I have been involved in a number of building projects locally and abroad and I am happy to share some of my experiences with you. First of all your choice of the contractor will be the difference between a relatively painless or an extremely frustrating experience. We have chosen to appoint Tanton Dace as contractor for our building project and I have not regretted this decision for a single day. His broad knowledge base on local building conditions, professionalism, excellent communication skills, reliability and trustworthiness made our building project a rather pleasant experience, something that I am not use to. Although our house, which is currently nearing completion, is rather big and complex I did not appoint a QS. This was the right decision and I saved a lot of money. The decision as to whether or not to use a QS will depend on the specific contractor you appoint. In certain cases I will recommend the use of a QS. If you appoint Tanton this will not be necessary.
One can pose the question as to why our project ran smoothly without the frustrations which one normally experience with building projects? The answer lies in teamwork between the architect, contractor and client. Our house was designed by well known, award winning architects based in Bloemfontein. The one flaw that most architects have is their over emphasis of form, structure and aesthetics and their lack of understanding of function. For example, the initial design of my house was such that the house will receive ample sun from the north during winter, which was great.
The problem is that little provision was made for the very scenic sea view on the south without any balconies to enjoy the view! This was the very reason why I bought the specific stand. We have also changed the design to make provision for protection from the most dominant winds whilst still being able to use the main deck, in this respect Tanton’s inputs was very valuable. His advise on the best materials to use in the very corrosive sea environment, based on his extensive experience was also very helpful. He also made suggestions as where to save money on the project without sacrificing on quality.
For teamwork to be successful their must be good communication and an understanding between the different parties. If the architect wants to enforce his views without being open to consider the recommendations of the contractor or client, the ride will be very bumpy. For great teamwork the different parties should not compete with each other but compliment each other. This was true in our case.