Client Adjudicator - Technical & Cost Benefit Analysis
A client's consultants sometimes have conflicting views on how to solve a problem. This has invariably financial implications for the client, as if the work is over-designed, the client picks up the bill and the costs.
Site experience is usually paramount here in determining what is the right solution at the least cost for the client.
This 'Practice' has undertaken advisory work and chaired meetings over the years to determine least-costs solutions and where consultants have differing views and technical positions.
The best way to outline this is to give a few examples where the 'Practice' has saved its clients substantial sums and where this would basically have been wasted financial investment.
A new 5-bedroom stone detached property valued at £650,000 had a foundation subsidence problem in 2005. This was at the a single corner of the property. As underpinning works were being undertaken to rectify the situation a 'soft' spot in the soils was encountered. The remediation engineer (a chartered civil engineer) thereafter determined that all the foundations of the house would have to be underpinned. For the developer this would have meant most probably a cost of at least £150,000 based upon insurance claims that this 'Practice' has been involved with over the years.
The client developer was not satisfied with this assessment and contacted ourselves for a second opinion. We inspected the site undertaking a survey and where the structure had only very minor movement cracks within the external masonry walls. After several site tests and based upon long-term site experience, we determined that the house did not require extensive underpinning and that only the affected corner section needed to be repaired. The house-owner was in a quandary and requested that a third engineer should give a further professional opinion. This engineer (a qualified chartered structural engineer) determined that the whole of the property needed piled underpinning at a probably cost of some £300,000 plus. Again the 'Practice' knows this through previous insurance claims and where incidentals such as alternative housing accommodation, kitchen/internal replacements, compensation and a great deal of other ancillary costs, considerably increases the actual physical construction costs.
After convening a meeting and chairing that meeting (where the first engineer did not even attend), this 'Practice' proved that only minor remedial works were required under standard industry criteria. To date it has to be stated that the property has not suffered any further movement.
The reality of the matter was that the foundation's remediation costs were £33,000 and not anything of the order of a probably cost of £300,000 plus.
The developer therefore saved at least £115,000 and most probably if the third engineer had had his way, nearly £300,000.
The consultant engineers (practice engineers qualified to chartered status) for a £12 million apartment development in 2008 determined that the existing cast-iron columns at the second floor level of a former multi-storey mill structure, were not structurally adequate to support the new residential loadings. Our 'Practice' was consulted to give a second opinion. The calculations undertaken by the project's engineers were examined and where the wrong effective length for the slenderness ratio of the columns had been determined. Instead of a fixation factor of 0.85 being applied, a fixation factor of 1.0 had been used. This 0.15 error made all the difference to whether the columns were safe or not. After further consultation, the project's design engineers reluctantly agreed.
The reality of the matter was that to replace the columns (and there were a considerable number), would have cost the developer at least £150,000 based upon current costs at the time.
The developer therefore saved £150,000.
Considering the above the client has to be aware that consultants sometimes get it wrong and where if their 'gut' feeling/instinct tells them that something just is not right, you should contact ourselves for a second opinion. For it may very well save you substantial sums going into thousands of pounds !
Office Contact - 01484.461193
Direct Contact - 07880661574
Office: 48 Market Street, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, HD3 4HY