Client representation: protecting your interests

Employing a project manager will ensure that your practice is properly represented and potentially save you thousands.

With all the talk of funding being released for new medical facilities, you might well be thinking seriously about putting together a proposal. You might even be one of the lucky few whose project has reached the top of the list and is awaiting the stamp of approval. But in the midst of the competing views and demands of architects, engineers, developers, contractors and NHS England, are you 100% certain that your practice will end up with what it wants?

Contractors and developers all have their own ideas of what’s needed, and unless you plan to project manage the project on a day-to-day basis, ensuring that their interpretation exactly matches yours is almost impossible. Trying to manage a complex construction project whilst juggling the day-to-day running of a practice can often lead to costly changes, mistakes or disputes. Employing a professional building surveyor and project manager as your client representative ensures that the practice’s requirements do not get lost or twisted as the project runs on.

Neil Mason Associates can act as the main point of contact between the work and the practice, advising the client of progress and dealing with all day-to-day matters. The Practice Manager or Senior Partner has high level oversight of the project and reassurance that progress is maintained and budgets stuck to.

We are currently acting as client representative for several practices involved in large scale building projects. At a medical centre in Northampton, we are overseeing a £150,000 extension onto the existing pharmacy and dental practice providing extensions to each side of the property. The practice is still in occupation whilst the works are being carried out. In Peterborough we are project managing the construction of a new £2m health centre. Representing the Practice, we are working alongside the developers and contractors to ensure that the building will meet the doctors’ specification and to ensure that expansion space is designed into the scheme.

In acting as the client’s Professional Advisor, we can be involved at any point during the project. However for maximum cost savings from the start, we can help to identify and discuss the level of works that are required and the best way to take them forward. We ensure that budgets are observed, timescales adhered to and the project is run and managed in a professional way. We will deal with the relevant professionals to pull together a highly skilled design team so that final plans and specifications can be created, including checking and agreeing Room Data Sheets. We then ensure that all other statutory matters are covered such as Planning Permission and Building Control. Once we are happy with the contract documentation, we put the scheme out to tender to suitable contractors to ensure best value and then review the tenders to ensure that all contractors have interpreted the specification in the correct way and that their pricing is reasonable and accurate.

NMA then manages the running of the scheme from inception through to completion, ensuring that regular meetings are conducted and that continuing monitoring of the scheme is undertaken. NMA ensures the scheme is completed correctly, the works are snagged and that all certification and paperwork is in order ensuring minimal disruption and inconvenience to the client.

There are also other ways that we can ensure you keep a lid on property related costs. We are currently carrying out Planned Maintenance surveys for eight practices throughout Northamptonshire to assist compliance with the repairing and maintenance covenants of the lease and to ensure more reliable financial planning. The surveys will provide a comprehensive list of the maintenance and improvement works that must be carried out to their premises over the short, medium and long term periods. A detailed list of works, along with a timescale and budget price is provided to the client giving each practice a more accurate and reliable plan.

For more information or to discuss your project please feel free to give me a call on 01604 799010.

About Tony

Tony is an experienced building surveyor who joined Neil Mason Associates in 2014. He has spent the past 15 years project managing building projects both in the commercial and healthcare sectors. Tony's support of Newcastle United has added another angle to the office football rivalry, and when not arguing with colleagues over the merits of different clubs, he's closely involved in Northampton's music scene.

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