Before you can even step foot onto a commercial-to-residential site, you must put in the correct preliminary preparation. Failing to do so can result in various issues both now and further down the line. Considering all of the steps needed in the prelim will cut costs and result in a clearer, more precise process overall.
This has all been the case with my newest project based in Hampshire – a care home to residential conversion. I was recently able to provide an update introducing the site while keeping you informed with the planning that is currently being put in. We are aiming to convert the premises into 14 residential flats, but the layouts are still being finalised. The prelim process has been a vital component that will see us move smoothly and swiftly into the works.
As the RICS NRM2 states, the main contract preliminaries include “the main contractor’s costs associated with management and staff, site establishment, temporary services, security, safety and environmental protection, control and protection, common user mechanical plant, common user temporary works, the maintenance of site records, completion and post-completion requirements, cleaning, fees and charges, sites services and insurances, bonds, guarantees and warranties.” The contractors’ preliminaries also exclude costs associated with subcontractors’ or work package contractors’ preliminaries.
Top Tip: Try to avoid quantifying the contractor’s prelims when it comes to the pricing document. It will be entirely up to them who and what is needed during the development.
Preliminaries are, for the most part, the cost of administering a project. They provide anything not included in the rate for measured works such as site staff, facilities and other items. As prices cannot be assigned to a section of work, they are usually included in the preliminary sum. This can consist of site security, utility supplies, provisional sums, fees and general charges, as well as other things.
For the Hampshire site, it was evident we needed to secure the land and access the right permits for us to convert it into residential. I did not need to worry about the erection of any other buildings as the structures are already in place. But, with any care home to residential, you do need to keep in mind things like extra space. As can be seen in the video, we were able to obtain a lot of land for good value. But, knowing what to do with additional land can be key. We are looking to use most of it for parking, bin stores, and bike sheds as there is potential here to increase its usefulness.
Running costs such as power, heat, and lighting will also come into consideration, plus rent which will all be priced per week. A sense of how these factors are applied to your conversion must be addressed in the prelim. I have taken this approach with the planning of flats at the Hampshire site. With the possibility to create 14 of them in total, this had to be taken care of. Otherwise, you will unknowingly eat into your budget if not handled correctly.
Top Tip: Read up on the NRM 2 document to gain a better understanding of preliminaries. Keeping up to date with the latest information will be crucial for anyone involved in property.
Finally, the health and safety-related to the project has to be identified in the prelim. Usually, this relates to protecting both the works and the workers who are operating at the site. Providing them with the correct facilities on-site, instead of them providing their own, is good practice and shows you have their best interests in mind. You also must engage with the other work contractors to ensure that appropriate welfare facilities are provided too. Covering this in the prelim is essential and will ensure any possible legal issues are dealt with in due course.