Cost Advisor

The Cost Advisor is essential in not only predicting the costs of construction but also in providing estimated figures on the future (life cycle) costs the building will incur. Further to this, whole life cost planning also helps to assess the sustainability of the building in terms of carbon use, an element which is becoming increasingly important to all of our clients.

Developing and implementing a cost plan will encompass these key points:

  • Refinement through estimates and market testing / knowledge.
  • Detailed reporting of costs and dialogue with key stakeholders throughout.
  • Practical and honest advice on costs and suggestions regarding available options.

The Cost Advisor understands that cost may not be the defining element of a project and each plan is devised based on project specific requirements, be it Cost, Time or Quality. The Cost Advisor’s personal and professional approach to providing services will ensure that best value is obtained for the client.

Once a project is underway, it is essential that costs are monitored and controlled in an effective manner as soon as possible. The primary way to achieve this is by implementing a clear and thorough process encompassing the emergence and agreement of any potential changes to the project from conception to completion.

Introducing such processes enables the client to make informed and accurate decisions regarding the project by ensuring the maximum amount of information is afforded to them. When performing cost control duties, the Cost Advisor will strive to consistently keep the client informed of any developments within a project.

The key to delivering best value cost levels is to select the correct procurement route tailored to the specific requirements of each project.

The Cost Advisor will deliver advice which will not only match the aspirations of the client, but which will produce a contract delivering confidence and assurance. The Cost Advisor understands the importance of the Time, Cost and Quality equation on a project specific basis and the requirements of the client will constantly be factored into all advice given. Delivering the correct contractual method in this manner significantly enhances both the position and security of the client whilst reducing risk.

Being able to accommodate the needs of the client is essential to produce both Bills of Quantities, Schedules of Work, Employers Requirements and Builders Quantities, which ensure that an accurate and thoroughly market tested cost can be achieved.

The Cost Advisor has tried and tested methods to make certain that the optimum cost is achieved for a project and client’s have the security that the initial cost is accurate and the cost for the specified works will not fluctuate.

Comparative analysis of previously undertaken projects can provide invaluable cost information. Collating this information with constant tracking of the construction market and trends, accurate and timely advice, can be delivered promptly to a client.

The extent of previous information saved on the Cost Advisor’s database is extensive which affords them the ability to deliver some of the most accurate information available. There are projects from both public and private sector works included in the database so the client’s requirements are always met. They also subscribe to BCIS (Building Cost Information Service) On-Line, which gives instant access to thousands of cost plans for different types and sizes of projects.

The Cost Advisor believes that providing such accurate data to a client is extremely beneficial as it allows decision making to be undertaken quickly with the assurance that the information they provide is both discerning and perceptive.

Whole life costing is “the systematic consideration of all relevant costs and revenues associated with the acquisition and ownership of an asset.”

It allows the Cost Advisor to confidently evaluate investment options available to clients by considering all potential costs to them over a given time period. It also enables the client to gain a clear depiction of the building running costs. These would include planned and unplanned maintenance, security, energy, through to cleaning and any other specific services.

The Cost Advisor has many years experience in the preparation of Business Case Cost Forms for submission to Scottish Government. They have a detailed knowledge of the Scottish Capital Investment Manual (SCIM) and the procedures therein. They use this knowledge on NHS and non-NHS projects to compile Public Sector Comparators as a further option on benchmarking to show value for money.

Further to this, the Cost Advisor will provide broad guidelines on the likely cost of meeting objectives; undertake site appraisal cost studies and perform cost feasibility studies together with collaborating in evaluating opinions and making recommendations and assisting with risk analysis and evaluating financial effects of risks for the establishment of contingency allowance.

The Cost Advisor will also provide cost advice relating to any necessary consultations with local authority and other statutory authorities including fire authorities and assist in the identification and analysis of risks and prepare estimate of contingency allowance. The Cost Advisor will also provide cost advice relating to any necessary consultations with local authority and other statutory authorities, including fire authorities, in connection with applications to obtain planning approvals.

The role of the Cost Advisor will also include assisting with the update of the risk analysis and re-evaluate contingency allowance and co-ordinate and collate capital costs and fee estimates. Capital costs will be constructed on the basis of departmental costs and measured on-costs.

The Cost Advisor will evaluate the expenditure profile of building and engineering services work and prepare a cost plan (including building and engineering services elements) based on the budget cost, together with co-ordinating and collating running costs, (manpower, materials, fuel etc) and advise on options and associated costs for Life Cycle of materials, equipment  and components.

The role of the Cost Advisor includes measuring and making up bills of variation including pricing and agreeing totals with the contractor, checking all daywork sheets submitted by the contractor, and assisting the Contract Administrator in settling any dispute or difference relating to the works which may arise between the client and the contractor and / or sub-contractor, provided that such assistance shall not relate to the detailed examination of a financial claim or extend to advising the client following the taking of steps in or towards litigation or arbitration.

The Cost Advisor will also offer advise on VAT liability; assist in establishing key dates for the proposed scheme and advise the client on programme and completion strategy for inclusion in the Scheme Contract; advise on the capital costs associated with any proposed contract phasing; assist in establishing appropriate level of delay damages for the Works and Sections and provide the client with advice on NEC3 insurance provisions and scheme specific options and the implementation of an Early Warning and other contractual procedures using the pro forma documentation pack

Once the Principal Supply Chain Partner (PSCP) is appointed the Cost Advisor will be responsible to the Project Manager for ensuring client cost reports and analysis are carried out as well as providing commercial support in the Project Manager’s administration of the scheme contract. To avoid conflict with the Engineering and Construction Contract conditions of contract it is advisable that, in the post-contract Professional Services Contract (PSC) the Cost Advisor is designated as an assistant to the Project Manager; assist the Project Manager to reconcile the capital cost effect of PSCP solutions and design proposals in relation to the Health Board approved cost, and where that sum will be exceeded and review all cost advice received from consultants/PSCP and obtain cost comparisons and cost checks, forecast of Defined Cost as required.

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