»Feb 24 Posted by terry

Renovating or Expanding? Learn How an Upfront Investment Can Save You Money in the End

In an effort to “save” on up-front costs during construction, some School Districts and Owners decline to spend money exploring hidden conditions such as pipe chases, under-slab electrical services or exterior site utilities prior to construction.  As an industry professional, I’ve heard many excuses and reasons not to conduct an exploration: “a waste of resources” or “my staff can verify the utility locations and condition of my building.” However, exploring these hidden conditions during design and preconstruction can be a far more cost effective way to better understand the location and the extent of real repairs needed during construction. So, the real question is, have you considered the cost of NOT investigating hidden conditions? 

ICI was recently hired as a Construction Manager to bid and construct a “shovel-ready” addition to an existing facility. In this case, ICI was not hired to perform preconstruction services for the project as the design was complete.  Early in the process of foundation construction, we encountered underground utilities that were not located as described in the as-built drawings. The Owner had to allocate contingency resources to reroute the lines and adjust the foundations. Knowing this information prior to the bid would have afforded the designer a better chance to adjust.

On another recent project for which we are providing Preconstruction Services, ICI recommended a camera investigation of existing underground lines in order to determine the remaining life span of the lines. The camera was run underground through the existing utility lines and the investigation determined that the lines had reached the end of their lifespan and required replacement. Because of this upfront investigative work, the replacement lines were able to become part of a larger initial bid package. This $1,500.00 explorative investment will yield a competitive bid market for the work, ensuring the lowest cost and highest quality outcome to the Owner for the work; and ultimately will save the client money.

These examples, while simple in nature, illustrate that an upfront time and modest monetary investment can be returned in savings to the schedule and the overall budget in the long run. There will be a better understanding of potential hidden risk exposure and also provide the designer with valuable information to improve space usage. ICI is skilled in working with clients to determine the benefits of conducting cost-effective hidden conditions explorations.