An earlier return on a client’s investment is constantly being identified as one of the project main objectives.

Clients, especially in today’s market uncertainty, need their projects completing in forever reducing time frames and are looking for construction partners to achieve this project objective whilst achieving the required quality standards within the financial constraints of the project.

Combining these objectives with the high standards required for managing health and safety provides challenging times for the project partners Gelder and Kitchen LLP, Construction Consultants, identified that this could be achieved by the application of construction management techniques in conjunction with the strengths and support of a multi disciplinary construction consultant.

2011 has been a successful year for Gelder and Kitchen LLP with Construction Management with the completion of £78 million worth of food related projects throughout the UK. All were completed within budget and within reduced time frames to meet the client’s aspirations for an earlier return on their investment.

The most recent project was completed 13 months ahead of the client’s expectations when compared to other forms of project management and procurement.

Gelder and Kitchen’s approach to construction management was developed just over ten years ago, when the practice was involved in a project where there was significant plant and building interface with expedient time constraints. The usual approach at that time was for the plant design to be completed first followed by the design of the building envelope. Preparation of the contract documentation and the tendering process would then follow and finally the construction phase would be undertaken. This sequential approach would result in a project time frame which was longer than the clients required time for an earlier project completion and return on the investment.

Therefore, in order to achieve the earlier project completion date, the construction phase would have to commence before the plant design and building envelope design have been completed and coordinated. Any refinements to the plant design during the construction phase were of particular concern. The risk to the project on time, quality and cost together with health and safety was significant when considering the use of traditional forms of contract procurement including design and build together with the appointment of a single main contractor to manage the construction.

Gelder and Kitchen LLP evaluated the requirements of construction management together with design development and established that an overlap in time frames could be achieved and used to the client’s benefit for the design development of the plant. It was also identified that during the same time period, the project planning application could be submitted again utilising the multi disciplinary skills of Gelder and Kitchens Gelder and Kitchen LLP’s project managers together with their architects, engineers and CDM Coordinators could develop outline designs for the building envelope based on preliminary plant information.

Liaising with the plant designers allowed the outline design to be as realistic as possible when designing the building envelope. Gelder and Kitchen LLP’s quantity surveyors could then produce a budget cost plan for the project for discussion with the client. During the same period as the plant design was being refined, the quantity surveyors would reduce the project into a series of smaller construction projects, for example the foundations, structural frame, ground floor and upper floors, roof etc, which could be tendered separately using traditional procurement techniques.

Therefore the need to have the building envelope fully designed and detailed before the construction process commenced on site had being removed.

The tendered costs for the series of smaller construction projects can then be compared against the overall budget cost produced by the quantity surveyor. Tender reports are then produced so that the client is fully aware of the cost and informed decisions can be made prior to placement of the contracts for the individual smaller construction projects.

This construction management approach managed by Gelder and Kitchen LLP provided the plant contractor with the time necessary to develop and complete the plant design to the client’s specification without the risk of time delay and costs often associated with the traditional form and design and build forms of contact. Once the plant design was completed, the outline design for the building envelope was updated together with the contractors tendered cost and then the contract was placed that that section of the project work.

One area that still needed to be addressed was the on site management of the project when a main contractor had been replaced by a series of contractors.

Under the CDM Regulations there is a legal obligation to provide a competent Principal Contractor to manage the construction health and safety requirements. Also a construction manager and site support team would be required to manage the construction process and for liaising with the building designers together with the plant contractor and during the plant installation.

Gelder and Kitchen realised that the most effective and efficient approach to this was for the Principal Contractor and the site based management team to be provided by and managed by Gelder and Kitchen LLP. As a result, Gelder and Kitchen Construction Management was formed to provide the continuity between design and construction so that the client’s project objective of an earlier completion date can be achieved.

Our clients have been extremely proactive and receptive to this approach and have become fully aware of the benefits of construction management and continue to use this approach for their projects. It has been acknowledged that contributing factors to the success of the construction management approach has been the transparency of the approach and the excellent working relationships formed throughout the project team in achieving the project objectives.

During 2012, Gelder and Kitchen want to offer these successful services to other companies in the food industry and welcome new enquiries.

For further information please contact:
John Hargraves
01482 324114

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