Message - Re: Over-estimating the tender prices

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Posted by  Manuel Oliveros on April 01, 2003 at 10:10:25:

In Reply to:  Re: Over-estimating the tender prices posted by Rog the Dodge on March 30, 2003 at 17:33:17:

I love specially the last two paragraphs of your answer ... I must add the architect as a human also would love to see the same of say commissioner and tenders.

Just to complete your view, that I see correct, I add things seen in my actual experience.

Clients want what they want, not your project. Many, many times, they see the project not as a device operating in favour of its actualization, but an obstacle against it. In short, they hold adversarial attitude which is a negative one. And I am not to blame them of this happening because I know for sure that dealing with professionals -architects included- is not always as satisfactory as one would love to expect.

On the other hand, they may be willing a highly undefined project (or even just preliminary studies) and want the thing to be enough even to sort some kind of approvals ... this happen, and I have seen. They think that the undefined project will be more easy to be bent towards any changes they may need to impose as development progress, and serve them also to tha -again negative- purpose of dismissing the project as something of low contents, value, and price.

But well, even with an entirely well defined project one can't but get reasonable estimates of what the cost is going to be, assuming no or very small changes there will be. A budget is just an estimate of costs, the exact cost is accountancy.

Before centering my attention on tender's intervention ... for what purpose this budget is made? For a private party, he may want accuracy for short term cost ... here imprecision of our projective tools are a factor ... what said and the intents of the tenders are as well. One may find, and most architects do, that sometimes the budgets need be ample to accommodate the more likely incidences a process of comissioning-awarding and construction have. The project or study may be used as an initial reference document to gather the required funds, and just as your case may mean being treated harshly on being long, you will be then treated the same way for being short.

They have the easy part, you work and try to provide a reasonable professional answer to what asked, do, and then find that the gaps you have provided precisely to meet the wanted standards of indecision of your commissioner, or just the accommodation for the work of other professionals -both builders and complementary designers- are used to dismiss the worthyness of your work ... If you think this happens in your case I advise you regain a high morals tone -but never the enfurying haughty- because we are to work but not be chastised.

Say they have not interfaced enough with you to set proper standards for to what built, nor set a budget bracket ... well, this ALONE may make a building nominally the same cost 3 or 4 times what other labeled equally.

And well, you put your work in the hands of the commmissioner ... to find he uses it to smash your assumptions and then incrementally going away and away of your design, assumptions, and definitions. The client then simply has not acted morally to you, has wanted you to guess to perfection what he has in mind, and then acted intently in lowereing your self esteem. If a client wants something very very defined he must tell the architect very very specifically what he wants. If he is unable to ... not all of us are all days entirely for masochist acts on third parties sadism.

And adversarial attitudes there are as well in tenders. First, tehy are constitutively jealous of the legal an intellective empowerment architects held just built on their personal effort. Many small minded tenders are but unfulfilled architects, and others are engineers that as well really resent about the real authority a well trained architect has just on reason of his knowledge. This causes them to deal mainly in an adversarial mode and use any actual or perceivable as so a failure in the work of the architect to stay taller than him in the mind of the client, sometimes even to the extent to try to force the dismissal of the architect to be substituted by another more suitable to their (many times economically tainted) plans.

Even when only thinking in what they think they need rightfully offer, tenders may be misplaced to properly evaluate the offer. It may happen that the character of commissioner and tender are closer than those of the architect and commissioner... then they may easily to bypass you for most purposes other than playing with your practice. But even if the tender is just a correct professional, he is limited in making an offer to the documentation held in the project or study ... and well, anyone knows that no one knows something more than its maker. So you know ENTIRELY what you have done, but ALL others just know what the project has. If the documentation by WHATEVER the reason is distant of the degree of definition any ACCOUNTANCY operation should have, the estimate BY ITS OWN NATURE risks to diverge IN WHATEVER AMOUNT of any value you OR ANYONE ELSE may propose.

In short, when ugly differences between what evaluated and the bidded appear, good will prevailing, NO DOUBT the project BY WHATEVER THE REASONS -not to forget the IMPOSED DELAY OF SPECIFICATIONS AND DEFINITIONS BY OTHERS, and the will of the commissioner to get the project FROM YOU, VERY SOON, AND AT A CHEAP BUDGET- has not attained the level of definition necessary to get the project's budget in any percentage of accuracy respect a winning bid by the use of the accepted to be good budgeting tools ... if one can admit there are such tools, for ... EVEN IN REASONABLY DEFINED PROJETS HOLDING ALL IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION ONE CAN SEE BIDS THAT DOUBLE OTHERS. Not only architects are imperfect or careless in the art of budgeting ... the US military, NASA and of course tenders also are.

Not to mention that tenders ACTUALLY make both "alimentary" and dumping bids to stay in some market share or entering some -before- to them barred market. In this case, you might even to have your budget tight and tight, and you are fighting the ill will of foreseeable warring works execution where the winning bidder will make all in his reach, and sometimes not just what is correct civilizedly to expect, to augment the awarded price, in augment also of your work and worries, and the disgust of the commissioner.

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