Why You Should Engage Your Builder Early

Far too often we see projects come across our desk that, from the outset, are much more expensive than clients anticipate or are prepared to spend. This results in a staggering amount of projects that do not proceed forward to construction, and clients are left unhappy and out of pocket after all the work to get to the tender stage.

We see a simple solution to this problem, and it is… Get your builder involved early!

As builders, we’re not only here to construct your incredible project but to help you at every step along the way. There is so much value that a GOOD builder can bring to the design and development stage that is unfortunately not leveraged off anywhere near as much as it should be. Think of your builder as a partner in your most significant investment, who will be with you every step – from the planning process to the handover of keys.

At Stratti Building, we believe in a collaborative approach that includes involving your builder in the early stages of design and planning to review the existing structures, building methodologies and overall execution of the project to ensure it is considered from all aspects. This collaborative approach enables your Architects, Engineers, Designers, and Builders to work together and leverage one another to ensure the design, construction methodology, budget and end outcome are aligned, all while minimising risk for the clients.

There are generally two methods of engaging your builder early and it really comes down to how early and how much you would like your builder to be involved. At Stratti Building, we offer two types of early engagement.

The first and most in-depth option of early engagement is referred to as ‘Early Contractor Involvement’ or ‘ECI’ for short. Under an ECI agreement, your builder becomes much more like a consultant. Generally, we enter ECI agreements with clients when they are still developing a design or while their project is in Council awaiting approval ahead of detailed construction documentation. Some of the services we provide under an ECI agreement are:

Design Assistance:

  • Attend site with Architects & Engineers to review the design and resolve details
  • Identify risks with construction and implement the design with construction methodologies (ensuring your project is designed taking the ‘way it will be built’ into consideration)
  • Perform inspections including removal of coverings, minor excavation/demolition (potholing), testing etc. to enable consultants to design without assumptions (preventing abortive works)
  • Engage contractors to assist with design (Mechanical, Hydraulic etc.).

Scope Of Work:

  • Visit the site and assess the proposed works including access etc.
  • Identify appropriate construction methodologies considering access, budget, and staging of works
  • Prepare a detailed Scope of Work to ensure all expectations are set and all inclusions/exclusions are clearly outlined
  • Prepare subcontractor scope of work and meet with subcontractors to review your project and discuss it in detail.

Project Budget:

  • Formulate a bill of quantities specifically for your project ensuring that the pricing you are given is up to date and current with the market to ensure no surprises later
  • Review contractor quotes and prepare tender recommendations
  • Assess the cost of works budget against your ideal budget and identify any potential areas of cost savings
  • Value engineer the project if required to ensure building methodologies are aligned with client budget and expectations.

Works Program:

  • Prepare a preliminary works program to ensure the expectation on the project timeline is correct and reviewed considering site constraints and construction methodologies.

The work performed under an ECI agreement assists with the detailed design and construction documentation from all consultants and, in our opinion, is the ideal way to ensure a smooth project that meets your specific requirements.

If you already have your design completed and you are ready for tender, the second option Stratti Building provides for early builder engagement is a ‘Preliminary Agreement’, which is essentially a paid project proposal.

If a builder is being paid for their time to complete a detailed project proposal, they will review the design and offer any suggestions on buildability, construction methodologies or materials selection. All of which are items that affect the end price.

Not sure what option is right for you? The fundamental difference between the ECI and Preliminary agreement is that the ECI involves the builder much more in the design aspects early on, whereas the Preliminary Agreement is post-design. Both options hinge on honesty and transparency, which are two of Stratti Building’s highest values.

To learn more about our planning process for your build, contact us today.