success is riding on this estimate which, once approved, becomes the budget.

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Cost Management

Cost Management is the process of planning and controlling the project’s expected cost. Expected costs are calculated while the project is still in the design stage (see Milestone Estimates) and are approved beforehand. This allows for more informed decision making, and allows for changes to be made earlier in the process, while the cost of making changes is minimal. During construction, all expenses are recorded and monitored to make sure they stay in line with the cost management plan.

Implementing a cost management structure for projects can help a project keep their overall cost within the approved budget.

Milestone Estimates

Milestone Estimates occur at predetermined stages in the design process and are intended to ensure the design remains on budget so there are no cost surprises after the design is finalized. As the design progresses, more and more detail is added into the construction drawings and documents. At the earlier stages of design, the Quantity Surveyor not only quantifies the detail in the design, but also interprets what will be included in the design at a later stage. Typically the detailed specifications on Mechanical and Electrical systems are not available until much later in the design but it is imperative to make allowances for this in the budget. Our familiarity with the design, experience pricing and reviewing costs on hundreds of construction projects and knowledge of costs of materials and labour allows us to properly estimate the costs of the project, before the detail has even been written.

Depending on the size and complexity of your project, different milestones may be appropriate. For a more detailed description of design milestones, please check out our Guide to Design Milestones.

Cash Flow Development

Cash Flow Development is essential to the financial success of the project because it provides an analysis and plan of not just the bottom line, but how much money is being paid out and when in comparison to the availability and release of available financing as applicable.

Risk Analysis

There is risk involved in every project and in order to mitigate these risks, it is essential to plan for them in advance. By identifying each risk scenario, evaluating the time and cost impact of each scenario and the likelihood of occurrence, the Quantity Surveyor establishes an appropriate contingency or reserve to build into the budget and estimates and develops strategies with the design team to counter the higher probability, higher risk items. It doesn’t stop there however. Throughout the project, the risk registry developed is monitored and updated. Since risks are identified in advance, they are easier to manage and result a lesser negative cost impact.

Value Analysis / Value Engineering

Value Analysis / Value Engineering explores alternative ways of addressing the design to make it more cost effective and sustainable, while still achieving the owner’s requirements, capital & operating budget and time frame. Value Engineering sessions involve representatives from the entire design team and each alternative is evaluated from functional, capital cost, planning, design, life cycle cost, and sustainability perspectives. Projects that have undergone comprehensive value engineering deliver the most value over the entire life cycle of the project.

Parallel Estimating / Peer Review

Parallel Estimating / Peer Review involves two independent, qualified Quantity Surveying teams preparing cost estimates at the design milestones and reconciling their estimates to each other. It is often used on large, complex projects and allows for an added degree of risk mitigation and cost certainty. Each team reconciles the estimates, identifying and analysing the variances found. A reconciliation meeting is held where the variances are discussed, supporting evidence provided and the independent Quantity Surveyors agree to an appropriate allowance on each element of the project. During this session, opportunities for value engineering are usually recognized.

Tender

Contract & Procurement Advice

Many important decisions need to be made before your project gets issued for tender which may have cost implications for your project.  Quantity Surveyors help to guide you through decisions and develop a procurement strategy based on the client’s needs. Procurement advices can cover not only the form of contract, but stipulations that will be included in the contract such as the use of union vs. open-shop labour, prequalification of bidders.

Tender Addendum Management

After the project has been issued for Tender, it is normal that clarifications or additional details are called for with respect to the tender documentation, specifications and drawings. The lead designer prepares addenda to tender package in response to these requests and the Quantity Surveyor reviews each addendum to advise the client of the cost impact of this change. Addenda review can take place before or after the official release of the addendum.

Tender Analysis

When it comes to awarding a project to the contractor, it may be first instinct to select the bidder based on cost. However, the lowest cost does not necessarily mean they are the right bidder. A Tender Analysis involves evaluation of the bidders’ exclusions, qualifications, or clarifications and their cost implications, determining item-by-item variances between the budget and the tender, and examining if any significant variations may be the result of a scope of work error. Identifying these variations before the contract is awarded is beneficial to prevent costly post-contract changes. It is best if parties to the contract are on the same page before the contract is signed, rather than exposing both parties to the risks of assumptions.

Contractor Recommendation

Quantity Surveyors, working with the Owners, Designers, and Project Managers can develop the evaluation criteria or scoring model to review both financial and non-financial aspects of the bid, including the contractor’s relevant experience, proposed staff, references, schedule, and safety policies. Choosing a contractor based on best value, not just lowest tender, will help to ensure the right company is doing the job, for the right price.

Construction

Project Monitoring

As the Project Monitor on a financed project, the Quantity Surveyor acts as an independent advisor to the owner and the lender. The Project monitor provides a preliminary report concerning the completeness of or identifying any areas of concern in the budgets & financial plans, construction plans/drawings, contracts, and permits associated with the project. Periodic Status reports are prepared reporting on the opinion of costs to date, work completed, updating the cash flow projection, and identifying any areas of concern for the project. Lenders benefit from Project Monitoring as an extra security that their capital will not be subject to undue risks, and Owners benefit from this service because it helps them to secure financing and identify any problems along the way.

Change Order Review

A change in the project after the contract has been signed leaves both parties with the question of what is a fair and reasonable way to determine who is responsible for the cost impact of this change. Changes can happen for any number of reasons: sometimes technical or contractual documents are interpreted differently, the design changes, schedules run over or get delayed because of permits or inadequate schedule allowance, overtime or a change in the availability of labour or material. Because Quantity Surveyors are experts at detail, contracts and construction costs, they are in the perfect position to provide both the Owner and Contractor with a fair review of the how the change impacts the cost. The detail provided in the review leaves both parties with a clear, credible method to resolve how changes are handled before they become bigger problems.

Claims Review

A contractor may submit a claim for greater payment than the original contract called for after the work has already been complete. Unresolved claims can result in construction liens so it is important to address the claims before they become bigger issues. Similar to a Change Order review, the Quantity Surveyor evaluates the details of the claim and provides an unbiased recommendation concerning the cost. Using a third party to recommend a fair and reasonable settlement keeps Owners and Contractors satisfied that the price being charged for changes are appropriate.

Since Claims Reviews are independent, A.W. Hooker can be engaged by the contractor to prepare and substantiate a claim, or they can be engaged by the Owner to defend and negotiate claims.

Dispute / Litigation

Change Order Review

A change in the project after the contract has been signed leaves both parties with the question of what is a fair and reasonable way to determine who is responsible for the cost impact of this change. Changes can happen for any number of reasons: sometimes technical or contractual documents are interpreted differently, the design changes, schedules run over or get delayed because of permits or inadequate schedule allowance, overtime or a change in the availability of labour or material. Because Quantity Surveyors are experts at detail, contracts and construction costs, they are in the perfect position to provide both the Owner and Contractor with a fair review of the how the change impacts the cost. The detail provided in the review leaves both parties with a clear, credible method to resolve how changes are handled before they become bigger problems.

Claims Review

A contractor may submit a claim for greater payment than the original contract called for after the work has already been complete. Unresolved claims can result in construction liens so it is important to address the claims before they become bigger issues. Similar to a Change Order review, the Quantity Surveyor evaluates the details of the claim and provides an unbiased recommendation concerning the cost. Using a third party to recommend a fair and reasonable settlement keeps Owners and Contractors satisfied that the price being charged for changes are appropriate.

Since Claims Reviews are independent, A.W. Hooker can be engaged by the contractor to prepare and substantiate a claim, or they can be engaged by the Owner to defend and negotiate claims.

Expert Witness

When disputes on construction projects arise it usually involves cost. The details of the matter need to be analyzed by an unbiased third party with an expertise in construction components, costs and contracts.

Having an independent expert witness involved at this stage is beneficial because unsettled disputes can turn into litigation and they may be called to testify in court.