When you get involved in a new construction project, there will be all sorts of people involved. In this article we are going to look at what they do and how they all fit together. First-timers involved in this process are often surprised, thinking that only their chosen residential construction company will be included but this is not the case.  Expect to come across not only your builder but also solicitors, financial organisations, selling agents, building inspectors, structural engineers, suppliers, local authority personnel and land developers. 

Here we are going to focus on just four of the key people involved.

Tradesmen  

Most often, the tradesmen will be supplied by your chosen residential construction company.  At times, sub-contractors may be involved who do not work for the construction company but supply them with specialised additional services.  They will complete all the trade works on the site. The number and type of tradesmen involved will depend on the project itself but  some of the most common are: 

  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Labourers
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Welders
  • Machine operators i.e. forklift, dumper, diggers
  • Roofers

When it comes to labourers, this title encompasses a wide range of both skilled and manual workers. They are the people who do the hard grafting, frequently working alongside the very skilled trades, acting as their go-getter, fetching materials and putting them in the right place. If you watch a construction site at work, you will see skilled operatives like roofers putting the tiles in place but the person taking the tiles up the ladder and making sure that the roofer has what he needs when he wants it is the labourer.  They might not be the most highly paid person on the building site but without them, the work could not be carried out efficiently.

Project Managers

As the title suggests, the project manager is responsible for managing the entire construction project. This encompasses everything, from sourcing materials to taking on board all the necessary tradesmen.  These may be within their own in-house team or sub-contracted.   If goals and deadlines are not met, the onus falls upon him. Working closely with the engineers and architects, they have a lot to take care of, including the following:

  • Planning – producing a critical path plus timing for each stage of the project. Overseeing each phase until completed on time.
  • Allocation of resources – making available (buying in) all necessary materials from bricks through to all other amenities, fixtures and fittings.   They need to understand not only what is needed but what it will be used for.
  • Managing staff – recruiting tradesmen and allocating tasks at set stages of the process.
  • Setting progress benchmarks – ensuring that the project is on target with regards to time and budget.
  • Managing budget – taking care of all financial planning and monitoring. Keeping the team informed of forecasts on a regular basis and managing the scope. Where unplanned work is carried out, setting that amount to one side.

Designers/Architects

The easy way to identify these two apart is that the designer takes care of the internal decorative side of the property and the architect most of the structural fabric. Designers can prepare colour schemes to make the most of the available space and ensure that it meets with your preferences.

The architect will work closely with your residential construction company, dealing with not only the look of the building. It is up to him to ensure that it is functional, safe and economical, suiting your needs. 

Architects can get involved from the initial discussion all the way through to final completion. When you are the client, the architect will deal with the following:

  • Your objectives, budget and requirements.
  • Feasibility studies and environmental impact reports.
  • Site selection, cost-analysis and land-use study.
  • Determine space requirements based upon number of users.
  • Preparing drawings and final construction plans.
  • Creating drawings of the structural system to cover heating, ventilation, electricals, plumbing, air-conditioning and landscaping.
  • Specification of building materials.

They will be aware of the relevant building regulations and all access requirements.  Computer Aided Design & Drafting (CADD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) now tend to be used instead of paper and pen to create drawings and plans.  It also makes it far easier for plans to be revised to suit alterations made to suit the client’s needs and/or budget.

Quantity Surveyors

Often a member of your residential construction company’s team, the quantity surveyor will be based partly in the office and on site.  They will also be involved in meetings between the client and other project members. Their workload will vary according to the job in hand, but most of the time, they will take care of:

  • Contract preparations including full details of the required quantities of materials to be used.
  • On-going analysis of costs, including those for the original project scope and anything over and above.
  • Feasibility studies for clients.
  • Allocating work to the tradesmen.
  • Visiting site on a regular basis and making projections for upcoming work.
  • Analysing the final work and arranging payments to the contractor.

The quantity surveyor provides an essential service and you should never consider taking on a new construction job without one.  Your residential construction company normally provides the quantity surveyor (QS), either from their own staff or a sub-contracted one. It is up to your quantity surveyor to manage the cost of your new build project, making sure that you stay within budget.  The job is a very meticulous one as it encompasses everything such as planning of costs, scheduling, value engineering, valuation of work carried out, feasibility studies and payments to the main contractor. When you employ a quantity surveyor, you are protecting the financial side of your new construction project.

Summary

It’s easy to think that once you have purchased the services of a residential construction company, then no-one else will be involved. However this is clearly not the case.  Even straightforward construction projects and the building of new luxury homes involves the services of a plethora of personnel, each of them covering a different area.  

However, don’t worry thinking that you need to arrange everything yourself; if you choose to work with a leading residential construction company, they will already have their own staff and have contracts with external tradesmen, project managers, architects, designers and quantity surveyors if required. 

Some people make the mistake of thinking that they can cut corners or save time and money by eliminating some of these essential personnel, often planning to do the work themselves such as designing or planning.  But this is false economy as where an expert will know exactly what to do and how it will work long-term, as an amateur, you may not.  Better to pay the professionals to do what they do best, sit back and enjoy the finished project.

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