The TV Programme Grand Designs, presented by Kevin McCloud, is 20 years old, and still makes for fascinating viewing. Victorian water towers & pumping stations, shipping containers, straw bales, have all played their part in this perennially popular series.
However, the entertainment doesn’t just come from the weird and wonderful housing solutions and the passionate proponents of the architectural masterpieces on show. What often really ties us to the sofa is seeing how the characters involved respond to the ups and downs of these hugely complex undertakings – excitement, apprehension, despair, relief!
Whilst we might get a warm fuzzy feeling finally seeing the new home owners proudly showing off their dream homes, Mr McCloud dutifully in tow, seeing things go wrong for these inexperienced souls – planning disputes, communication break-downs, delays with suppliers, spiralling costs, weather – can also be gripping TV. This is particularly true for those of us involved in the industry – we can see the disasters waiting to happen.
Whilst never having had a project featured on the show, we have been involved in a fair number of ‘grand designs’ albeit where our clients have preferred not to have their investments and lives exposed to the judgement of a TV audience.
We’d also like to think that under our supervision these projects, bereft of the entertainment opportunities of things going terribly wrong, wouldn’t make great viewing anyway.
Any building project – grand or otherwise – if not properly planned, costed or managed has the potential to go awry. To help ensure that your project proceeds without high drama we offer the following advice:
- Budget – Set a realistic budget; not only based on a fully considered construction cost estimate but also including all the incidental project costs.
- Project brief – Establish a project brief which sets out all the requirements the building needs to satisfy.
- Professional team – Surround yourself with a professional team who have the necessary skills and experience to support you and who really understand what you are trying to achieve.
- Risk factors – Consider all the risks facing the project and get input from your advisors on how to design the project to minimise them.
- Funding – Ensure there is funding for the full project costs.
- Programme – Establish a realistic programme with achievable dates that all involved can aim for.
- Construction team – Choose a construction team with a proven track record and appoint them on an appropriate and robust contractual basis.
- Communication – Ensure you have clear and agreed channels of communication and methods of recording change.
- Monitoring – Make sure that you closely monitor the effect of any variations on cost and agree the effect with the construction team.
Mr McCloud and Grand Designs we salute you and look forward to enjoying many more enthralling episodes.