Step by step guidance

Project owner process

1. Outline drawings or sketches

If the project is reasonably small and straightforward, say under £50,000 in value then outline drawings may be enough for the builder to work from and we can give you a clear idea from these how much the work should cost. If the project is larger then you will want to know what the design will cost at this stage so that funding can be planned and any affordability issues ironed out at an early stage in the design before too much work and planning has taken place. These estimates can be turned round very quickly and can save a lot of money and stress later on in the process. DGA Build is a great option here to start to build and understand your cost model.

2. Budget

Having got through to the next stage the project will need detailed design drawings for planning and building regulations purposes, at this stage a detailed budget is prepared, this will include professional fees and Vat and can be used for funding purposes and any value engineering that may need to be done at that stage. For example: Do you really need that second spiral staircase to achieve what you are looking for? At this stage you may want to recruit a Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS) to project manage the process for you and to monitor the cost.

3. Tendering drawings

Your PQS can run the tender process for you, making sure the contractors have all the information they need to submit a robust price and that price is detailed enough, sustainable and manageable.

4. Schedule of works or bill of quantities

Depending on the scale of the project a Bill of Quantities or Schedule of Works is prepared, this is a detailed list of the components of the work including labour and materials. The contractors fill these in at tender stage and this makes clear comparison between bids achievable.

5. Find a builder

A PQS can provide suggestions for candidates for your tender list based on our years of experience. Your candidates need to have the right skill set and track record and be available in the time frame you need.

6. Tendering process

The process of tendering is quite formal and time regulated, the PQS will advise on which form of contract is suitable for your project and will specify to the builders tendering the project, the terms of the contract, what we term “Prelims” these will include duration of the contract, any retentions etc. the desired outcome is to have a clear comparison between the contractors tender submissions.

7. Evaluation

The evaluation process involves meetings with the client and the contractor to interrogate the bid and to discuss the nitty gritty of how the contractor will work on the site. This is especially important if you are going to be living in the property at the time. At this stage you have confidence in the costs and it is a matter then of deciding who you want to work with.

8. Tender reports

A tender report is prepared by the PQS giving clear recommendations and comparisons of the tender bids and contractors. The final decision is of course with you the client, the formal tender process gives confidence and rigour to the successful bid.

9. Contracts

Difficulties with contracts and disputes can develop when there is a lack of clarity or control on site. We have a rare blend of accessible know how in our practise including deep construction knowledge teamed with qualified legal and contractual experts. Don’t you want that in your corner – just in case?

10. Project management

What is Project Management? For us, it is monitoring and controlling cost, program and quality at every stage. Set up the project correctly, undertake monthly valuations, monitor and control variations and agree the final account in a transparent and fair manner.


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Contractor process

1. Outline drawings or sketches

Establishing a collaborative working framework on the project is the key to a successful working relationship. Understanding the fundamental cost elements at an early stage gains confidence and trust. If you use us for your budget costs we can understanding your underlying cost structure and build a secure understanding of your business freeing up your time for other things.

2. Budget

A detailed budget is a fundamental and crucial document in the project which will be constantly referred to and referenced, it benchmarks efficiency and controls costs. Doing a good job at this stage allows the contractor more time to run sites and operations, saving money and improving client relationships.

3. Tendering drawings

Using the budget as a basis we create a detailed document broken down into sections then go out to sub-contractors and specialist suppliers for price packages in order to minimise the risk for contractors and clients on these elements. At this stage we can do some detailed “what if“ analysis and prepare an professional submission for presentation to your client and secure the business.

4. Find a builder

We have an impressive network of contractors, subcontractors and specialist suppliers which we deploy for the benefit of our clients

5. Schedule of works or bill of quantities

Builders quantities and priced schedules are routinely prepared at short notice by our BQ team. We are set up to do this with a selection of software tools to help us.

6. Advice on contractors

We can advise on how to present your information to the client for the best result and support the contractor through the tender process

7. Tendering process

At this point value engineering can mean the difference between success and failure, our years of experience can make that difference.

8. Evaluation

COST PROGRAM AND QUALITY – managing these elements in the project and being clear as to expectations differentiates contractors, being proactive in terms of risk and timetable as well as costs builds confidence with the client.

9. Tender report

After getting this far you will want to win the work so it’s time to show that you have professional support, you can provide solutions and manage risk. We can help with that.

10. Contracts

Difficulties with contracts can arise due to lack of clarity, we can advise on disputes, payment valuations, contract terms and validity.

11. Project management

Ensuring a fair allocation of costs, savings and highlighting any risks can take time you don’t have. We have experienced project managers on the team more than capable of running sites and trouble shooting.

Call us, a discussion can’t hurt, and a member of our knowledgeable and friendly team will be able to guide you.

How to get in touch

DGA provide a professional and comprehensive nationwide Quantity Surveying service.

As a member of the RICS, we are specialist construction cost consultants, we offer advice, guidance and support on a wide range of projects from small extensions to much larger commercial and residential projects. We can also help you with Contract Administrators, Employer’s Agents and Project Managers.

With many years of combined experience, our team can guide a construction project from start to completion with high levels of care and attention to detail.

Cheshire The Old Hay Barn
Mere Estate
Warrington Road
WA16 0PY
London 25 Wilton Rd,