Delayed and over budget construction projects? Make the right connections.

Delayed and over budget construction projects? Make the right connections.

When it comes to construction projects, lapsed timescales and overrunning budgets are a common occurrence. The two certainly go hand in hand, with delays leading to increased materials and labour costs, but late delivery is not the only reason budgets are blown. All too often, contractor estimates are inaccurate, the project may have been poorly managed, or the work has not been completed to the required standard. With these problems rife throughout the construction industry, how can construction companies be sure they avoid these common pitfalls?

Transparency

If you’ve had a gas connection quote and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some contractors attempt to give reduced costs and compressed timescales by neglecting to factor in the price and time for things like gas capacity checks, reinforcement, road opening licencing, traffic management and reinstatement. All these charges and services will have a significant impact on costs and should be clearly outlined at the start of your project, otherwise they will almost certainly appear as expensive variation orders at a later date, and introduce crippling delays. If it’s unclear what is included in your quote, ask the contractor to clarify, so you can compare what they are offering against other quotes.

Capacity checks

Gas capacity checks are one of the most frequent and serious omissions from quotes given in the gas infrastructure industry, yet they are crucial in determining whether reinforcement work is required. It generally takes around 270 days for national gas transporters to carry out reinforcement works, and they can run into six or seven figures. This can have a significant impact on the cost and timescale of a project.

Some contractors will only check whether reinforcement is required once their quotation has been accepted, which can be some way into the build programme. So, if it emerges that capacity for the gas supply is insufficient, when timescales have become critical and alternatives cannot be explored, your project will be subject to unnecessary delays and even greater costs than if they had been included at the outset.

Variations

Variations that affect costs and timescales should be fair and, as far as possible, limited to unavoidable changes that arise during the project. While it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint every cost at the quotation stage, a good contractor will be transparent about the different scenarios, which ones they think are possible (e.g. whether the work will require traffic management procedures or road closures) and the impact these are likely to have on your project. Variations that arise during the work should be things the contractor could not have anticipated at the quotation stage and, on the whole, driven by the client, such as the relocation of pipe route.

Realistic timescales

Often, the reason projects are delayed so far beyond their promised delivery date is as a result of unrealistic timeframes set by the contractor to make their bid more attractive. The best contractors comprehensively assess the scope of a project to set a realistic timeframe, taking account of the risks, regulations and any other elements that could affect the project’s lifespan. Setting unrealistic timeframes can also lead to corners being cut and result in the job not being finished to the required standard, which again, will add further delays and cost.

Specialist expertise

While it might seem obvious, having a specialist to provide advice and help throughout your project is invaluable. It is sensible to ask for professional consultancy services to be included as part of your contractor’s service package. Reliable and proficient consultants provide crucial support and effective management solutions, to ensure your project progresses smoothly. Plus, if you run into any unexpected problems, having an expert on hand, will help ensure you handle them in the most cost- efficient and timely manner.

Quality and value

As with most things in life, we tend to get what you pay for. The cheapest quotation is not always the best, but more to the point often turns out to not even be the cheapest. It is invariably more cost-effective to work with a contractor that provides a realistic timescale and budget than one that over-promises and under-delivers. It goes without saying, especially with gas supply and connection, that quality of work is vital; contractors that cut corners to meet an unrealistic deadline will inevitably cause additional delays and cost, and you may even need to employ another company to complete the work to the required standard.

At Squire, our management of your project starts from the moment that you accept our quote. All our quotes are transparent and contain no hidden costs. We advise at quotation stage, of any reinforcement works required and how this will affect costs and timescales. Plus, we always check for alternatives to reinforcement to provide the fastest, most effective and cost-efficient solution. For example, this might be providing a connection to larger gas mains further away from the site, implementing a longer ramp rate for the start-up of boilers, or negotiating with the network owner to increase gas pressures in the local area. On every project, our commitment is always to our client, to provide an exceptional service that delivers work to the highest standard, on time and on budget.

If you need a gas infrastructure quote for your construction project, get in touch.

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