Getting the design right makes commercial sense

Nigel Waring, Business Development Manager at 48.3 Scaffold Design, discusses how prioritising scaffold design ahead of contractor appointment, and collaborating with permanent works teams, can improve profit margins.

For clients, scaffolding is often the first thing needed but the last thing that is thought about. So it comes as no surprise that the variation costs on some projects can range from 60–150%. So how can scaffold design be the solution to reducing such wild variation costs? Quite simply, proper upfront planning, design and management WILL reduce costs.

By encouraging clients to remove scaffold design from their scaffolding package and appointing a competent scaffold designer early in the project, a clearly defined scope of works and design can be developed that will meet the needs of the project for its duration.

Combine this with an integrated approach between temporary works design and permanent works design, and clients can then be confident of the suitability and compliance of the scaffolding they will be procuring from contractors at tender stage.

On a recent project with Blue Sky Building, construction director Laurence Baptiste, commented on the benefits from a client perspective during the construction of the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Leicester Square. After appointing a scaffold designer upfront, prior to appointing the scaffold contractor he explained; “It allowed us to develop a clear scope of works to suit the contract and it meant that when we went to tender, the contractors were tendering on a level playing field”.

For the majority of trades design work is undertaken pre-tender, yet the scaffolding requirements are often left open to interpretation by the scaffold contractor. With an agreed scope of works and design in place, scaffold contractors are competing fairly when it comes to tendering for projects. For the contractor who is then awarded the project, the use of a client issued design means that the contractual headaches associated with negotiating variations is all but eliminated. In an increasingly, price driven marketplace this should offer more cost certainty.

Prioritising scaffold design in the early stages of the project can reduce risks, improve margins and increase productivity for both contractor and client!