Advice for a falling market
Now is a good time for clients to build. If they’ve got the money and choose their procurement strategy carefully they can take advantage of tender prices that are predicted to fall 7% this year. But it is a time where independent, early cost advice and a good cost manager are essential. In a falling market a QS must advise its client where prices offered are too low to do the job well. Contractors do go bust if they give an uneconomic price and firms do get carried away in the scramble to secure work.
And yes, we might see a return to lowest cost tendering, but there’s a difference between the lowest price of something that does the job properly rather than the cheapest option around. There’s a difference between a guaranteed lowest price on a specific laptop from John Lewis and the cheapest laptop you can buy. Vague client requirements will get the lowest price but not the best buy.
We have seen contractors and clients simple demanding price cuts from their subcontractors, suppliers and consultants and the danger is that they will end up cutting corners. It’s better to work with them to realise any savings on labour or materials.
Joe Martin is executive director of the BCIS