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Success Business Magazine Issue 18
  • Posted Monday, 2 February 2015
  • -
  • In Articles

Success Business Magazine Issue 18

The following article is taken from Issue 18 of Success Business Magazine.


Residential construction, renovation, remodelling and new builds are very different to construction work managed through a body like the Department of Housing or commercial ventures. Most commercial work is managed through a bureaucratic process largely driven by drawings, official scopes and documentation with no emotion attached to the decision when managing the project. Residential construction, in most cases we are dealing with the mums and dad of the world quite often making the biggest investment they will undertake in their lives and much of their income has been dedicated to owning a property or changing and improving their investment.

By far the most effective way of controlling the project and successfully orchestrating change is by maintaining a healthy relationship with your contractor. Your builder is under contract to perform work detailed in the documentation, ie plans, engineering, scope detail and documented detail. This is where a clear understanding of your brief for the project meets the scope laid out in your drawings and documentation and that you are confident and comfortable with the fact your builder understands all the elements in the same way you do. There are often many items open for interpretation. Effective communication is vital. Changes outside of this scope are a variation. It is important to be mindful that there are many unknowns and both the builder and the client should accept sometimes you are in front and sometimes you are behind and what matters is the net sum at the end of the project. Understanding each other and respecting that there needs to be flexibility for changes will go a long way toward keeping the relationship strong. Naturally major changes will need to be charged accordingly and documented as an official variation and similarly when certain elements are omitted and to become a credit.

It is also important to understand the agreement is between the client and primary contractor and all communication for change or otherwise must be directed through this channel. A healthy rule of thumb for communication is "if it isn’t in writing it was never said”. It is important to have a clear understanding of the contract and your obligatory responsibilities and that of the builder. If you are dredging through the contract to justify a way to settle a misunderstanding or dispute it often indicates the relationship is strained and accompanied by stress and disappointment. Getting the best out of anyone in any relationship is a product of mutual respect and understanding. I believe most projects end well, and those that don’t I hope I have provided some tips that will help manage a project that will optimize your investment and be an exciting memory.