Pro Tips- How to Complete the Project within Budget
Project fruition is all about keeping with the estimates and budgets as they are to do with the design. While the project execution is an important part of the project, there is a lot of work that comes prior to execution. In order to see a project well executed, both the client and the design team must do their homework well. There is a swarm of factors and steps that play an important part in the completion of a project in addition to the construction cost. One should be rest assured that even a small error or change in the project can tip off the budget. Therefore, all the decisions and steps should be taken with utmost patience and awareness. In the following article, we discuss a few tips that can aid in completing a project within the budget –
Requirements and Priorities
The first thing to consider if one wants to conform to the budget is to have a clear set of requirements and priorities right in the pre-design phase into the design phase. It is a vital step as it helps the architect to make informed design choices and thereby the budget. Once the client’s priorities are set it becomes easier for the architect to handle the design and the contractors to manage the construction well within the budget. Finalizing the requirements and priorities also helps in avoiding any surprises from the client or the designer.
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Consider a Realistic Budget!
The budget for a client is about the spending capacity of his or her pocket. Many a time, the project cost exceeds way over the allocated budget leading to sour relations between the client and the designer. Therefore, the client should be upfront about his or her budget right from the first day. While calculating the budget, one should consider all the costs that would be incurred in the process. The various costs to consider are –
• Architectural consultancy fees (inclusive of design fees, site visits, etc.)
• Specialty consultants fees (landscape, structural, MEP, HVAC, security, IT, etc.)
• Construction cost (inclusive of material cost, contractor and labour cost, tools, debris removal, logistics, etc.)
• Additional costs (permits, licenses, site survey, etc.)
• Contingency costs
Budget is all about estimations, fees and calculations. One should be thorough while going through the numbers to prepare a realistic budget.
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The project estimate has to be calculated with utmost care in order to keep to the budget of the client. The designers can take cues from similar past projects to draft estimates and analyse contingencies that could occur. The architects should consider in detail their consultation fees (inclusive of the design, drawings, views, site visits, etc.), any contingency costs that could be incurred (around 10% of the project cost can be set aside as contingency fund) and adequate cost estimates of material and labour. Preparing an efficient estimate is an important step that helps the architects to be mindful of the budget throughout the process – from start to end!
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Make Sure – Effective Project Accounting
The architects and contractors must keep tabs on the timelines and expenses of the project. This can help in taking pertinent steps at the right time and achieve the goal of completing a project within the defined budget. There are several accounting software and tools available that help in tracking the timeline and expenses of the project. It is one of the key steps to finish within the budget, which is often neglected. Irrespective of the scale of the project the design firm should take proper steps towards effective project accounting.
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Forestall Iterations, Change in Scope, …
However careful the design team may be, there might be certain changes in the scope of the project or iterations requested by the clients. It is a good idea to forestall the possibility of iterations and changes in scope in order to keep to the timelines and the budget of a project. The client and more so the project team has to be prepared for the costs incurred due to uncertainties or change in the scope. If unprepared, these may lead to disrupted timelines and exceeding the budget.
Ensure Efficient Work Team
A project is delivered with the help of a team of contractors, skilled and unskilled labour, consultants and craftspeople. To ensure that the project is completed well within the budget, the design firm must collaborate with a highly efficient team. To be able to reduce the scope of error and thereby undue surprises, it is highly suggested that the clients hire architects to overlook the project construction too. This enables quicker decisions thereby leading the project to completion both in time and within budget.
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While there are design solutions for every budget, it is imperative to complete the project within the set budget. The article talks about a few steps that the designer or the design team and clients should bear in mind while planning a dream project. However careful one might be there still could be instances where the project goes a little over the budget. The important aspect in such cases should be that the amount that exceeds the budget should not overburden the client. Otherwise, it leads to sour relations between the designer and client, which in turn might affect the reputation of the designer, the contractor or the people associated with the project. I hope these pro tips help you in bringing your project to fruition within the budget.
In case of any suggestions or experiences, please feel free to post them in the comments below.
Also read, Architect's Guide- How about Changing the Design due to Financial Crunch? for people struggling with the finances.
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