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Call in the professionals

08 July 2016

The architect has surveyed the church, produced a schedule of works for repairs to the building, and obtained a quote for the work to be done. Do we need more than one quote for the work, and is it now time to find a quantity surveyor to check over the plans?


THE overall process to follow in com­missioning works, unless they are minor, is to prepare the specification and drawings for the works, undertake a tendering process, and then commission the best of those tendering.

Your architect will take the leading part in preparing the specification and drawings, but get a quantity surveyor to go through this with you. The quantity surveyor’s skill lies in understanding the works in detail, the finan­cial implications of the work, the method by which it is achieved, and in ensuring that the agreed budget is complied with throughout (Column, 10 June).

Their part, when it is done well, will mean that you know — almost always — what you will be paying out at the end. If additional work is uncovered, your surveyor will determine the financially sensible way for you to go forward.

Your DAC secretary, or your architect, will be able to advise on quantity surveyors; but meet more than one before determining who to employ.

The architect and the quantity surveyor will work together to prepare the documents for sending out to tender. An outgoing tender document breaks down the work into details that enable the quantity surveyor, in par­ticular, to ensure that you know which builder is the best value for money, while ensuring that the quality of work is in keeping with the status of your building.

Once the tenders are returned (all on the same day), the architect and quantity surveyor will work through them, and prepare a tender report, with a recommendation of which builder to go with. You will receive all the tender documents, too.

The PCC should then adopt the report before proceeding. It is important at this stage, before going any further, that you ensure that you have all the money in hand to pay for the works, as you will be entering a binding contract with the builder.

As the work proceeds, the architect will play a leading part in managing the building contract with the builder, especially the quality of works, and any variations that may be made to the works in light of discoveries as they progress; the quantity surveyor will lead the agreement of the level of monthly amount that will be invoiced. This will include invoicing for elements of work partly or fully completed, besides a proportion of the builder’s overhead.

This part continues until the work is complete; the architect will prepare a certificate of completion, and the quantity surveyor will check that final invoices are correctly submitted to you. There will be a small percentage unpaid for one year — the retention — as a guarantee that the builder will cover any subsequent problems arising from their work.

For commissions of more than £10,000, PCCs are required to go out to tender, and some grant-makers will require them to do so, to ensure that they are not running a closed shop or have any personal “interests”. This applies also to the appointment of both the architects and the quantity surveyor.


Send your issues and questions to: maggiedurran@virginmedia.com.

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