Professional Quantity Surveying, Construction Project and Construction Management Practice
MICRO DEVELOPER (OWNER HOME BUILDER/RENOVATOR)
WHAT IS MICRO DEVELOPMENT ?
When referring to the Micro Developer, We are referring to the Owner builder/ renovator - Meaning the owner who undertakes his own building project and he/she then appoints a building contractor or various contractors who he/she then oversees himself. This will also be the case where he appoints a building contractor to engage the complete project and he/she being inexperienced.
BEFORE WE CONTINUE AN IMPORTANT NOTE –
From the start we have to make the point that there are excellent building contractors and there are bad building contractors.
Thus depending on the Micro Developers experience we find in most cases of inexperienced Micro Developers the following scenario –
Building projects seems straightforward and easy, why not, some people pick up workers on the corner of the streets and look the garden wall is still standing. Not so, building projects are complicated to do it right and legal the first time.
LET”S START WITH THE SENARIO:
- Once the Micro Developer has decided on the stand or project and the stand was obtained or renovation project defined
- Then the next step is for the Micro Developer to approach a person to do the drawings. In most cases are the services of a draughtsman obtained, seeing that his services is less expensive than that of an architect.
- Then the drawings are presented to the local authorities for approval. The local authorities only look at the mere basic regulatory standards and then approve such.
- Copies of the drawings are than given to prospective contractors or the Micro Developer decides to approach street corner workers. Again is the least expensive quotation accepted based on the drawings. Coinciding with the lowest quote is it also a case of we like this contractor, seems like he knows what he is talking about. It is easy to impress the ignorant client.
- Then the quotation is accepted and the contractor appointed. Besides the quote nothing else is put to paper.
- The contractor request an upfront payment as agreed and as per his terms on his quotation and he makes draws as and when he feels like it. This normally is out of proportion to the works done. At some point the Micro Developer realises it and puts a hold on payments. The contractor informs him of all the extras, works which was not reflected on the drawings and changes made by the Micro Developer.
- You fire your street corner worker or the contractor fires a worker, they go to the CCMA and you end up having to pay 4 months wages/salaries because of a contravention of the Basic Conditions of employment act.. A worker was working with a grinder and he got injured, you were not registered with the department of labour and you had no safety file on site, est. You end up being liable to pay for the workers loss of his arm and income because you were not in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- Arguments starts occurring because of all the extras. The project is behind schedule and suddenly it dawns on the Micro Developer that the works budget skyrocketed by between 30% to 50% from a R 1 000 000 to R 1 400 000. At this stage the Micro Developer as to fork out more money or obtain a bigger building loan. You realise pursuing the matter through the courts will be a time consuming exercise and will cost a bundle, you then decide to terminate the contractor’s services, but you realise that he has already been overpaid. Or the contractor just disappears with the over payment.
The street corner workers realise that the job is nearing the end and without the prospects of another job, they decide to prolong the work (drag it out), further more they start insisting on more pay. They end up stealing from you, or worst things has happened.
Next is the Micro Developer employees the next contractor. This new contractor informs you of all the mistakes of the previous contractor and it has to be rectified at an extra cost to the Micro Developer.
On top of this is the stress accompanying building projects. We have found in numerous cases such as the above that partners (Micro Developers, either husbands and wives or just partners) normally ending up close to divorce, especially if it is an alteration or renovation works in an existing house.
Then by the time the project reach completion and services such as floor coverings, kitchen units, tiling, painting and such needs to be done, it is found that floors and walls are not level or straight and remedial work has to be done again.
After all the contractors and workers has finally finished the work, and the Micro Developer as a moment of relief, he/she finds that the drains are continues blocking, hot water is coming out of cold water taps and the power keeps on tripping. On top of this the local authority inspector requires a plumbing and electrical certificate besides the other requirements from the local authority. This is when the Micro Developer is informed that neither the plumber nor electrician was registered, but they were paid in full and have disappeared.
Once the Micro Developer obtained qualified contractors to again rectify this, at an extra cost, and finally received the occupational certificate from the local authority. He declares the nightmare to be over. Low and behold 1 year has gone passed and numerous cracks are showing all-over the walls and floors. Seeing that the contractors were both registered with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), the Micro Developer contacts them. They send out inspectors. After investigating the building it was found that the foundation concrete and surface bed’s concrete did not pass the required strength test. Mortar in the brick walls also failed, you remembered that at some point in time you could not belief that the cement disappeared so quickly, but the test showed that the concrete and mortar did not have the required mix. This was after you had a fallout with the contactor/street worker. Furthermore it was discovered that the walls did not have the required brick force in the walls.
After, the NHBRC had this rectified. The Micro Developer stated, “Now it is all sorted”, and he was glad to see that his to be next door neighbour is getting ready to build next door. A week later he is informed by his to be next door neighbour that they have a problem. The problem is that the next door neighbour who has experience in building construction has employed professionals and the land surveyor has informed the neighbour that the Micro Developer has built his boundary wall a meter into the to be neighbours property. The Micro Developer is requested to remove the beautiful boundary wall at his own cost.
What a sad affair, why?, because the Micro Developer under estimated building projects and decided that the services and advise of professionals in the industry is not needed and would be a unnecessary expense that can be done away with.
The above could have been prevented by utilizing professionals at a mere cost of between 5% – 15% of the project cost. In the above scenario this could have meant R100 000 for professional inputs, compared to an actual loss of more than R 1 000 000 over and above the original R 1 000 000.
This is Why we are Here.
WHO ARE WE ?
Project Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Construction Managers.
THIS IS WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU –
- We will, as Project Managers oversee your project, take your brief and employ the most suited Architect for your project.
- We will also advice on any other professional to be employed and the terms and conditions of acquiring their services.
- As Quantity Surveyors we will create a Bills of Quantities from your drawings and advise you as to all the cost savings to be achieved.
- Once agreed we will set a budget in place that will be controlled and all cost managed to stay within the set budget.
- We will draw up a materials list that will be controlled as the project progress.
- If a contractor is appointed we will ensure all legal and contractual compliance as well as making sure payments are made for work executed.
- If a contractor is not employed and you as the client opt for us to be the Construction Manager, we will ensure all quality, personnel management, health and safety and programs are adhered to. This will ensure peace of mind with the knowledge that professional with years of experience is taking care of you and your project. Knowing that if a budget is set for R 1 000 000, this is what the project will cost.
- You can make use of the full service or one of the services, we can boxes our service or services as required.
As professional we have councils, institutions and associations whose function is to assist, protect and watch over these professionals. There is a number of governing bodies who oversee the industry specifically and in general.