Advice needed re QS and M&E (long)

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    Advice needed re QS and M&E (long)

    Hi all,

    Sorry for the long post!

    We have acquired some land with planning to build 6 flats in west London. The build is around 5000sqft over 3 floors and doesn't involve a basement. There's nothing there at the moment, so literally a piece of land. Build cost we are targeting is £450k-500k (+utilities).

    At the moment, we're leaning towards going down the direct to trades route vs a main contractor. Although we have a reasonable idea of what we need to do, as we've always worked with a main contractor for previous projects on this one we will want to get a project manager on board to hand hold.

    Aside from the initial BoQ paperwork for the bank, I was thinking of using a QS for this management role, mainly as they have a clear idea of costs and can administer the contracts. The things that worry me about using a QS are:

    - they seem to charge as a %ge of build cost generally, which seems odd, as my choice of materials shouldn't really affect them? If it is a %ge, then for this size of job, what do you think is fair?
    - they use terms like "tender packages". I envisioned getting a lot of the trades to quote through word of mouth, mainly local guys. Using this kind of guy may bump the quotes up (imagine getting a quote with a new merc on the drive vs an old banger), and I'm not sure they'd pass credit checks etc (apparently they do this as well, although payment would be in stages in arrears). They also may not quote if there's too much paperwork. Do you think it may be using a hammer to crack a nut, or in reality it's just a list of works with some pics?
    - they seem to charge site visits separately which really doesn't work, especially if you're going to charge a %ge! Have we just been unlucky with who we've approached?

    Also, we've been recommended to use an M&E to spec the Electrical and Plumbing. These guys are insanely expensive, and we've never had to use one previously.

    - On the Electrical side, I'm not worried as I know some good sparks who can get this sorted.
    - On the waste water and foul water, we'll need some help - was thinking of speaking to the groundworks guys about this.
    - On the clean water side, this is where I'm a bit worried as we need to have an adequate incoming supply for the flats (am paranoid about water pressure on the 3rd floor corner flat!). Was thinking of speaking to Thames Water for the incoming to the site, and then running say 28mm to the flats, and then stepping down.

    Does anyone have any experience working with M&E guys, or perhaps can suggest alternative approaches? I'd like to avoid this extra cost if possible, but don't want to be penny-wise/pound foolish.


    Without professional advice you are courting disaster with this project. You need expertise to succeed.


      Thanks for the reply, but am not sure if we're talking about the same thing.

      My questions relate specifically to project management, and some specific thoughts/issues I am having when thinking about using a QS for that role.

      The second question relates to the real world necessity of an M&E for this project. Are you saying for a project of this size and type, it's something you would definitely go with? The last project (5 houses, new build incl. services) we didn't need one.



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