Home Project Management

Building a New Home and Managing the Project

Q - We are preparing for our self-build and would like to include some form of specification in our enquiries to the various sub contractors we will be using. We don't have the knowledge to do this ourselves and wonder if we could buy one somewhere.

A - Go to the National House Building Council website and order a copy of the NHBC Domestic Specification. It costs $40 plus VAT.

Q - I have been offered a job to project manage a major renovation of a house but I have no idea what I should charge, fixed fee or percentage of the budget. The project is expected to last for 3 months. There seem to be no information on the subject. Can you advise?

A - Even the Association of Project Managers (APM) won't discuss standard fees but leave their members to negotiate for themselves. An experienced PM should be able to earn £54,000 per year. Three months work, therefore equates to £13,500 as a lump sum. Alternatively, taking an hourly rate of £25 x 13 weeks x 38 hours produces a figure of £12,350. Another approach is to base the fee on a percentage of the construction cost - 8% to 10% is a reasonable amount.

Q - We need to erect a screen on our boundary to minimise the noise of the building operations for the benefit of our neighbours. How much should it cost?

A - For a screen constructed of sawn softwood framing covered one side with plywood, I would allow £38 per square metre.

Q - What percentage should I add on to my budget for the cost of a project manager? I am considering carrying out a barn conversion and the cost is being put at £500k. I am told that I should make a considerable saving if I appointed a PM to manage the job? Is this correct and what sort of saving could I expect?

A - If you are going to employ one builder to do the conversion you don't really need a project manager because the builder will organise his own programme so you will only have to keep an eye on progress. But you would need a PM if you let the work out in a series of small packages and the appointment, payment and coordination with other trades would need to be closely supervised.

There is no scale of charges for this type of work but I would allow £2,500 per month for a full time PM and less for part time. It's hard to see how you could make a financial saving by using a PM but you would have most of the hassle taken away from you and that has a value!


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