So you’ve been awarded a new construction project and you’re eager to get started. The clock is ticking and your customer is expecting work to begin.
But wait – have you really thought through how you build the project? Is everything in place for work to begin?
Mistakes made at the start of the project could cost and delay the project later. Extra thought and planning before starting the project may just save a whole bunch of money and time later.
Ask these questions before starting your project
- Do we have a written contract in place and has this been agreed by both parties? Often contractors start work without a written contract which means they are doing work that they may not be paid for. In addition, when the customer finally presents the contract part way through the project it may contain conditions which aren’t acceptable. Care should be taken when accepting a letter of intent from the customer as proof of a contract being in place – these letters often offer little protection to the contractor should a dispute arise.
- Is there adequate insurance in place? Have we notified our insurers of specific risks and project conditions? Are the insurance policies valid and do they cover the specific work? If the customer is providing the insurances check the conditions to ensure you are adequately covered.
- Have we thought through the construction methodology, taking into account the available resources, the project requirements and the site conditions? Is the chosen methodology the most efficient? Often there’s more than one way of constructing the work, but, one method may be more efficient and safer than the other ways.
- Are the necessary permits and permissions in place? Sometimes these are the responsibility of the customer while others are the responsibility of the contractor. None the less, even when they are the customer’s responsibility the contractor cannot start work until all permits and permissions are in place.
- Is there an approved construction schedule in place? This schedule should dictate when the customer has to provide access, information and customer supplied materials and equipment.
- Have we submitted all the required paperwork and documentation? This may include; quality plans, safety plans, environmental plans, method statements, hazard assessments and traffic management plans. A missing document may result in work being stopped until it’s submitted.
- Have we notified the required authorities that construction work is about to begin?
- Have we decided what work we will be carrying out and what will be subcontracted? Have we appointed the subcontractors?
- Have we sourced the required people and equipment for the project?
- Have we ordered the long lead materials as well as those materials required immediately to start the project?
- Have we planned the layout of the project site? Where will our site facilities such as; toilets, stores, and offices be located? Where will materials be stored? What is the access route to the project site? How will materials be lifted into place? Have we considered how stormwater will be handled?
- Have we arranged for the necessary utility connections required for construction, such as water and power?
- Do we know where the existing services and utilities are, such as; gas lines, water pipes, telecommunication cables and electrical lines? Damaging one of these services can be dangerous and result in delays and additional costs to repair them.
- Do we know who the customer’s responsible person is – who has the authority to issue instructions, approve variations and authorise the monthly or milestone valuations? Do we know where to direct communications, variations, and valuations? Accepting instructions from someone who the customer hasn’t authorised to issue instructions may result in work being completed which won’t be paid. Failure to understand the correct communication channels may result in delays.
- Has the customer got sufficient money to pay for the project?
Time spent at the start of the project planning how the work will be executed and ensuring that everything is in place for work to begin will save wasted time and expense later. Don’t rush into starting your next project before you’ve asked the above questions.