Have you ever been given a budget for your project only to have the price double when the bids came in? Then double again by the time construction is complete?
At SES we make certain we know the project in very thorough detail before we give the client a budget. We closely collaborate with the client to pursue a clear and shared objective: the right solution for every customer. Our approach means walking the corridors, climbing in ceilings, crawling through steam tunnels, and many meetings listening and sharing. In short, getting to know our clients’ challenges as well as they do. Then we begin the design process, frequently going through many iterations before settling on the solution that best serves our client’s needs. So, by the time we budget, we have a complete understanding of what we’re budgeting. Nothing is left to assumptions or chance.
Because it is typical for budgets to be created by professionals who have no actual construction experience, “square-footing” is a commonly-used budgeting methodology. For the past ten years or so, $25.00/sf has been used to budget the mechanical portion of a construction project. Costs have risen, but budgets have not, which leads to change orders, contractors being forced to cut corners or worse, the selection of sub-standard contractors. Our experience is that actual cost is currently around $34.00/sf and rising, but SES never square-foots a budget. Rather, we draw the project and estimate it. If the budget is more than you want to spend, we work to come up with a design that meets your ability to fund the project. You will always be working with realistic numbers, not what you want to hear, but what is true.
If your procurement policies require competitive bidding, we know up front where the bids should come in. We provide constructible bid documents that leave little or nothing to interpretation. We specify and get equipment pricing in advance so contractors can’t substitute lesser quality after award. In this way we can require all bidders to guarantee their price will not go up after construction begins. We try in every way to protect our clients from being trapped by the low-bid change-order process that is the norm in traditional construction projects today.