“We design and do the construction, all in one”. Control it well!!

In this day and age there are many building owners who prefer the one stop service when commissioning a building namely, the production of the drawings and the construction contract all lumped into one or what is now known as “Turn-Key” project. By this method the owner will feel comfortable because the contractor would do everything and if there is a change in the drawings, a little alteration or addition here and there no extra charges would be levied and thereby no extra amount is added to the budget.

Yet, within this past year, there have been a number of owners who have come to consult me about the “Turnkey” contractors as they worried that not everything was going according to what they thought their nice little project would be. Initially, the problems would normally start with the fact that the owners put all the trust in the designers (contractors) appointed, that the job will be well carried out and there would be no problems through the polished convincing talk of the designer/contractor. Some owners would permit the designer/contractor to draw advance payments without a contract being signed. Some did have contracts but not stringent enough leaving no clause to remedy late completion of construction and interior construction. Some owners still agreed to commence construction without a drawing or with attachments to the contract. Some were at the beginning stage and there was still time to make the necessary remedies but its tiring and some there was simply not much that can be done culminating in a failed venture with neither party being able to look at each other in the face. In some cases all efforts were needed to complete the job but with neither party in a happy frame of mind.

I would like to advise those entering this field as a project or a residence building as follows:

1) If you prefer the Turnkey service, I would suggest you pick one with the most credible portfolio with a long string of past successful projects, but this is likely to be costly as in a turnkey project all the hidden costs would have been already added to cover all risk by the contractor.

2) Separate the designer and contractor as their occupations differ. A designer would do with aesthetics , imagination and conformed to the standard required and whereas the contractor speed is the essence, the fastest the completion the more the profit. Therefore, the “2 in 1” concept will rarely work and unless the owner is lucky enough to get a contractor with high ethics…. Woe be tide.

3) Find or engage a consultant this might be one of your relatives or freinds who are keen on construction or even a professional consultant who is credible and that he or she can definitely spare some time for you and your project, preferably at the onset of the project, namely the design stage. It is imperative that the consultant is there at the bidding stage for a contractor. Your consultant can iron out the problems in the drawings and if there were loop holes in the contract because if such problems surface later on it will definitely cost you money. And the important thing is your consultant team would oversee that construction was being carried correctly out to the drawings and conformed to the required standard from the onset of construction till completion.

Most importantly, if you have decided to proceed with the construction project and you have no acknowledge in this matter and you have little time to follow up on your project, and being without a consultant and relying on trust you are taking an awful lot of RISK !!