Readers bemoan a perceived lack of ambition on Oxford Street’s revamp, unsuccessful attempts to cut costs on education projects and QSs who fail to tackle underbidding and uphold ethical practices

Don’t underbid, integrate

David Matthews’ investigation of underbidding, raises some interesting points.

An experienced QS will quickly determine the difference between a keen price and an attempt to underbid. When a contract isn’t priced at a realistic level, the teams focus on the vital elements of quality, programme and whole-life cost is inevitably diluted towards enhanced cost recovery. At best this is commercially short-sighted at worst it’s unethical. We have a duty to warn clients of all the consequences of underbidding.

But regardless of whether you view sub-economic tendering as wilful misrepresentation or a clever “loss leader” marketing tactic - you can’t escape the fact that the procurement process itself is outdated and wasteful.

The government plans to slash its construction costs by 20%, with Paul Morrell saying we could save up to 30%. In fact, if we develop and deliver a more robust integrated project delivery model the savings could be achieved with secure margins and the possible upside of target related gain share.Incorporating separate design teams and multi-tiered supply chains creates waste and rework. We now have evidence that much of this can be eliminated by an open book, collaborative approach to integrated project delivery.

The time is right for the QS to play a central role in modernising construction procurement. By working smarter we can cut costs, while still maintaining the highest standards of customer service, programme delivery, and ethics.

David Bucknall FRICS and board chairman RICS QS professional group

Retail therapy

So much for a brave new world for the Eastern end of Oxford Street. There is already a petition of over one hundred signatories against Derwent’s plans for 1 Oxford Street and its not even been submitted yet.

There is already a petition of over one hundred signatories against Derwent’s plans for 1 Oxford Street and its not even been submitted yet.

In the City a developer can commission something like One New Change, that really changes the dynamics of retail in the City and does so in a striking building. With Crossrail necessitating the demolition of large swathes of buildings here, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a real marker for the West End and Oxford Street yet it seems like this opportunity will be wasted. Why isn’t Westminster asking developers to raise their game or are they lacking in their ambitions for the area?

Kevin Thompson via

Maths lessons

Having a national framework (“James Review says new national contracts should be set up”, 8 April, may provide a substantial saving, however such savings can only be made when the client team has the experience of construction professionals on board - otherwise the whole process can be convoluted and ultimately increase the cost.

Janet Paterson via