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Last edited 19 Nov 2020
Fees and resourcing on design and construction projects
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They can be based on:
- Empirical data: practice records of previous costs.
- Calculating the cost of the resource and other requirements (renders,printing, travel etc…) of the project on stage by stage basis.
- A tool such as the RIBA fee calculator based on the cost of the resource and other requirements.
- Suits straightforward building projects of relatively short duration.
- Can appear to reward design consultants for an overpriced design.
- Risk to the consultants that the construction cost could be lower than anticipated.
- Can be used as a basis for fee calculation rather than a 'set in stone' agreement.
- Appropriate when the scope of the project/ required services/ programme and cost clearly defined from outset and are unlikely to change.
- It is possible to agree lump sum separately for each work stage.
- Variations may allow additional fees.
- Appropriate when resources or time scale cannot be predicted accurately. This is often the case in the early stages of a project.
- An agreed hourly rate per staff category / named individual.
- May include a provision for increases with inflation (12 monthly).
- Standard appointments generally have provision for additional fees.
- Beware of bespoke appointments that limit additional fees to client instructions.
- Licence fees for the design if the developer uses it on other sites.
 Risks and uncertainties
- Client experience/ knowledge/ reputation/relationship. It may be appropriate to carry out a credit check and speak to other firms to find out how quickly they pay/ whether they observe payment terms and so on.
- Project definition: Are the requirements clear or uncertain?
- Scale of project: Impacts planning timescales/ resource/ programme.
- Complexity of the project.
- Whether similar work has been done before.
- Programme: scale/ planning/ resource/ uncertainties such as repairs for survey/squatters.
- Other resource requirements: if a project is overseas, it may be appropriate to work with a local consultant to benefit from their knowledge.
- Local opposition/support
- Requirement to appoint sub-consultants
- Type of procurement and scope of services.
- Project size
- Extent of works to existing buildings
- Repair / conservation of historic buildings
- Degree of design repetition
- Practice size and overheads
- Geographic proximity
- Business expansion.
- Enhanced profit.
- Employ existing staff
- New market/sector
- Quality of work
- Prestige/enhanced reputation
Whilst using the points above to aid a resource-based approach to calculate feed, cross-checks are recommended to ensure that a sensible outcome has been reached. Such checks include comparing the fee to be proposed against previous similar jobs and benchmarking the proposed fee against other projects when expressed as a percentage of construction cost.
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